Pakistan Daily Times Newspaper published on 27th of May that Houthis are not alone in keeping Saudis sleepless at night. Their economy is also melting down.
Mehboob Qadir, a retired brigadier of the Pakistan army , said in the article “after a swift and unexpectedly successful march on the capital city Sana’a early last year, Houthis emerged as the new predominant force in Yemen, creating serious security concerns in neighboring countries, particularly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), the UAE and Oman.”
Tremors were so powerful as to force an unusual scramble by the KSA and UAE to invoke GCC defense pact provisions and send out frantic appeals to Pakistan and other countries to dispatch troops to help them fight in Yemen, as Qadir explained.
He also cleared up that was an extraordinary panic call, as Pakistan’s armed forces have never fought a friendly country’s war in another friendly country. Pakistan considered the Houthi local uprising unworthy of its military intervention.
Pakistan decided to help through diplomatic efforts, while assuring Saudi Arabia, a longtime ally, a guaranteed defensive intervention should her integrity be threatened. Even this declaration was quite out of the ordinary under the circumstances and could be stressful for Pakistan as things are evolving ominously in the Middle East.
According to Qadir, resorting to diplomacy was a sensible move. Pakistan’s remarkable composure incensed the UAE whose irate foreign minister had implied ‘dire consequences’.
He pointed out that Houthis posed a direct and immediate threat to Saudi Arabia’s stability, delicate ethno-tribal balance and her critical naval vulnerability at the Bab al Mandab Straits, therefore had to be dealt with resolutely and vigorously.
Qadir added that Aden had to be the next whose fall could effectively jeopardize international shipping and intern good part of the Saudi navy in the Red Sea. Saudi Naval fleet is effectively split into two and is anchored in inland naval bases in Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. Both these narrow bodies of water have their bottlenecks respectively at Bab al Mandab and Hormuz. It has no serious blue waters naval deployment capability even if her navy was able to break out into the open. Houthis had created a real crisis and it should have been anticipated by Saudi defence experts.
He pointed out The fundamentally flawed Saudi military doctrine combined with inexperienced defense and foreign affairs leadership created an unfavorable decision-making environment at a moment of grave national crisis. As a result, despite overwhelming military superiority and availability of a strategic window of opportunity, Saudi and allied forces completely bungled their Yemeni campaign. They had the opportunity to cordon off and eventually surround the Houthis in under two weeks and then bring them to negotiating table for a political settlement from a position of strength.
They also would have prevented spaces abandoned by the Yemeni state and left by the Houthis from being occupied by the ISIL and AQAP fighters, as also effectively prevent external intervention or reinforcements from reaching Houthis. They could do none of these nor make their national territory any safer from the mounting Houthi threat. Their spluttering air campaign and disjointed attempts at para-drops and limited offensives have not paid off. In fact their pussyfooted military reaction emboldened the Houthis so much that recently the latter shelled Najran and Jizan, two major Saudi border towns, setting up a panic displacement of Asir region population inwards, Qadir indicated.
“There is an eager anticipation in the air that Sana’a might fall soon to the GCC coalition forces. Fall of the capital city will be like the fall of Grozny or Kabul.” Qadir said. He added “Like the Chechen and Taliban fighters it will free Houthi to resort to bush warfare all over the countryside, and that is their strong point and the war in Yemen will invariably be prolonged and complicated.”
According to the article, it is evident that due to stuttering Saudi military strategy and inability to assess the real dimensions of dangers to the state security including an inexplicable precaution to appear politically correct in dealing with the Yemeni crisis they have lost the initiative to Houthis decisively. The Yemeni president had made a written request to Saudi Arabia to help them in the Houthi attack. Eventually, the whole situation will be beyond the compass of Saudis to handle. Yemen is to the KSA what Afghanistan is to Pakistan.