Saudi Forces Open Fire on Tribal Fighters in Eastern Yemen

Saudis sought to storm cargo port on Oman border

Between the Shi’ite Houthis and the southern separatists, Saudi Arabia seemingly has enough enemies in Yemen already. Still, they appear to have gained some more Tuesday, when forces stormed the town of Shahn, on the Oman border.

Saudi officials haven’t explained what they thought they were doing, but they attacked a cargo port belonging to the Mahra tribes. The tribesmen denounced this as a “Saudi intrusion.”

The Mahra Province has seen almost no fighting since the 2015 Saudi invasion, with only a small amount of territory like airports being taken. Tribal leaders said the move on the cargo port violated the sovereignty of the tribes.

Picking fights with the tribes is a potentially risky move for the Saudis, as historically tribal factions and alliances have been much more powerful in Saudi Arabia than the government has been, and this could be a much bigger fight than the Saudis planned on for territory that had generally not contested their invasion.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of