Abdul Malik al-Houthi, Yemeni Ansarullah Movement’s leader, in his recent speech announced that in case the Saudi regime’s aggression continues, the Yemeni forces would consider and operate their “strategic choices”, a claim that has been met by considerable speculations on what Ansarullah’s choices could be. Anti-Ansarullah Movement media have reported that disturbing and blocking the Red Sea’s shipping lines by targeting Strait of Bab-el-Mandab, located between Yemen and Djibouti is the Ansarullah’s action to actualize its promises of using strategic choices in battle against the Saudi regime. However, the media close to the Ansarullah resistant movement reported the group is considering the case differently, as it is planning a cross-border operation, for moving deeper into the Saudi territories, a strategy aiming to gain control of southern Saudi border regions of Najran, Jizan and Asir.
Following the speech, the media and experts have doubted Ansarullah’s power to make advances in south Saudi Arabia area, as they called Abdul Malik al-Huothil’s claims as hollow. However, the weeklong developments in Saudi-Yemeni border areas indicate that the Ansarullah leader’s claims are far from propagandistic or political bluffs, as they prove that the Yemeni movement is committed to actualize its promise of strategic options consideration.
There have been a variety of inflictions on the Saudi side by Ansarullah Movement. The Yemeni forces have fired a Scud missile into Saudi territories, as they have shot down a Saudi Apache helicopter in Jizan province by a surface-to-air missile. Even more, the Ansarullah Movement has destroyed Saudi Arabia’s military tanks and armored vehicles, as it has managed to gain control of some areas inside Saudi Arabia’s borders as well as killing the commander of the Saudi army’s eighteenth brigade Abdul Rahman al-Shahrani. All these operations are part of intensified Yemeni forces’ actions in southern Saudi Arabia, which present the Ansarullah and its allies’ threats as credible and practical.
The Ansarullah Movement’s escalated attacks against the Saudi forces in Yemeni-Saudi border come days after announcing that it has made a tactical retreat from Yemeni southern regions. Focusing on northern Yemeni areas and launching more attacks on Saudi border-territories are the announced aims of the retreat. Beside displaying the Saudi military weaknesses and making more gains, the Ansarullah’s focus on the kingdom’s southern regions, and its attacks on them have given rise to a new case which the Saudi regime have always tried to cover up, an issue almost forgotten for a long time.
Before being occupied and annexed to the Saudi kingdom’s territories in 1934, the three provinces of Najran, Jizan and Asir have been part of Yemeni land. Since then, no Yemeni government has managed to retake the equipped regions, however, recent Ansarullah’s operations have added to the possibility of liberation of the annexed Yemeni provinces, as Lebanon’s Al Akhbar newspaper, addressing the issue, said that “reviving the occupied Yemeni provinces is a greatest geopolitical loss for Saudi Arabia.” Haykal Bafana, a prominent Yemeni analyst and critic of Ansarullah, has tweeted that “the situation is deteriorating for Riyadh; the world has begun to become aware of an issue which the Saudis have hidden to date, and the Saudis are now counted strangers in Jizan, Najran and Asir provinces.
A major reason behind Ansarullah and Public Mobilization Forces’ advances and gains in their operations in southern Saudi Arabia is shared identity of the residents of the occupied Yemeni areas. Most of the people of southern Saudi Arabia are Yemeni tribes with Zaidi and Ismaili faiths, the same faiths of the majority of Yemenis. The reports suggest that the tribes living in Najran, Jizan and Asir have allied with Ansarullah forces, as they created a movement after Saudi aggression, dubbed as “Jizan, Najran and Asir Liberation Movement.
Referring to death of the top commander of eighteenth brigade of the Saudi army, the Yemeni analyst Haykal adds that “this is the first time that the originally-Yemeni Saudi citizens are joining Yemeni forces.” Moreover, the Yemeni presidential guards, in a statement, claimed that very soon the news of surprise gains over Saudi regime’s forces would be reported.
Seemingly, the Yemeni resistant movement Ansarullah is immensely resolved to liberate the occupied Yemeni provinces, a gain that could be a remarkably big blow to the Saudi Arabia.