Meanwhile, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is in a bit of turmoil, what with the price of oil being extremely low, and…
In 1934 the newly established Kingdom of Saudi Arabia went to war against Imamate Yemen, resulting in the Saudis taking control of the provinces of Aseer, Jizan and Najran. King Abdul Aziz withdrew his forces as soon as he had achieved his basic goal. When challenged about his prompt withdrawal at a time when his forces were clearly in the ascendant, his reply was “You know nothing about Yemen; it is mountainous and tribal. No one can control it. Throughout history all those who tried to control it, failed. The Ottoman state was the last of the failed invaders. I don’t want to embroil myself or my people in Yemen.”
Ten months into the current Saudi-led war in Yemen, it is clear that this advice has not penetrated the consciousness of Mohammed bin Salman, current Defence Minister, Deputy Crown Prince and grandson of Abdul Aziz or of his father, the current King.
The easy and decisive military victory anticipated last March is further away than ever, thus affecting both the new Saudi leaders and their plans for domestic dominance as well as increasing the likelihood of challenges not only within the Saud family but beyond, among the many Saudis whose living conditions are affected by the reduced subsidies and new taxation.
Whoever has read recent history will notice what happened to the thousands of Egyptians sent to support the republican regime in the 1960s, a major reason why Egypt has been reluctant to send its own troops.
Mohammed bin Salman and his colleagues would be well advised to recall the advice of his grandfather and seek a way out, ideally one which would establish a just and equitable regime in Sana’a. Meanwhile they should show some respect for international humanitarian law and put an end to the airstrikes which are killing and maiming civilian men, women and children, as well as destroying medical and other civilian facilities throughout the country. Their allies and supporters in the UK and the US should demonstrate that they are not simple tools and agents of the Saudi regime.
(click here to continue reading Will Yemen be the Graveyard of the new Saudi Empire? | Informed Comment.)