20 December 2009

Min.73 Saudi soldiers killed in Yemeni operation

At least 73 Saudi soldiers have been killed, 470 wounded and 26 are missing since Yemen's rich neighbour entered the conflict in November when the Al Houthi rebels that were fighting the government since the Yemeni military launched Operation Scorched Earth on August 11 launched a cross-border raid that killed a Saudi border guard and occupied two villages on Saudi territory. The capable Saudi air force and military launched an assault that killed dozens and dozens of rebels over the next few weeks.
Despite having a superior army to that of the rebels, the Saudis did sustain single-digit casualties over the subsequent weeks that soon rose to a figure under 20. It's shocking that for such an equipped army the casualty figure has risen so high. The army's weapons and equipment definitely do inspire confidence, something observed by the Saudi Assistant Minister of Defence, Prince Khalid, who said he "was amazed by the troops’ tactical skills and management of the battle".

We are not going to stop the bombing until the infiltrators retreat tens of kilometers inside their border,” Prince Khaled said on a visit to Saudi troops in southwestern Jizan province.
“As you stand fighting in the battlefield of honor sacrificing your lives to secure your homeland and its integrity, I am confident you are making a great victory,” he said addressing the troops.

I shared Prince Khalid's amazement too, but now in a different manner. As an American ally, American funds definitely went quite some way in modernizing the army, but almost two months after the invasion, which was mainly aerial, 70 martyred is a not-so-stellar figure. However, we should be glad that we at least got to know about the casualty figures on the non-rebel side."Dozens and dozens of rebels killed" isn't so comforting if an equal no. of soldiers are killed.

Unfortunately, much of the casualties on the Yemeni army side goes unreported and since their special forces are currently engaging in operations aimed at neutralizing the top leaders of the Houthis, we can only hope the KIAs are kept to a minimum. The dream of no K.I.As is a dream that will probably remain just a dream for the underarmed, under-equipped army that backs even basic armour for it's troops.

Source - France24

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