Back in March, when Saudi Arabia announced its intention to begin airstrikes against the Shi’ite Houthis in Yemen, it was presented as a quick intervention aimed at reinstalling former President Hadi, who resigned back in January and had relocated to the southern port of Aden.
Now in November, Saudi ground troops and troops from other allies have been in Yemen for months. Aden was briefly lost, and regained by Hadi forces, but efforts to move northward have mostly stalled, with heavy fighting in both Maarib and Taiz Provinces.
A “quick intervention” has rapidly morphed into a protracted ground war, and one fueling growing international outcry, as Saudi airstrikes continue to cause huge civilian casualties across the nation. The thing that’s most conspicuously absent, however, is a credible victory plan.
Pro-Saudi leaders have been predicting a decisive victory looming over the horizon which would “liberate” the entire country into their hands, but with those big advances never coming, they seem to be hanging onto unrealistic expectations of absolute victory as a substitute for a plan to end the conflict.