by Thomas C. Mountain
Saudi Arabia buys tens of billions in high-tech arms from the United States and Europe. However, the rich Saudis don’t like to serve in the military. Consequently, their armed forces are made up largely of foreigners, including huge numbers of soldiers from Yemen, whose usefulness against their impoverished homeland is questionable. The Saudis may use starvation as a weapon “to bring Yemen to its knees.”
Saudi Mercenaries and the Starvation of Yemen
by Thomas C. Mountain
“Yemen was the graveyard for thousands of Egyptian soldiers in the early-mid 1960’s.”
The Saudi military is almost entirely staffed by mercenaries. The Saudi jets bombing an air defenseless Yemen are piloted by Pakistanis. Its mid and low level officers are mainly from Jordan and, most ominously for its ability to actually launch a ground invasion, its rank and file soldiers are almost entirely from Yemen.
That's right, the Saudi army is packed full of Yemeni cannon fodder, which helps explains its ignominious failure in its war with Yemen’s Houthi’s in 2009.
Does anyone really believe that the Yemeni soldiers for hire in the Saudi army are going to willingly, never mind effectively, invade their own country, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake, all the while killing, and being killed by, their Yemeni brothers and sisters?
This may explain the reluctance of the Saudi leadership to launch their promised invasion, especially while the Houthi militia’s are still an effective fighting force on the ground.
Supposedly Egypt is going to send its army to help invade Yemen, never mind Yemen being the graveyard for thousands of Egyptian soldiers in what the late President Nasser called “Egypt’s Vietnam” in the early-mid 1960’s.
The Egyptian army is made up of mostly illiterate conscripts dragooned from the poorest sectors of Egyptian society and has been particularly inept at suppressing the vicious insurgency being waged again President Al Sisi’s regime in the Sinai. If the Egyptian army can’t even control its own territory it certainly doesn't bode well for any foreign misadventures it may undertake.
“The ‘Bab al Mandeb’ is so narrow that all shipping traveling through this strategic choke point between the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea have to pass well within range of even light artillery.”
Of course, it takes time to prepare the logistics needed to send a large fighting force to invade another country, so Egyptian boots on the ground in Yemen may yet happen, but don't hold your breath.
If Yemeni artillery and rockets start blasting shipping of the “Saudi led coalition,” a demand being expressed by massive Yemeni demonstrations, Egypt wont have much choice. The “Bab al Mandeb” (so aptly named “the gate of tears”) is so narrow that all shipping traveling through this strategic choke point between the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea have to pass well within range of even light artillery. President Al Sisi has already raised the alarm of the danger if such a disaster should strike, though preventing such is easier said than done.
And all the while starvation spreads through out Yemen, a country already one of the hungriest in the world. Yemen is one of the most food aid dependent countries on the planet, importing by some accounts up to 90% of its food.
The Saudi leadership must figure if they can’t defeat the Yemeni resistance with their airpower they will cut off all food supplies and wait for starvation to bring Yemen to its knees?
To help hurry this process up Saudi war planes have already begun bombing major grain depots in Yemen, as all the while the “Saudi led coalition” has prevented all but the equivalent of a couple of truck loads of supplies flown in by the Red Cross. A couple of truck loads to feed a food aid dependent country of almost 25 million in the midst of a barbaric air bombardment?
As the Saudi air force continues to terrorize the Yemeni population with bombs marked “made in the USA” and malnutrition turns to outright starvation, the immediate future for the people of Yemen grows darker by the day.
One thing is certain and that is our world operates under “the rule of law” – the law of the jungle, that is, and any crime, including imposing mass starvation will only be met with acquiescence, if not assistance, as Saudi Arabia’s mercenary army continues its aerial onslaught and enforced starvation against the people of Yemen.
Thomas C. Mountain has been living and reporting from Eritrea, next door to Yemen, since 2006. He can be reached at thomascmountain at gmail dot com or when he is away from the internet.