By Prof Muhammad Al Musfir
Since March 26, our ears and eyes have been fixed on Operation Decisive Storm and what it has achieved on the ground.
We keenly follow the military briefings by General Ahmed Asiri. As the days passed, we heard about the occupation of Aden airport by the Houthis and the army of ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh, and then the news was that the airport had been freed by the people’s resistance.
Later it was reported that Aden airport had been raided and destroyed. We also heard through Gulf television channels that battles are raging in the streets of Aden and around the airport; the number of martyrs has reached more than 200 civilians, with more than 1,000 wounded in just a couple days.
However, people familiar with developments on the ground in Aden say that the large number of martyrs is due to the operations of the Houthis and Saleh’s troops, who target civilians in the streets and in homes.
The other news was about the large and fortified Al Anad airbase, which has been destroyed by coalition air strikes. Yet, the Houthis and Saleh’s forces re-occupied it.
The question is, why were the Houthis and Saleh’s soldiers not prevented from returning to the airbase? The available information indicates that the areas of Ad Dali’, Yafa and Lahij are exposed to attacks and sniper fire by the hostile forces.
Those unfamiliar with the geography of this region may think that there was negligence on the part of the coalition forces led by Saudi Arabia, and that they are unable to hold off the Houthis, who frequently sneak back into areas they have been evicted from. We need to focus on not giving room to these dissidents to sneak into areas near the camps, and to neutralise them once and forever.
Information indicates the presence of military forces consisting of tanks, armoured vehicles, troop carriers, and SUVs at the site of Aden-Mualla (Al Kabsah), the port of Mualla, around the mills, and around the flour silos of companies owned by partners of the ousted president.
The Gulf people are wondering why the Aden airport and nearby camps have not been completely destroyed in multiple, sequential air strikes, instead of being hit in a raid or three every day.
Why doesn’t the coalition destroy roads that facilitate the movement of supplies? Why doesn’t the coalition paralyse all means of wired and wireless communication of the hostile forces?
On the other hand, the resistance forces in Aden don’t have a unified leadership, or an operations centre to coordinate between the resistance groups deployed in the city and in the surrounding mountains, so why don’t the coalition forces fill that gap by sending volunteers who can unify the leadership, do the required coordination for field operations and provide the resistance fighters with equipment to enable them to hunt the Houthis lurking among the people?
I know that the Arab coalition forces don’t want to inflict casualties on civilians, which is the reason why they don’t hit the vicinity of camps, airports and seaports, but target only military camps. My view is that this war will have human casualties since some soldiers and others are hiding among civilians.
In wartime, all measures are taken to prevent the enemy from getting any supplies. Military and political intelligence play an important role in this regard.
Hence, I am warning here that Iran has strong links with countries in the Horn of Africa, including Eritrea, Comoros, Djibouti, and many other countries. However, Djibouti and Eritrea are the most important countries in the Horn of Africa for Iran at present because of the war in Yemen.
I have not heard any news saying that Eritrea has condemned the coup in Yemen by the Houthis and supporters of Saleh. Eritrea has also not announced its support for Decisive Storm.
There is information on how Eritrean islands are used by foreign forces to smuggle weapons into Yemen as these islands are close to the Yemeni coast.
I hope the GCC countries taking part in Decisive Storm realise the importance of these areas and impose a naval blockade on the Yemeni coast, issuing a clear ultimatum to foreign countries not to use their territories to strangle Yemen and its allies. This should be done before we lose control on the ground.
Finally, according to information received from Aden, a second batch of weapons was delivered by air and landed in the courtyard of Al Qasr hotel, located in Al Husoh area in Aden, to be collected by an influential figure close to the ousted president who we cannot name.
This person didn’t hand over the weapons to the resistance forces. So necessary measures must be taken to prevent these weapons falling into the hands of the Houthis and Saleh’s supporters.