Center for Strategic Assessment and forecasts

Autonomous non-profit organization

Home / Defence and security / / Articles
Yemeni bases are waiting for the Russians
Material posted: Publication date: 23-08-2016
The former President of Yemen Ali Abdullah Saleh has offered Russia to use Yemeni military bases, airfields and ports. In his time in the South of Yemen has stationed military bases of the USSR. Then the government in this middle Eastern country had a socialist government. The possible appearance of Russian troops in this country clearly fit into the strategy of Iran in the middle East.

Saleh's statement was preceded by a significant event in the life of Yemen. On 14 August a new government was formed — the Supreme political Council (WFC). The formation of the new authority was engaged in the Parliament, which has not met for more than two years. Such a long pause in the activities of the Parliament were connected with the civil war, and continuing to the end of 2014. War, in turn, was the result of "Arab spring" wave of anti-government protests that toppled President Ali Saleh.

Now there are signs that the situation is changing. Freed from the influence of Sunni Arab monarchies, the current government of Yemen, to defend their rights in a military conflict, tend to the Shiite bloc of countries led by Iran. This means closer ties with its ally Russia.

Last week, Russian military aircraft have used the Iranian base in Hamadan to conduct one of the operations in Syria. Currently in Yemen the war continues, so the chances of placing military equipment from Russia a little bit. However, the appeal Saleh to Moscow may be the beginning of a potentially rich collaboration.

The Soviet legacy

Independent state of Yemen emerged 1918, then it was a Kingdom. It occupied the Northern part of modern Yemen. The bulk of the population were Arabs, professing Shi'ism segascope sense. Zaidis are considered to be one of the most tolerant currents in Islam. Ruled the Kingdom sadetsky Imam.

Already in 1928, the Kingdom established diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union. In 1962 the military overthrew the next Imam and proclaimed the Yemen Arab Republic.

It actively supported the socialist leader of Egypt, Gamal Abdel Nasser: he hoped that Yemen will become part of a unified Arab state.

In 1967, the independence received the southern part of Yemen — it was a British protectorate. South Yemen declared itself a socialist state. Being an ally of the Soviet Union, received military and other assistance. But relations with North Yemen had not developed. As a result, between the two States occurred long military conflict. The Soviet Union, meanwhile, has placed its naval base in the port of Hodeidah in southern Yemen (she was allowed to monitor the Soviet fleet, the Red sea and on Socotra island — the polygon of the marine corps.

According to expert estimates, from 1968 to 1991 in southern Yemen was 5245 Soviet military specialists. Local naval base took 123 Soviet warship.

Problems of the socialist bloc, the "velvet revolution" in the late 1980s was reflected in Yemen — as it seemed, the better. In 1990 southern and Northern Yemen merged to form a single Republic. The head of the Republic was Ali Saleh, who in 1978 of the regulations in North Yemen.

But authoritarianism has provoked Saleh in 2011, mass protests against him. The events of the "Arab spring" stopped his reign. However, the format of the new government did not cause the approval of the entire Yemeni society. In particular, the same Zaidis in the North country were opposed to the new President Abd rabbu Mansour Hadi. They do not like the orientation Hadi on Sunni Saudi Arabia and the United States. The main political grouping, the Zaidi Ansar Allah" two years ago, the beginning of military operations against government forces to overthrow Hadi. The founder of the "Ansar Allah" was Hussein al-Houthi, which is why members of the group often referred to as the Houthis.

In early 2015, the Houthis captured the capital Sana'a. On their side moved a significant part of the army. On 22 January, Hadi has resigned of the President. The Houthis formed a new government, a Revolutionary Council. They announced that this body will operate temporarily during the year.

The Houthis supported the ousted President Ali Saleh, who hopes for a political revival. His invitation to Russia can not be called official, but allies of Saleh, are included in the new government of the country.

The determination of the bombs

The new Shiite government in a neighbouring state was not satisfied with Saudi Arabia. She led a coalition of two dozen Sunni States (which included even the Sudan and Pakistan), which since March last year bombed positions of the militants to "return to political stability in Yemen. This military operation was named "Storm of the determination. The bombing killed thousands of civilians, suffered the unique architecture of the country.

Hadi, who escaped to Saudi Arabia, announced that he intends to remain President. It continued to support the army and some tribes in the North of the country. Yemen plunged into the chaos of civil war. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have begun a ground offensive against the Houthis, together with supporters of Hadi. The Saudi military is still not called the number of their losses.

Ground operation was called "restore hope". She has not achieved the intended result — the defeat of the Huthis. Meanwhile, the UAE have refused to participate further in ground battles after their military camp near the town of Marib was destroyed by Houthis missiles, killing 52 soldiers of the UAE. Are not called and the loss of equipment antimusical coalition. Chasity has posted a video proving that they were able to hit and F-16 fighter jets and Apache helicopters, and Abrams tanks. Such equipment was not armed Yemeni army, it was used mostly Soviet and Russian weapons. American equipment supplied the armies of the Arab monarchies.

By the middle of 2016, the Saudis also were forced to stop the ground operation in Yemen. "Ansar Allah" has established control over the whole North of the country and certain districts in the South.

The Houthis have achieved sufficient stability for its public education, to early August this year to assemble the Parliament for forming a new government instead of the transitional Revolutionary Council.

Shias in Russia

The Parliament of Yemen consists of 301 deputies. About a hundred of them were on the side of Khadi, therefore, did not participate in the session dedicated to the creation of a new government. 27 members were killed during the fighting. However, a formal quorum was met: the session gathered 170 members.

Formed by the Supreme political Council was a compromise between different political forces in the country: Shia "Ansar", supporters of Ali Saleh and left-wing organizations.

This is a new form for governments resulting from the Arab spring. Previously the government was formed or made up of radical Sunnis, or from liberals.

The residents of Yemen took VPS with enthusiasm. In the capital Sanaa held mass demonstrations in his support. The demonstration took place despite the fact that at the same time, the Saudi air force has bombed the city.

The fact that Ali Saleh made a statement about the readiness to provide military bases of Russia, shows the attempt of the new government to find a powerful external partner. Enthusiasme coalition tacitly supported by the US and its NATO partners. They never criticized Saudi Arabia due to the fact that its aircraft regularly bombed civilian targets — including schools and hospitals. Iran, in turn, at the diplomatic level played for "Ansar Allah". And chasity among his allies called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Shiite military and political group Hezbollah, based in Lebanon.

At the end of the fifth year of the ongoing chaos of the Arab spring we can say that these events are more than just benefits managed to get to Iran.

Increased allied Hezbollah. Alava and Tehran's ally Bashar Assad is still the legitimate President of Syria and opposes Assad Sunni armed opposition is unable to secure a victory. Power in Yemen is also a form of the Shia "Ansar Allah". The government in Iraq is Shiite, and his Sunni competitors from the side of the terrorist "Islamic state" (banned in Russia). In addition to Iran, plus other regional powers is highly questionable.

While this only plays into the hands of Russian policy in the region. Moscow, in fact, should Iranian interests, speaking in Syria, and in Yemen on the side of Tehran. However, the scandal with the use of the air base in Hamadan that the Iranian authorities first opened, and then in a matter of days closed for the Russian Armed forces, indicate a fairly limited framework of this cooperation.

Alexander Rybin


Source: https://www.gazeta.ru/politics/2016/08/23_a_10154303.shtml

Tags: assessment , Russia , Yemen


RELATED MATERIALS: Defence and security