Saudi Arabia’s embattled Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the architect of the war on Yemen, has come under fire at home after more than 70 Saudi forces were killed in a successful Yemeni army operation in the southwestern port city of Jizan.
The massive aerial and ground operation by the Yemeni military forces, backed by allied fighters from popular committees, has come as a major setback to the Riyadh-led coalition in its war on Yemen.
Yemen’s al-Masirah television, quoting military sources, reported on Monday about the operation that targeted Saudi positions on three strategic mountainous areas of Jabal al-Dud, al-Ramih and Jahfan.
Apart from 70 fatalities suffered by Saudi-led mercenaries, at least 32 Saudi armored vehicles were also damaged in the operation, the report said.
Yemeni forces managed to seize control of at least 40 sites in the mountainous region, after which the Saudi air force sent warplanes that inflicted damage on their own military equipment.
The massive military operation, which again reaffirmed the Yemeni military’s supremacy in the devastating Saudi-imposed war, has come as a huge embarrassment for the kingdom’s leadership.
Social media has been abuzz with many Saudi nationals slamming the crown prince and his protracted war on Yemen, while reiterating their demand for his ouster, as reported by the Saudi Wikileaks website.
The hashtag #Yakfi_Abath_Bajnudna (humiliation of our soldiers is enough) has been trending on Twitter since Saturday, showing complete exasperation of the country’s citizens with the regime.
Social media buzz
The latest incident has again brought to light the growing alienation between the rulers and subjects in the Arab kingdom, as well as a lack of support to the country’s armed forces.
Saif al-Mashhour, a Saudi Twitter user, said the Saudi military has the lowest wages and benefits from other armies and is not supported by the regime despite possessing enormous resources.
“Those who are far from the battlefield are drowning in lust and are a corrupt group that spends billions of dollars without any precincts, living in palaces and buying [sports] clubs and getting their soldiers killed,” he wrote, referring to the Saudi leadership. “They send them to the slaughterhouse.”
Another Saudi user, Mohammed al-Otaibi, wrote that the crown prince thinks the Saudi people are not paying attention to this defeat (in Jizan), which resulted in the death of their children and fathers.
“Why do soldiers run away like this without weapons, are they not supported,” he asked in a tweet. “As we heard, why were the troops left to fend for themselves during the attack (in Jizan)?”
Walid al-Hadhlul, a prominent Saudi activist, said history is constantly repeating itself, and that the Saudi-imposed war on Yemen was reminiscent of the Egyptian army invading Yemen during the time of Gamal Abdel Nasser, which destroyed Yemen and dealt a heavy blow to the Egyptian army.
Alia al-Hadhlul, another well-known Saudi dissident, asked why the country’s crown prince, who also serves as the defense minister, went on a tourist trip to southern Saudi Arabia, instead of Jizan.
A Saudi Twitter user ‘Yousef’ said Mohammad bin Salman once boasted of taking the war to Tehran and now the Yemeni fighters are targeting the Saudi army like “computer games.” He urged the Saudi army to quit the war in Yemen.
Zargham Najd, another Saudi Twitter user, blasted Mohammed bin Salman for using the Saudi military for his “destructive plans,” asking whether a member of the country’s ruling dynasty had ever been killed in a war.
Another user, Ali Omar al-Maliki, posted a video of the Yemeni army’s operation and the killing of Saudi soldiers, saying, “Isn’t this a sign that the command of these soldiers has failed?”
The online campaign by Saudi activists calling for an end to the devastating war on the poorest country in the Middle East is fast gaining momentum after the Jizan operation.
Yemenis have stepped up attacks on Saudi Arabia in recent months, saying the retaliatory operations will continue as long as Riyadh carries on with its policy of bombardment and blockade.
Saudi Arabia, backed by the Western powers and regional allies, launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015, with an aim to plant a pro-Riyadh government in the country.
The Saudi-led campaign has killed hundreds of thousands of Yemenis and displaced millions of others.
The prolonged war has also destroyed the country’s vital infrastructure, including hospitals and schools, leading to the worst humanitarian crisis.