Only Arab ground troops can win back Yemen

It is premature to rush to conclusions at this point, but it's clear the Houthis are being stretched after three months of bombing by Arab coalition warplanes.

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Published: Fri 17 Jul 2015, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 17 Jul 2015, 11:47 AM

Arab and pro-government ground forces are saving the day in Yemen, throwing the Houthis rebels into disarray after three months of war, while capturing terrain from the group. There's a new strategic resolve to oust a terrorist group militarily without outside support. It was clear from the start of the conflict that aerial bombardments alone would not work in the country.
A united Arab response with more boots on the ground was the solution. The decision to boost Arab presence on Yemeni soil may have come late but it has certainly tilted the scales in favour of the government. One reason why the GCC did not agree to a truce called by the UN last week.
Forces loyal to deposed President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi are set to retake the strategic port city of Aden from the Houthi rebels. Hadi has sent some ministers and intelligence officials to the city to work out plans for his return from exile in Saudi Arabia. The Houthis have been armed and supported by Iran and we wonder if the rebel setback is linked to Tuesday's nuclear deal, or will the rebels recoup and come back with more firepower once the effects of agreement wear off?
It is premature to rush to conclusions at this point, but it's clear the Houthis are being stretched after three months of bombing by Arab coalition warplanes. More recruits trained in Saudi Arabia have joined the campaign against the illegal takeover of the country.
Aerial cover has helped their progress, no doubt. Local troops are being assisted by GCC special forces who are at the vanguard of gains that could prove decisive in the final push for victory in Yemen.
Improved coordination between local fighters, Yemeni army units, the exiled government and the Arab alliance is making a vast difference on the ground. According to reports, the UAE has shipped 100 armoured vehicles for the war effort.
Local fighters retook the city's airport and port in the last two days after some bloody fighting which killed dozens of people, according to reports.
For Hadi and his cabinet, winning back the strategic port city is the first step in re-establishing government control of large tracts of the country captured by the Houthis. The rebel march began last September when they seized Sanaa, the capital in the north last September. The group pushed into the south and east in March and April this year before laying seige to Aden.
The return of ministers on Thursday to Aden is largely symbolic. There's much work to do in the country which has suffered enough. But it sends a message the world that resistance to the Houthis is growing and Arab armies can put strategic thought into action and finish the job on the battlefield.



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