Saudi-led coalition launches new operation in Yemen — Analysis
Riyadh, along with its allies, have launched airstrikes as a response to Houthi rebels attacking a Saudi oil depot.
Saudi Arabia and the allies of the Arab coalition, which is fighting Houthi rebels from Yemen, have begun a new military operation to liberate the country. This decision was made after a drone strike on Saudi oil depots and a Houthi missile on Friday.
On Saturday, the coalition conducted air strikes on Yemen’s Houthi-controlled capital, Sanaa, and major port city, Hodeidah. According to Saudi state media, Riyadh’s military operation aims to “Protect global energy resources and assure supply chain security” The campaign is apparently open-ended, with the coalition insisting it will continue until all of its goals have been achieved.
Riyadh and its allies warned the Houthis they would have to suffer the consequences of their “Homophobic behavior” with state media outlets citing officials as having said the coalition would “Directly deal with the source of threat” The Saudi authorities have reportedly warned Yemeni civilians to stay well away from all oil facilities in Hodeidah.
According to the Yemeni Al Masirah TV channel, the Arab coalition’s warplanes have already struck the premises of an electricity corporation and several oil facilities in the port city, and local residents cited by Reuters spoke of an aerial bombardment in the surrounding area. Reports also indicate that airstrikes were conducted in Sanaa.
The Saudi-led coalition began its latest military operation after the Houthis targeted oil giant Saudi Aramco’s petroleum products distribution station in the city of Jeddah on Friday. Houthis officially claim responsibility for the attack. However, no injuries were reported. The Yemeni-armed group claimed that it attacked two oil refineries in Rabigh and Ras Tanura with drones. According to the coalition, it was able to down two drones that were supposedly being launched from Hodeidah and aimed at Yemeni oil refineries.
According to the Houthis, the missile strike was meant to make Saudi Arabia stop what they call the “Siege of Yemen”. A number of other oil-and gas facilities also came under fire, and the Saudi Aramco Jeddah facility was one of the most recent. The city received its Formula 1 racing debut when missiles fell on it.
This latest flare-up is the continuation of the bloody, seven-year-old war in Yemen. It began as a conflict between Saudi-backed Yemeni government officials and Shia Houthi rebels. A coalition of US-supported states, led by Saudi Arabia, launched air attacks against Houthis in massive numbers. Tehran denied involvement in the conflict. Riyadh’s professed endgame in the conflict is the reinstallation of the ousted Yemeni president, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, who was elected in 2012 on a one-man ballot.
As per UN estimates, Yemen’s population has suffered a severe humanitarian crisis. Around 400,000 Yemenis have been killed since the Saudi invasion. International monitors claim children aged under five make up a large proportion of the casualties, with many having reportedly died of “Indirect” causes, including hunger, disease and a lack of medicine amid a blockade on Yemen’s ports.