Saudi Arabia is our most worthless “ally.”


"SA evidently is shipping all this in from their major base at Sharura in the Rub' al-Khali (Empty Quarter).  It goes down the hard surface road to this Wadi'a border crossing (pictured above) and thence down through the Sunni territory of the Hadramaut into Shabwa Governorate and on to Aden.  Some also goes west to Marib Governorate of Yemen.  There are also sea shipments int othe port of Aden directly.

The Saudis are well advised to avoid the Najran to Sa'da to San'a axis.  That is real "Indian Country" from their point view. "  Quoting myself from August, 2015


"Despite the fact that the Saudi-led coalition has launched a full-on attack and invasion of Yemen, a group of poorly armed and poorly trained “militiamen” have successfully defeated the Saudis, Qataris, and Emirates – themselves backed by the United States in terms of intelligence and strategic assistance – and have not only dealt massive blows to coalition forces but have now managed to inflict blows to the Saudis on their own territory.

In a story that went virtually unreported in the West, the Houthis managed to wrest control of three Saudi military bases in Saudi Arabia’s Jizan province, located near the Saudi-Yemen border in January of this year. The bases Jabal al-Doud, al-Aril, and Madba were all seized by Houthi forces and fighters with “allied Popular Committees.”"  mintpress


Jes' to he'p yeh with the sittee-ayshun in Yayman amungst the Ayrabs,  long ago I used to spend me time amongst the grandfathers of some of the men who now adhere to the Houthi sect of Zeidi Shiism.  This was unusual because the US military attaché usually stayed in Sanaa (the capital) with occasional trips to Hodeidah.  I wandered around.  Why?  I was restless.  In doing that, I came to know the various populations of "Yayman," The Zeidi Shia tribesmen from Sanaa north to the Wadi Najran in Saudi Arabia's Asir Province and east to the Rub' al Khali, the Sunni tribal villagers south and SW of Sanaa, the city people.  I came to know them well.

The Zeidi hill men who now adhere to Houthism (?) are in the main, runty, stunted, Qat chewing drug addicts who drink Red Label by the quart in the afternoon to come down from their Qat high.   They are insular, xenophobic (this extends often to the people in the next valley or on the next ridge).  They are heavily armed with infantry weapons such as the AK, RPG, and mortars.  Many of them served in the Yemeni Army, defected to their tribe and brought bits of gear like tanks and anti-aircraft weapons with them.  They LOVE to fight.  Together with the pro-Salih elements of the Yemeni Army they have whipped the Saudi hirelings and their mercenary friends just about every time they have met. pl


"Israel has encouraged its oil-rich Saudi ally to find out more African allies in its interminable conflict in neighboring Yemen, and curb the increasing influence of Iran in the African continent.  Mr. al-Jubeir has allegedly conveyed a message from the Saudi ambitious minister of war, Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, luring the desperate and destitute African nation into joining the war by promising unimaginable sums of money,

Saudi Arabia is looking for further 5,000 Senegalese child soldiers–each soldier shall receive $ 5.000 per month, a mouth-watering offer —to initiate the ultimate decisive battle for Sana’a (the Yemeni capital city) in order to recapture it from Yemeni revolutionaries."  AMN


It doesn't get better than this in terms of historic irony. 

France once owned Senegal.  Volunteer professional Senegalese artillery units in the French Colonial Army were famed for their steadfast service.  Now the Saudis, who, IMO, have only regretfully and perhaps not altogether given up enslaving Blacks want to hire Africans to fight the Yemenis in a knock down, drag-out fight for Sanaa?

It doesn't get better than that.  Hang in there, Chihuahua!    FIDO!    pl

This entry was posted in As The Borg Turns, Borg Wars, Current Affairs, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Yemen. Bookmark the permalink.

48 Responses to Saudi Arabia is our most worthless “ally.”

  1. Degringolade says:

    You know, there is a long history of folks underestimating tough little bastards who don’t mind fighting. The Green Hmong that I hung out with in the long ago were one set, the Ghurkas another, I would also put the hillbilly Scots-Irish underclass here in America in that set.
    I really liked your descriptions of the Zeidi. These are folks I can get along with.

  2. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Col. Lang:
    It could get even better; the Africans could use their new weapons and training to take over Saudi Arabia – they have a world to gain and nothing to lose.
    It would be just like the Old Times, when the slave soldiers took over in Baghdad and in Cairo.

  3. turcopolier says:

    Be still my heart. Which mamaliik took over Baghdad? pl

  4. Babak Makkinejad says:

    It began under Muátasim, son of a Turkic slave, relying on Berber and Turkic military slaves to take over the Caliphate.

  5. michael brenner says:

    Perhaps Obama should send his A-TEAM of diplomatic mediators to resolve all matters on the Arabian peninsular. We can imagine Susan Rice, Samantha Powers, and Ben Rhodes squatting in the dust and chewing Qat with a liter bottle of Duty Free Blue Label in the middle of the circle. Then, there will be the Hollywood fil recreation with Brad Pitt,……

  6. Bill Herschel says:

    And then there’s this:
    “But even Mr. Obama has expressed wariness about an enduring deal with Moscow. “I’m not confident that we can trust the Russians or Vladimir Putin,” Mr. Obama said at a news conference on Thursday. “Whenever you are trying to broker any kind of deal with an individual like that or a country like that, you have got to go in there with some skepticism.””
    “Or a country like that…” Mr. Obama, you say that to the American people? Whoever you are serving, and a vile, obsequious servitude it is, it is not the American people. What on earth do you know of “the Russians”?
    You would have the American people throw in their lot with Jihadists against one of the oldest Western civilizations on earth.
    “I wandered around. Why? I was restless.” The French influence. A French Colonel who spent a ton of time in Lebanon said that they always wandered around and learned a ton.

  7. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    re: “I wandered around. Why? I was restless. In doing that, I came to know the various populations of “Yayman,” The Zeidi Shia tribesmen from Sanaa north to the Wadi Najran in Saudi Arabia’s Asir Province and east to the Rub’ al Khali, the Sunni tribal villagers south and SW of Sanaa, the city people. I came to know them well.”
    Sounds like you took a leaf out of General Stilwell’s book. IIRC from reading Barbara Tuchman’s book about him in his China days, that’s exactly what he did when posted there in the 1920s.

  8. Tidewater says:

    Tidewater to Col. Lang,
    I can’t help wondering if the conseqences of putting thousands of Senegalese troops in Yemen might be worse than anyone realizes. I’ve read that French colonial troops, like the Senegalese tirailleurs, were issue a “machette” –like a very heavy cane knife with an acute-angled, almost blunt end, –which they used famously in trench fighting and at close quarters in WWI. They were also well-known to kill wounded German soldiers by right, as sport, with these pangas, and often enough, prisoners. I don’t know the historical details, but I know that the reality was that ordinary soldiers in the German army developed a burning hatred for them. Then, after the war, France deployed these black troops to the Rhineland for occupation duty. They got involved with German women. It was a national humiliation. There was scandal at the number of mulatto births. It is mentioned in Mein Kampf. This is one way that post-war German hatred grew for France. (It reminds me that at the Battle of the Crater at Petersburg, captured white union officers were executed on the spot. And then there was Fort Pillow.)
    After the fall of France, as at Lyons, in July of 1940, German regular troops did some payback, spontaneously killing scores of Senegalese troops. They were not led or guided into this by SS doctrine. They had heard stories from their fathers and grandfathers. I have read that some 3,000 black French colonial troops were executed in 1940. Afterward, due to pressure from Vichy officials and Vichy army leaders, colonial troops in prison camps were treated about the same as white troops.
    What I am afraid is going to happen is that Yemeni civilians as well as Houthi families and prisoners are going to be slaughtered by these Senegalese troops when the opportunity affords itself. Then some Saudi or Gulf troops will be captured by Yemeni rebels and will be treated likewise. The thing could grow and grow. Pretty soon the whole world is watching. If some television footage,
    similar to those scenes in the film ‘Africa Addio’, of widespread massacre of, and sexual outrages against Muslim men and women by Kaffirs, gets widely published abroad in the Islamic world, and it is understood that the US is behind this, then it could become incendiary. Not only another All-American national crime brought out into the light, but one for which the unexpected consequences are hard to figure out at this point.
    I think the Saudis and the American government officials behind it have to be stopped. This is evil.

  9. BraveNewWorld says:

    Another part of this story is that the Western states are all sending forces into Africa to defeat the various Islamist groups. Mean while the African leaders are selling their people to the Saudis rather than using them to destroy the Islamists. If the Africans have troops to spare they should be attaching then to UN missions in Africa rather than the west having to send our people.

  10. turcopolier says:

    In spite of their assertions to the contrary, most Arabs are deeply racist about Africans. Bandar bin Sultan was never going to be king of SA because his mother was an Ethiopian concubine (jarriya habeshiya). You read some interesting stuff. pl

  11. turcopolier says:

    ex-PFC Chuck
    “Sounds like you took a leaf out of General Stilwell’s book” Maybe you would have needed a book to follow. I did not. pl

  12. turcopolier says:

    Michael brenner
    Pitt will play which of the women? pl

  13. Allen Thomson says:

    > “wandering around”
    Back in the day, I had more than one occasion to admire the defense attaches because of exactly that. Not all of them, but a significant number, would just go out, walk around, talk to people and do stuff. Some of which produced quite interesting IIRs. Other folks at the embassies had their own ways of doing things.

  14. Will says:

    this is interesting stuff
    “the insurrection is traditionally believed to have involved enslaved blacks (Zanj) that had originally been captured from the East African coast and transported to the Middle East.[1] It grew to involve many slaves and free men from several regions of the Caliphate, and claimed tens of thousands of lives before it was finally defeated”
    yep, there is rampant racism, but as the Col. said, there are contrary currents

  15. Serge says:

    I had the ethiopic invasion of the Peninsula and the vassalization by them of Yemen in mind at your mention of Old Times.

  16. morgan says:


  17. turcopolier says:

    Antar is a legendary poet from the Jahiliya (before Islam) and in his tale he could not marry his cousin Ablah because he was part Black. Bilal was one of the Companions of the Prophet and is remembered BECAUSE he was Black but still devoted to the new faith. I have never met an Arab who was not prejudiced against Blacks in spite of their oft repeated saying that there is “no prejudice in Islam.” If you think that is not true ask them if they would let their sister marry one and watch their faces. pl

  18. turcopolier says:

    Allen Thomson
    “Other folks at the embassies had their own ways of doing things.” Now, who would that be? pl

  19. F5F5F5 says:

    5000 Senegalese child-soldiers?!
    Senegal has already sent 2100 regular troops last year, which didn’t go down well at all with the population. Although Senegal is 90% muslim, they are no fans of wahhabism.
    Also, Senegal does not employ child soldiers, but they have been used by the Casamance rebels south of the country.

  20. Serge says:

    A great passage in TE Lawrence’s work immediately comes to my mind:
    “SO I made a happy start with my sponsor for the journey, Sherif Abd el Kerim el Beidawi, half-brother of Mohammed, Emir of the Juheina, but, to my astonishment, of pure Abyssinian type. Abd el Kerim was a man of middle height, thin and coal black, but debonaire, twenty-six years old; though he looked less, and had only a tiny tuft of beard on his sharp chin. He was restless and active, endowed with an easy, salacious humour. He hated the Turks, who had despised him for his colour (Arabs had little colour-feeling against Africans: it was the Indian who evoked their race-dislike), and was very merry and intimate with me.”
    I have also noticed what you said about their attitude in my very limited experience with Arabs,I would be very curious to see if Lawrence’s observed lack of “color-feeling” prevails amongst cultural Arabs of visibly different race in areas with great amounts of historical sub Saharan admixture among the majority, such as Egypt or even SA for example(the bandar example would not apply, as his mother was a non Arab black. Born with the same black features,would he still be barred if his mother was a clearly negroid Saudi?) The prevalence of many clearly negroid Saudi Arabians in both the political(ulema) and military apparatus comes to mind.These seem to be totally integrated, as if race is not even noticed.

  21. Wonduk says:

    They have done that. Substantial continegtn of Senegalese is with the UN Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) as well as in Central Africal Republic and other missions. 3700 is no small number.
    Senegeal is a non-permanent member of the Security Council for this and the next year.
    Overall it seems to be quantity over quality. One of their top generals (Babacar Gaye) had to leave after the scandal in CAR.
    Problem is that we do in general NOT contribute the quality by sending “our people” – African peacekeeping is largely done by non-Europeans (maybe for all the right reasons).

  22. Stonevendor says:

    Speaking of wandering about. All I ever knew of Sir Mark Sykes was the he was 1/2 of of a famous Middle East agreement between Britain and France. I found this background to be interesting.

  23. turcopolier says:

    In my experience the Saudi Blacks, probably part Arab were not treated very well and always seemed to have servile jobs. They tried to deal with Bandar by sending him out of the country for education, flying training, diplomatic work, etc. In the end he came back, though pl

  24. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to Will 07 August 2016 at 06:53 PM
    I did most of my growing up in two Arab countries, Lebanon and Iraq, to call the endemic, vicious, and savage racism that I saw there “rampant” is to severely understate the case.
    What “contrary currents”? Are you really trying to pretend that wikipedia entries dealing with two people who died in 640AD and 608 AD respectively constitute evidence for “contrary currents” to the endemic racism of modern middle eastern societies – in particular the Arabic ones?
    Really? That’s your “evidence” – Two wikipedia articles dealing with people who died more than one thousand four hundred years ago? Well to quote Groucho Marx “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”
    Short answer: “not you.”

  25. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to turcopolier 07 August 2016 at 11:49 PM
    I saw the same in Basrah.

  26. Tyler says:

    Funny how (((American slavery))) gets all the press in the Narrative while Arab slavery and the castration and torture of their slaves is given short shrift.

  27. Tyler says:

    I notice the Fifth Columnists are notably silent around here, probably because their girl is getting millions from the Saudis.

  28. Amir says:

    They are denigrated as “Zengi”

  29. jonst says:

    He won’t play a woman. That is passe…he will play the role as an entire new gender.

  30. Allen Thomson says:

    “Other folks” would include the actual State people, plus those in the CIA Station.

  31. turcopolier says:

    Allen Thomson
    Yes, well, I was head of the attaché system world wide for a couple of years. I have seen some “bad” attaches but in general the services are very careful in picking people to nominate to DIA for these jobs. This results in a lot of very capable officers on station. Some of them do this several times as reputations spread among career ambassadors and by name requests ensue. The CIA generally regards good military attaches as their greatest rivals in the field and act accordingly and wasting time conducting turf. wars. pl

  32. MartinJ says:

    Spot on in regards to Yemeni culture and their views towards each other. I think anyone with a bit of money can make one half of the country fight the other half. My view is that the Saudis know this too but what they don’t know is how to deal with the political fallout.
    I don’t believe the Saudis actually want to win the war. They are afraid of the Huthis coming any further into Saudi territory than they are already. In their minds they wish the Huthis would drop Iran as a sponsor and accept Saudi cash in return. I believe the reason they want to employ Senegalese is that they know they won’t actually fight but they can be seen to be doing something. It is clear by this stage that they don’t want the collection of local resistance, Islah Party, salafi jihadis et al to beat the Huthis in Taiz. This is because they would further break Yemen and further “own” the resultant mess. They can’t handle the mess. Better they pretend they’re doing something for those Yemenis opposed to the Huthis and to those Saudis who believe in the war, than actually manage a political and developmental problem that is utterly beyond their ken to do so.
    At some point the Saudis will probably figure out a deal with Ali Abdallah Saleh and the Huthis. Then they can withdraw their vassal “army” and declare victory for their clueless people in Riyadh and Jeddah. I suppose this will neatly coincide with their vastly more public defeat in Syria.

  33. jonst says:

    Off topic, forgive me, but anybody reading the Mirror Test by J K Weston? Interesting book.

  34. Babak Makkinejad says:

    From the famous trade interpot on the Islands of Zang-bar; where slaves were shipped to the Middle East through Oman.

  35. Chris Chuba says:

    If the girl in question is HRC the recent story about the nuclear engineer who was recently executed in Iran is dynamite. She is still maintaining that she never sent or received classified material in her emails yet she referred to this unfortunate in a coded nickname. There is no way that she would use a coded name for an operative without knowing that the content of the email was classified in nature. She really is a vile creature. It’s not just that she lies, but she lies to protect herself. I wouldn’t put it past her to use our military to try to enhance or protect her reputation. CNN is already running interference for her.

  36. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think there are multiple reasons that Slavery in US gets particular attention. I think foremost among them is that the entire notion of Slavery is in contradiction with the ideas and practices of the English Common Law in which the ideal of Freedom is so entrenched as to be its foundation.
    Secondarily, I think, it is because Slavery in US was being practiced after the American Revolution with all of its fine remarks about the Rights of Man etc.
    Thirdly, I think, Slavery in US (as well as in Brazil) was confined to a single race of sub-Saharan Africans. The Near East slaves were from many different places: sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia, China, Russian Steppe, India, etc.
    Fourthly, the Slaves in the Near East did not create a Diaspora, unlike the African Diaspora in US (and in Brazil). Slaves became extinct in the Near East, leaving behind cultural residues but not much else.

  37. Edward says:

    The Saudis aren’t useless when it comes to stuffing money in our politician’s pockets. Where is ABSCAM when you need it? I would nominate Israel and maybe Ukraine as other worthless allies.

  38. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Even earlier, when the Sassanid Emperor sent an expeditionary force to restore Yemen to its rightful sovereign.

  39. Abu Sinan says:

    “In their minds they wish the Huthis would drop Iran as a sponsor and accept Saudi cash in return.” A couple of things are wrong with this statement. First, no one who is well versed in Yemeni history and politics who is a neutral player buys the concept of Iran being anything close to a “sponser” to the Houthis. Have they provided some limited support in the way of small weapons, cash and the like? Sure, but this hardly makes them anything of a sponsor. If you want to see what that would look like were the Iranians to seriously sponsor the Houthis one need look no further than Lebanon and Hizb’Allah. If Iran were seriously wanting to support the Houthis, a hundred or so MANPADS would put an end to the conflict tomorrow. A half dozen or so Saudi jets falling out of the air at the stinging end of a Houthi MANPAD would be game, set, match in favour of the Houthis. The last six months I have met with multiple members of Congress, Senators and members of the House, and none of them seriously buy the idea of Iran being a sponsor of the Houthis nor the stated reasoning of the war as one being a need for the Saudis to make a stand against the Iranians in a proxy war. In the meeting we had with the Yemen desk at the State Department I got the same impression. It would be safe to say that the Saudis have spent more in PR in the US in the last year than the Iranians have spent in supporting the Houthis in an all out war against its neighbor during the same period of time.
    As for accepting Saudi cash, this comment disregards the raison d’être of the Houthis in the first place. The Houthis grew out of the Zaydi revivalist movement in the 1990s. The Zaydi revivalist movement started in reaction to the increasing importation of Saudi extremism into Yemen. The Saudis exported hundreds of millions of dollars of support for Salafiyah/extremist forces into Yemen. They supported extremist preachers and flooded the country with extremist propaganda as well as setting up schools and mosques that supported this ideology. One of these schools was in Dammaj, in the heartland of the Zaydi community in Yemen. This school was well known for its extremists and itself exported numerous terrorists to the global jihadi movement. When the school started buying up light and heavy weapons, the Houthis put an end to the school.
    The fight between the Houthis and the Saudis goes far deeper than money. The feeling amoungst the Houthis and their supporters is that the Saudi fully intend to make the Zaydi community extinct in Yemen, that the goal of the war itself is to remove the pluralistic nature of Yemeni society itself. For the Houthis and their supporters the conflict with the Saudis is existential. So there will be no peace made with Saudi based on money. The Houthis will not accept anything other than a role for themselves in the governance of Yemen and a role in its future. Saudi must realise that it can no longer dictate the politics and the day to day lives of their neighbors.
    The Saudis cannot win this war. They thought it would last a few weeks, a statement they made themselves. Now we are at 500+ days of war and not only are the Saudis not winning, the war is bankrupting them and hundreds of kilometres of Saudi land is now occupied and tens of thousands of Saudis have been forced to flee their border homes because of the conflict that the Saudis launched.

  40. Babak Makkinejad says:

    That is what Pakistanis told me who lived in Dubai for any length of time; “Arabs are racists.”

  41. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to Babak Makkinejad 08 August 2016 at 12:32 PM
    Unfortunately your Pakistani informants are entirely correct. Anything other than a fairly tall and fairly fair-skinned arab is considered to be an inferior being. A “wogs r’nt us” mentality.

  42. Linda Lau says:

    I would add that in addition to being a the son of a slave woman. He did wield considerable power when he was ambassador in Washington. Also did a great deal to bankroll the Republicans.

  43. turcopolier says:

    Linda Lau
    Yes. I spent a lot of time with him then. He had a great time laughing at the Borgists here until a plain text intercept of him talking to his father revealed how much he was laughing at the gullibility of Americans officials. pl

  44. Tunde says:

    First Colombians now Senegalese ?
    (Yes, THAT Mike Hindmarsh :
    The Saudis picked the wrong Africans. They’d have been better recruiting Chadians. Far more rugged fighters whom likely require less money (although not as numerous to pick from). They’re also battle hardened from Mali and within their own country in battling insurgents.
    Saudis seem to like blacks, (sounds much better said in a saffer accent said as “blicks”), bent over…….maybe it’s a class thing.
    Several African nations were part of the Saudi anti-IS effort without actually knowing they were. Perhaps the anti-IS front has expanded to being anti- Houthi ?

  45. The Beaver says:

    @ Babak
    Don’t have to go far to find that out. Just look at how the pilgrims are treated once they land in Jeddah for the Hajj ( it is getting worse as decades go by). The segregation starts there, unless one is a well off Muslim from the US/UK or a rich Gulfie.

  46. The Beaver says:

    @ Linda
    I guess the same can be said of the Chihuahua – a lot of power when he was the “bachelor” KSA Ambassador running around in DC after the replacement of Bandar couldn’t take it. Then he married a widowed Saudi woman (can’t confirm if she is from the Saud family one way or the other) and now he is the non-Royal FM managing the foreign policy of the King and his dauphin.

  47. alba etie says:

    Col Lang
    Samantha Powers

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