Saudi Arabian–led intervention in Yemen

On 26 March 2015, Saudi Arabia, leading a coalition of nine countries from West Asia and North Africa, launched an intervention in the Yemeni Civil War in response to calls from the president of Yemen Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi for military support after he was ousted by the Houthi movement.

Saudi Arabian–led intervention in Yemen
Part of the Yemeni Civil War and the Iran–Saudi Arabia proxy conflict

An airstrike in Sanaʽa on 11 May 2015
Current (November 2021) political and military control in ongoing Yemeni Civil War (2014–present)
  Controlled by the Government of Yemen (under the Presidential Leadership Council since April 2022) and Saudi Arabian-led allies
  Controlled by Houthis-led Supreme Political Council
  Controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)
  Controlled by local, non-aligned forces
(See also a detailed map)
Date26 March 2015 ongoing
(7 years, 6 months and 1 day)
  • Operation Decisive Storm
    26 March – 21 April 2015
    (3 weeks and 6 days)
  • Operation Restoring Hope
    22 April 2015 – present
    (7 years, 5 months and 5 days)
Location
Status Ongoing
Belligerents

Saudi Arabia[1]
United Arab Emirates[2][3][4]
 Sudan (2015–19)[2]
 Bahrain[2]
 Kuwait[2][5]
 Qatar (2015–17)[2]
 Egypt[2][6]
 Jordan[2]
 Morocco (2015–19)[2][7]
 Senegal[lower-alpha 1][9]
Academi contractors[10]
(2015–16)[11]
Saudi-paid Yemeni mercenaries[12]
Supported by:
 United States[13][14][15]

 United Kingdom[lower-alpha 3]
 Germany[24][25][26][27]
Al-Qaeda[28][29][30] (denied by United States)[31]


In support of:
Presidential Leadership Council (Cabinet)

Non-state co-belligerents:

Revolutionary Committee/Supreme Political Council

Commanders and leaders

Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
Mohammed bin Salman
Fahd bin Turki Al Saud (2015–20)
Mutlaq bin Salem bin Mutlaq Al-Azima[40]
Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah
Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa
Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (2015–17)
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
Abdel Fattah al-Burhan (2015–19)
Abdullah II
Mohamed VI (2015–19)
Macky Sall


Rashad al-Alimi (2022–)
Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi (2015–22)
Mohammed al-Maqdashi
Gen. Ali al-Ahmar[41]
Gen. Abd Rabbo Hussein [42]
Gen. Ahmad Al-Yafei [43]

Mohammed Ali al-Houthi
Mohamed al-Atifi (2016–)
Mahdi al-Mashat (2018–)
Saleh Ali al-Sammad  (2015–18)
Hussein Khairan (2015–16)

Abdul-Malik al-Houthi
Strength

100 warplanes and 150,000 troops[44]
30 warplanes and 15,000 troops[45][46]
4 warplanes[citation needed] and 15,000 troops[47]
15 warplanes[48] 300 troops[49]
15 warplanes[48]
10 warplanes, 1,000 troops[48][50] (until 2017)
4 warships[51] and warplanes[52]
6 warplanes[48]
6 warplanes, 1,500 troops[48][53]
2,100 troops[9] (soldiers not yet deployed in 2016)[8]

Academi: 1,800 security contractors[54]

150,000–200,000 fighters[55]
200,000–250,000

Casualties and losses

1,000[56]–3,000[57] soldiers killed by 2016;
10 captured[58]
108 soldiers killed[46]
9 soldiers killed[59][60]
1 F-16 crashed[61]
4 soldiers killed[62][63]
10 soldiers killed[64][65]
1 F-16 shot down[66][65]
1 F-16 lost[67]
Academi: 71 mercenaries killed[11]

Unknown

Thousands killed (Aljazeera; as of May 2018)[68]

11,000+ killed (Arab Coalition claim; as of Dec. 2017)[69]

12,907 Yemeni civilians killed (1,980 women and 2,768 children; per the LCRD)
8,672 civilians killed and 9,741 injured by coalition's airstrikes (per Yemen Data Project)[70]
500+ Saudi civilians killed on the Saudi-Yemen border (August 2016)[71][72]
91,600+ killed overall in the Yemeni Civil War[73]

  1. soldiers not yet deployed in 2016[8]
  2. logistic support and assistance with the naval blockade of Houthi-held territories in October 2016[16][17][18]
  3. training, intelligence, logistical support, weapons, and blockade up to 2017[20][21][22][23]

According to the White House, President Obama "authorized the provision of logistical and intelligence support" to the Saudi-led military coalition. The White House also announced establishing "a Joint Planning Cell with Saudi Arabia to coordinate U.S. military and intelligence support" to the Saudi coalition in Yemen.[74]

The conflict ignited between the government forces, the Houthi rebels and other armed groups after the draft constitution and power-sharing arrangements collapsed, despite progress in the political transition led by the United Nations at that time, leading to an escalation of violence in mid-2014.

The Houthis and allied units of the armed forces seized control of Sana’a and other parts of the country in September 2014 and in the following months. This prompted President Hadi to ask Saudi Arabia to intervene against the Iranian-backed Houthis.

Code-named Operation Decisive Storm (Arabic: عملية عاصفة الحزم, romanized: Amaliyyat 'Āṣifat al-Ḥazm), the intervention initially consisted of a bombing campaign on Houthi rebels and later a naval blockade and the deployment of ground forces into Yemen.[75] The Saudi-led coalition has attacked the positions of the Houthi militia and loyalists of the former President of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, who are supported by Iran (see Iran–Saudi Arabia proxy conflict).

Fighter jets and ground forces from Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Academi (formerly called Blackwater) took part in the operation. Djibouti, Eritrea, and Somalia made their airspace, territorial waters, and military bases available to the coalition.[76]

The United States provided intelligence and logistical support, including aerial refueling and search-and-rescue for downed coalition pilots.[13][77] It also accelerated the sale of weapons to coalition states[78] and continued strikes against AQAP. In January 2016, the Saudi foreign minister said that US and British military officials were in the command and control centre responsible for Saudi-led air strikes in Yemen, having access to lists of targets but were not involved in choosing targets.[79][80][81]

The war received widespread criticism and had a dramatic worsening effect on Yemen's humanitarian situation, that reached the level of a "humanitarian disaster"[23] or "humanitarian catastrophe".[82] The question of whether or not the intervention is in compliance with Article 2(4) of the UN Charter has been the matter of academic dispute.[83][84][85]

The conflict's status was described a "military stalemate" in 2019.[86] The global COVID-19 pandemic is said to have given Saudi Arabia an opportunity to review its interests in Yemen.[87] In early 2020, it was said that Saudi Arabia was searching for an exit strategy, amid the COVID-19 pandemic and military defeats.[88]

On 29 March 2022, the Saudi-led coalition announced that it would cease all hostilities within Yemen starting at 6 A.M. the following day, in order to facilitate political talks and peacekeeping efforts.[89]


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