The Associated Press reports: Saudi Arabia and its allies plan an ambitious ground offensive on multiple fronts in Yemen. It may be inevitable if they want to defeat Iranian-backed Shiite rebels but it also carries enormous risks, from the inhospitable, mountainous terrain and a possible guerrilla war to al-Qaida militants waiting in the wings.
The first main objective of a ground assault would be to secure the southern port of Aden and its immediate vicinity to allow the return of Western- and Gulf-backed President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who fled the Arabian Sea city last month in the face of a push south by the rebels. There, the troops would begin the task of building a new Yemeni army, replacing a military fragmented by the conflict.
The more daunting part of the plan is for Saudi-led forces to cross the border from Saudi Arabia into Yemen, according to Egyptian and Yemeni military and security officials briefed on planning. That means entering a mountainous landscape that is the home stronghold of the Shiite rebels, known as Houthis. There in Saada province, they have battled Yemen’s military to a standstill in six wars over the past decade. [Continue reading…]