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Saudis Can’t Defend Themselves, but They Can Bomb Yemen

Sept. 21, 2019 (EIRNS)—If the Houthis did indeed carry out the Sept. 14 strikes on the Saudi Aramco oil processing facilities as they claim, why were the Saudis unable to defend themselves against these attacks, despite the U.S. supplying billions of dollars’ worth of Patriot air/missile defense systems and other hardware? This is a question that has dominated media coverage of the attacks since they occurred. The New York Times posted a story Sept. 19 that reports that despite spending billions on the latest U.S. hardware, the Saudis have no ability to use any of it effectively. Even with American intelligence providing the latest in surveillance, the Saudi military has often been unable to act effectively, reinforcing a view among national security officials and humanitarian activists that—despite all the sparkling, expensive hardware—Saudi Arabia remains uninterested or incapable of defending its entire territory, or competently and humanely prosecuting a war abroad, the Times reported. Despite decades of support from the U.S. military, the Saudis have been unable to create a military force with a long-held tradition of a strong enlisted personnel corps that forms the backbone of the U.S. military. Four unnamed U.S. military officers with experience working with the Saudis told the Times that many officers rise because of patronage and connections to the Saudi royal family.

Instead of admitting military incompetence, Saudi Arabia escalated its war against Yemen. Yesterday, it launched a new operation north of Hodeidah against what it described as “legitimate military targets,” said to be four sites used in assembling remote-controlled boats and sea mines to help protect the freedom of maritime navigation.

The Houthis charged that the Saudi attack violated the agreement reached in Stockholm last December. “The concentrated raids on Hodeidah constitute a dangerous escalation that could blow up the Sweden agreement,” a Houthi spokesman said on Twitter, reported Reuters. “The coalition will bear the responsibility of this escalation which is also a test to the United Nations.”

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