Sana’a (GPA) – The US-backed Saudi coalition in Yemen has launched a series of airstrikes on portions of Hodeidah port for the first time since beginning their offensive against indigenous Yemenis in June. A major lifeline for imports, a direct attack on Hodeidah port puts the lives of some 24 million Yemenis at risk for starvation and disease.
Head of Yemen’s Supreme Revolutionary Committee, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi condemned the US-backed Saudi coalition’s recent airstrikes on Hodeidah port. Al-Houthi called on the international community to condemn the military escalation against his country and called on the United Nations Security Council to put an end to hostilities to save millions of lives in Hodeidah and Yemen.
Earlier in the war, the Saudi-led coalition destroyed cranes at Hodeidah port so food and vital aid could not be unloaded. This fits with the coalition’s strategic blockade which restricts Yemen’s imports and exports to utilize starvation and disease as a weapon of war and beat the Yemeni people into submission.
US Calls for Future Ceasefire Serve as Approval for Full-Blown Assault on Hoediah
At the end of October, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announced a ceasefire would take place within 30 days followed by peace negotiations in Sweden. US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo echoed the same sentiment calling for a halt of all missile attacks from Yemeni forces as well as airstrikes from the Saudis and Emiratis.
However, this announcement calling for a ceasefire in 30 days just served as a smokescreen for the US-backed Saudi-led coalition to launch a no-holds-barred assault on Yemen’s strategic and life-sustaining Hodeidah port. The coalition’s attempts to invade and capture Hodeidah port from indigenous Yemeni forces have remained unsuccessful since declaring the operation Golden Victory to occupy Hodeidah in June of 2018.
Since the beginning of November, the US-backed Saudi coalition has essentially carpet-bombed various areas of Hodeidah province while Saudi and Emirati-backed mercenaries attempt to make gains on the ground.
Coalition warplanes have not let up their attacks on innocent civilians either. Yesterday, fighter jets pounded a passenger bus leaving nine civilians dead and others wounded.
Read more about the war against Yemen:
Yemeni Forces Repel Intense Saudi-Backed Advances on the Ground
Despite intensive air raids, Yemen’s Army and Popular Committees loyal to Ansarullah (aka “Houthis”) have successfully repelled attempted advances from Saudi and Emirati-mercenaries on the ground.
Yemeni military spokesman and Brigadier-General Yahya Sariyah held a press conference on Tuesday to discuss ongoing developments on the West Coast front which includes the battle for Hodeidah. Brigadier General Sariyah said that Yemeni forces have killed or wounded over 3,000 Saudi and Emirati-backed mercenaries on various fronts in just the past 12 days. That number includes 1224 invading forces killed or injured on the West Coast front.
Yemen’s Army and Popular Committees’ victories and spoils from November also include
- 20 high-ranking commanders loyal to the Saudi coalition
- Destruction of 127 armored vehicles
- 184 commandos and special forces
- 7 bulldozers
According to Brigadier-General and spokesman Sariyah, Yemen’s revolutionary forces successfully severed the Coalition troops’ supply lines while carrying out ambush operations. This strategy allowed Yemen’s Army and Popular Committees to shift their attacks on the invading forces from defensive to offensive counter-attacks.
Yemen’s revolutionary troops face quite a rag-tag group of invading forces loyal to the Saudi coalition including Sudanese fighters and Black Water contract killers from Latin America. Reports have emerged from Buzzfeed that American troops are secretly fighting under the banner of the United Arab Emirates — likely to avoid bad press about US troops participating in combat roles and assassinations in Yemen.
Watch Yemeni forces ambush Saudi mercenaries on the West Coast front:
US Support for the Saudi-led Coalition Against Yemen
A February 2018 public report from the United States Secretary of Defense lists an ambiguous operation called “Youkon Journey” which designates ongoing support for the Saudi coalition in Yemen.
However, little information exists on Youkon Journey and what this support entails. Considering Washington’s ever-secretive role in Yemen, it’s very possible this includes special forces and ground troops for combat missions against Yemeni forces in Hodeidah or various spying missions.
Throughout the past three and a half years, the United States and other Western countries have provided the international coalition against Yemen with weapons, fuel, and ground troops. The United States also provides logistical and intelligence support for selecting airstrike targets.
Saudi coalition airstrikes routinely target civilians, vital infrastructure, and densely populated areas such as markets, homes, water treatment facilities, factories, buses, hospitals, funerals, weddings, and more. According to a recent report from a United Nations independent group of experts, the coalition’s use of precision-guided missiles combined with their “double-tap” attacks indicate that the attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure are entirely intentional.
At this point, it doesn’t seem like the US-backed Saudi and Emirati coalition will be able to pry Hodeidah port from Yemeni control before the planned ceasefire and peace talks in December.
Images courtesy Ansarullah Media Center. Video courtesy Wrath of Yemen.
Founder and editor of Geopolitics Alert, Randi is an American geopolitical analyst and content strategist. She covers US imperialism with a special focus on Yemen and Lebanon.