Saudi paper details six-stage Houthi crackdown

Riyadh: The military operation led by Saudi Arabia against the Shia Houthi movement in Yemen will be conducted over six stages, involving a total of 185 military aircraft, most of which are Saudi, according to a Saudi newspaper.

Al-Riyadh daily reported on Friday that the first phase was implemented before the start of the military campaign, which was a process of “determining the centers of political, operational and tactical weight” of the Houthis and their allies.

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The centres of political power were identified as being linked to the Houthi movement’s leader, Abdel Malek al-Houthi, and the family of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, the foci of operational powers were placed in the headquarters of air, naval and ground operations, while the tactical weight has its base in arsenals, tank convoys, and anti-aircraft batteries.

The second stage focused on eliminating the Houthi’s electronic capabilities, while the third stage, which began early on Thursday in Operation al-Hazm Storm, entailed airstrikes “until friendly aircraft completely control the scene of operations”.

The fourth stage will mainly feature the role of ground forces loyal to Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, which will also have air support.

According to the publication, the fifth phase, which will last between 15 and 30 days, will mark the withdrawal of coalition forces, although some reinforcements will be left to ensure compliance with the final, sixth part of the plan.

In the sixth stage, security forces, in addition to law enforcement, intelligence authorities, and civilian institutions, will play an important role in restoring public services including health and education, and rebuilding the Yemeni state.

As for the air raids, the newspaper said the aircraft used in the operation serve a variety of purposes, including combat, fuel supply, and rescue and reconnaissance missions.

Of the total of 185 aircraft, 100 are from Saudi Arabia, which has also prepared 150,000 troops, and naval units for action.

The United Arab Emirates are responsible for 30 of the aircraft, while Kuwait is down for 15, Bahrain with 15, Qatar with 10, Jordan and Morocco with six each, and are supporting the operation with Sudan three aircraft.

Additionally, Egypt announced its air and naval support, according to authorities, deploying four Egyptian Navy warships to Yemen on Thursday.

Operation al-Hazm Storm was launched early Thursday morning in order to stop the advance of Shiite militias.

Riyadh responded to Hadi’s request for military intervention against the Houthis, who took control of virtually all Yemeni territory after successfully extending their reach to the southern provinces of the country.