Iranians and their proxies have increased casualty count in war in Yemen

War on the Rocks:
On March 21 of this year, “Sandstorm Madar,” a massive dust storm pushed by wild winds and saturated with thunderstorms shrouded Saudi Arabia and angled towards the Kingdom’s southwest border with Yemen. Debris-laden gusts blocked the sky, closed schools, reduced ground visibility to less than a meter, and obscured satellite coverage. Against the Madar’s cloaking headwinds, an Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) officer, known by his nom de guerre “Abu Ali,” led a 52-man Houthi armored assault convoy armed with Katyusha missile launchers out of the northern Yemeni governorate of Sa’ada, and into Saudi Arabia’s Asir border province. Their aim was to conduct a series of early morning raids.

Using their missiles for suppressive fire, the Houthi forces attacked the Saudi border village of Dharan al-Janub before veering south to seize the Saudi al-Alab border station. After taking control of the al-Alab command center, Houthi combat engineers laced the compound with explosives and leveled it. A Saudi quick reaction force, accompanied by F-15 “Eagle Fighters,” responded to the raid. In the resultant onslaught, the IRGC officer along with 40 Houthi fighters were killed, 12 others were wounded, and their vehicles and missile launchers were destroyed.

The slain IRGC commander, “Abu Ali,” was known for leading prior Houthi raids against Saudi Arabia and providing training and operational supervision for the Hussein Brigades, an elite Houthi ground unit in northern and central Yemen.

Iran’s support for the Houthi insurgency has exacerbated the Yemen conflict and triggered an explosive reaction from the Gulf States and especially Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi-led coalition’s muscular response has been widely examined and criticized, but one aspect of this war has received scant coverage: the steep and increasing casualty count of IRGC and Hizballah operatives in Yemen. The Houthi raid and its aftermath exemplify Iran’s growing casualty rate and increasing costs in Yemen. Forty-four IRGC and Hizballah operatives have been killed or captured in Yemen’s civil war, based upon an analysis of Yemeni and Gulf Arabic news reports on killed, captured, and wounded advisers in Yemen over the last two years. Outside of a fewvague statements, Iran and Hizballah have not publicly commented about their military operations or losses in Yemen. This is a notable contrast to their litany of martyrdom press releases arising from battlefield losses in Iraq andSyria.

Iranian support for the Houthis is part of Iran’s encirclement strategy for the Arabian Peninsula in which it utilizes covert support for disenfranchised Shia communities to seed rebellions that could replace Sunni regimes with pro-Tehran regimes. The resulting instability also diverts the attention of Gulf and Western countries away from directly addressing Iran. Over the past two years, Iran has provided training and support for terrorist cells whose goal is to assassinate government officials and damage key infrastructure in Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. Arrests of Iranian-backed cells in Bahrain are surging as well.

In Yemen, the Houthis have traditionally been a low-end investment that has yielded high-end returns for Iran – but that calculation appears to be inverting....
There is more.

This is one of the best pieces I have seen explaining Iran's strategic objectives in Yemen and why the Sunni states are responding so forcefully.  Iran's casualties and those of its proxies have increased in both Yemen and Syria.  I suspect they are being low-key about the ones in Yemen to keep up the fiction that this is a genuine indigenous rebellion by the Houthis.

I think their war effort there is probably also benefiting from Obama's bad deal which gave Iran pallets of cash to spend on anything they wanted.


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