The editorial pointing to the Saudis claim that its airstrikes have punished the Ansarollah and wiped out many of their weapons and military installations around the country, said that contrary to the claims of Riyadh, Ansarollah combatants are still on the march, while the Saudis, who lead a coalition of Arab states, are nowhere near to restoring the fugitive Yemeni president, Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who was ousted in January.
The US daily was critical of President Barak Obama’s blind support for Saudi Arabia, and said that after initially helping the Saudis with intelligence and tactical advice and by deploying warships off the Yemeni coast, the White House is urging them to end the bombing. It said: The White House seems to have realized that the Saudis appear to have no credible strategy for achieving their political goals, or even managing their intervention. For instance, last Tuesday, they declared a halt to most military operations, only to resume bombing hours later.
New York Times said Saudi Arabia seems to have been further unnerved by the possibility of a nuclear deal involving the United States, other major powers and Iran. Such a deal, it fears, would help make Iran the dominant regional power and spur reconciliation with the United States, thus putting Saudi Arabia’s security relationship with Washington in jeopardy. Whatever the fears of Saudi Arabia, the daily said, the bombardment of Yemen needs to end, relief supplies need to be delivered quickly and a political dialogue needs to be restarted. It went on to say that although finding a political solution will not be easy, and may not even be possible, for one thing, it will require Saudi Arabia to accept the Ansarollah, an indigenous Yemeni movement, as part of the governing power structure. It said” Such a solution is the only hope for bringing some stability to the country and refocusing international and Yemeni resources on AQAP or al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the most lethal Al Qaeda affiliate, which is the real beneficiary of the widening chaos.
Meanwhile, the Japan Times said in a special article from Tokyo that the Ansarollah soldiers are defying the odds against them by resisting against the state-of-the-art military technology of the Saudis. The article written by Cesar Chelala drew a parallel with what had happened in Latin America last century when the US tried to interfere. He said: In his book “Century of the Wind,” the late Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano tells how in 1927 the US Marines landed in Nicaragua to quell a revolutionary revolt by Augusto Cesar Sandino, who led a ragtag army of Nicaraguan peasants to fight the invasion. Armed primarily with machetes and 19th-century rifles, Sandino’s army fought the marines, undergoing heavy losses in an enormously unequal fight. In November 1927, the marines succeeded in locating El Chipote, Sandino’s mountain headquarters. However, when the marines reached it, they found the place abandoned and guarded by straw dummies. Despite massive efforts, American forces were never able to capture Sandino, and eventually were withdrawn from Nicaragua. As Alfonso Alexander, a Colombian journalist fighting in Sandino’s army, said at the time, “The invaders were like the elephant and we the snake. They were immobility, we were mobility.”
After citing this incident, the Japan Times article said: There is an eerie resemblance between these facts and what is now happening in Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East, where a small army of Ansarollah soldiers is fighting the combined forces of Saudi Arabia and its allies (the five Persian Gulf Arab States and Jordan, Egypt, Morocco and Sudan), with the support of the United States. The disproportion of forces between both sides would be laughable, if it weren’t tragic.
It pointed out: Saudi Arabia, one of the most undemocratic governments in the world, repeatedly accused by human rights organizations for its abuses, claims its attacks are aimed at restoring the democratic government of Yemen.
The Japanese daily said the Ansarollah are a purely indigenous Yemeni movement to redress the grievances of the Yemeni people, and hence no foreign power can defeat them, let alone wiping them out. It said: The Ansarollah have been shown to be well organized and reliable. Since taking control of Saada, their birthplace, they have made it one of the most peaceful and well-run areas in Yemen. The sound of gunfire has almost ceased now in Sadah, the Saada Governorate capital city. Residents have electricity for most of the day and reliable water supply. Moreover, it said, since declaring control of Yemen on February 6, the Ansarollah have been advancing steadily south, in spite of heavy losses and constant bombardment by Saudi Arabia and its allies that has provoked a serious humanitarian crisis in the country.
Unrelenting air strikes have killed and injured thousands of people, many of them civilians, and thousands more have been forced to leave their homes and are desperately trying to find food and potable water. On April 18, Oxfam’s warehouse in Saada, containing humanitarian supplies, was hit and destroyed by an air strike, leaving thousands of civilians without help.
Chelala concluded his analysis in the Japan Times by saying: It is possible that the Ansarollah army’s actions will force a political settlement of the conflict, which seems to be the most reasonable course of action. Like the valiant Nicaraguan soldiers, Sandino’s “crazy little army,” there is no reason to believe so far that the Yemeni soldiers have other than their country’s peaceful survival in mind.
In related news, the head of Iran’s Basij sent a message congratulating the Yemeni Ansarollah for their “resistance” against the nearly monthlong Saudi Arabian-led bombing campaign. The letter from Mohammad Reza Naqdi was addressed to Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, whom Naqdi referred to as “the brave commander of Ansarollah, brother warrior.” Naqdi called the end of the 28-day bombing campaign “a great victory” and “congratulated the champion nation of Yemen, especially you, the brave and wise leader.”
He said, “Without a doubt this brave resistance will be considered a turning point in the history of the region and the Islamic world and will have great transformations in the political geography of the world in favor of the oppressed.” He added, “Due to conditions, we did not have the honor to be alongside you in the front line and battle. We are ashamed and hope that we can make up for this in helping reconstruction and assistance.”
In related news, Sadollah Zaeri, an Iranian analyst whose work often appears in the Kayhan newspaper, wrote an op-ed April 22 arguing that the Saudi Arabian bombing campaign had the opposite effect of what was intended. He wrote that despite the Ansarollah having access to missiles, they did not attack Saudi Arabia. Rather, they had an ally tribe on the border attack Saudi Arabia, inflicting heavy damages, as a “lesson.”
He said: “The self-control Ansar Allah showed in the battlefield had a large impact in controlling the war machine of the enemy.” He added, “From a perspective of military technique and strategy, Ansarollah was effective, and Saudi Arabia not only quit the war with empty hands, but the conditions in which the war was suspended … it increased Ansarollah’s strength.”
He wrote that Ansarollah’s forces gained territory while Yemen forces aligned with Saudi Arabia suffered from an “identity crisis” over their failures.