Yemen was a state of ferment over the last four years. The Saudi ruler and crown prince Mohammed bin Salman stitched together a coalition along with the UAE to crush the Houthi's who had taken over most of Yemen and captured the capital Sana.

Saudi led coalition breaking

The Saudi-led coalition, despite fighting for four years has been unable to achieve anything significant. Matters have been compounded with the coalition breaking up and the United Arab Emirates pulling out.

The Shia-dominated Houthi rebels who are supported by Iran are still in control of Sana and the northern part of Yemen.

To the chagrin of the Sauds', last week the Southern Transitional Council (STC) group that was fighting as allies turned against its masters. Foreign policy.com reported that the STC captured the presidential palace in Aden as well as the main port.

This was a total surprise to the Saudi-led alliance and led to the Saudi Air Force targeting the rebels, but again, with not much success.

Prince Salman is now facing with the stark reality that the coalition led by him is on the verge of collapse.

The United Arab Emirates joined the coalition and helped prop up the rule of General Abdel Fattah El Sisi. Egypt and the blockade of Qatar have pulled out from the coalition and are not bothered whether the Houthi's are defeated or not. They are more concerned that their ally, the STC should have a say in the sharing of power in Yemen.

Saudi dilemma

Prince Salman is now on the horns of a dilemma. Despite billions of dollars of arms pouring in from the USA and UK, the Saudi armed forces have failed to win a decisive victory, though four years have elapsed. This shows the resilience of the Iranian who escaped a missile attack ordered by Trump. Plus Houthi rebels also launched attacks inside Saudi Arabia. With the UAE pulling out partly due to frustration at the course of the war, Prince Salman has to take the next step all alone.

Yemen has paid a terrible price for this civil war. In a population of 28 million, thousands have died and millions do not have enough food to eat. The United Nations has called the Yemen crisis one of the world's worst humanitarian crisis'. Aside from that, thousands have been killed and despite a heavy air bombardment with imported American fighter jets, the Saud alliance has precious little to show after four years of fighting.

Future

The moment of reckoning has now come for Prince Salman. He has to decide how to continue the war. He has a difficult choice. It also shows that any campaign which is ill-conceived and ill-planned is likely to bite the dust. It also shows that despite superior firepower, victory cannot be assured, as has been realized by the Americans in Afghanistan and Vietnam. The UAE wisely decided to withdraw and now it's up to Prince Salman to pull the chestnuts out of the fire.

We have to wait and watch to see how he solves this problem.

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