Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 29, 2019

Saudi Arabia - Another Defeat In Yemen - King's Bodyguard Killed

Something curious is happening in Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

For the second time in a month the Yemeni forces aligned with the Houthi surrounded and captured brigade size forces of Saudi soldiers and mercenaries. The Houthi media report that 2,400 fighters and several hundred vehicles were captured. The reports say that 500 Saudi soldiers were killed. This video shows the fighting. Another video shows several hundred prisoners being led away from the front. Here are additional pictures. Most of the prisoners seem to be poor men that the Saudis had hired. Only a few have complete uniforms. The events happened north of Kitaf near the Saudi Yemeni border and at least partially in the Najran region within Saudi Arabia. Here is a report of the previous operation. Overnight some ten short range ballistic missiles were launched from Yemen against the airport of Al Jadhea in Saudi Arabia.

The personal bodyguard of the Saudi King Salman has been killed. The official claim is that it was during a personal dispute. Conveniently the shooter is also dead. But there is more behind this:

Ali AlAhmed @AliAlAhmed_en - 2:47 UTC · Sep 29, 2019
I can now confirm the death of personal guard of #Saudi @KingSalman General Abdulaziz AlFaghem by gunfire. He is seen here with the king. He was dismissed from his post just days ago which makes his death extremely suspicious. Working on details.


AlFegham was seen few days ago walking alone #Jeddah corniche which is not constant with his job. He doesn’t ever leave the side of the king & sleeps at the palace after the king goes to bed.

I can with high certainty say that AlFegham was dismissed this month by #MBS. Details will be coming when sources are able to find info & transmit

Update: #Saudi king palace in #Jeddah is high alert & on lockdown. I know that palace & have reviewed its plans & photos from inside & had sources there since 2005 until recently. Also royal court #Riyadh is on lockdown.

AlFaghem had many secrets & had served since as personal guard of King Abduulah - from 2002- as far as we can confirm. This made him a threat to #MBS given he supervised palace guards who killed #JamalKhashoggi

I can say now, it was a political murder. The report will come out Sunday with details.

There is currently a huge fire in Jeddah near the train station which may be related to the events above.

After the attack on the oil installation the Houthi had offered a ceasefire. But Saudis only wanted a 'partial' one which the Houthi rejected.

Clown prince Mohamed bin Salman may have removed his father's bodyguard to make it easier for himself to take the throne. The recent Yemeni attack on Saudi oil installation and the defeat of at lest two brigades of Saudi troops must put a lot of pressure of him. MbS is the Defense Minister. He started the war on Yemen. He must fear for his job and position. With the king removed he would become unassailable.

Posted by b on September 29, 2019 at 15:04 UTC | Permalink

next page »

This is interesting.
MBS was clearly ascendant, but it wasn't clear to me that he had actually fully taken over all reins of power.
Ascendance to the throne is even more of an issue - aren't there like 1000 princes who are also technically eligible? Much less the other 2 scions, who must head huge factions, who would not lightly accept a new King?
They may not be in the other major positions of power, but they're still alive, AFAIK.

Posted by: c1ue | Sep 29 2019 15:20 utc | 1

Those are the 'Saudi forces'? What a sorry looking bunch. Got to wonder what happened to all the highly trained troops with the expensive modern weapons.

Posted by: dh | Sep 29 2019 15:25 utc | 2

Saudi soldiers in civvies! Wow, as b indicates that's not an army, that's a band of hirees.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 29 2019 15:28 utc | 3

I think MbS is making his move, recent events by making evident his incompetence have forced his hand. He killed the bodyguard in Jeddah, the train in Jeddah is unfortunately due to a big fire not running. Keep an eye on Jeddah.

Posted by: Bemildred | Sep 29 2019 15:37 utc | 4

@Bemildred #4
Getting the throne vacated is one thing - the bodyguard could be a sign of that.
Being able to occupy it, however, without uniting all the other factions against you, that's a very different matter.
It means MBS has truly taken over the whole country, lock stock and barrel.

Posted by: c1ue | Sep 29 2019 15:42 utc | 5

Traditionally power in many Asian nations was divided into five groups (normally #1 was the emperor followed by the state prime minister, the army and the emperor's body guards). If this tradition applies to the Saudis the fact of the kings body guard being killed is highly significant. I recall that it was considered highly significant when the US installed Karsai as the emperor of Afghanistan in 2002 that his personal body guards were US special forces letting the whole world know who ran the country.

Posted by: ToivoS | Sep 29 2019 15:52 utc | 7

c1ue @5: He might well fail again, that's his form, I'd say that's the way to bet.

This might be a swell time for the Houthis to jump in his shit some more too ...

Interesting times. I've been waiting for Saudi Barbaria to implode for about fifteen years now, perhaps the time has come.

Posted by: Bemildred | Sep 29 2019 15:53 utc | 8

Jimmy Dore had on John Kiriakou a true CIA whistleblower (disclosed the torture programs by Bush) on a live show yesterday ( look for the interview being posted ). John mentioned that he was shocked to learn in his work in Saudi Arabia that it was the Pakistanis that were hired to do the work in their military and that the Saudis were the high level officers.

Posted by: Stever | Sep 29 2019 16:13 utc | 9

Thanks for the new postings b

It recently came to me that the situation in SA is a test of the Might-Makes-Right meme which is failing in the bigger world because MAD.

I am doubtful that the Clown Prince can continue to be the new ruler of that country because Might-Makes-Right just doesn't work anymore like it use to.

A report I read yesterday said that the prisoners would be paraded before the Yemen TV today and I would appreciate links to that when available....TIA

Posted by: psychohistorian | Sep 29 2019 16:26 utc | 10

ToivoS @7: It's funny you bring that up, the "saudi whistleblower" link I posted there says:

"He had cautioned al-Fagham that bin Salman would one day take him and his team out to replace them a group of Colombian Blackwater agents."

And I've been wondering for some time if we were going to take direct control over SA, at this point it may be a matter of staving off collapse.

Posted by: Bemildred | Sep 29 2019 16:28 utc | 11

thanks b... this clown mbs needs to come down and come down soon... the guy is a one man wrecking crew on ksa...on 2nd thought, maybe he ought to stick around!

Posted by: james | Sep 29 2019 16:31 utc | 12

kudos to the houthis!!! i am rooting for those yemeni folk.. they act like real men, not like this mbs monkey man...

Posted by: james | Sep 29 2019 16:34 utc | 13

Wouldn't the Clown Prince have to kill his father to have him removed? Why in the hell King Salman ever appointed the psychopathic clown Prince is beyond me. Even if MBS is defacto ruler, he would still need to concern himself with being overthrown.. Maybe by the Houthis and their "friends" inside the Kingdom. The Houthis will continue their attacks on Saudi Arabia unless and until the Clown Prince stops the war. The longer he continues his assault on Yemen the more likely an overthrow of the Clown Prince, in my opinion.

Posted by: Annie | Sep 29 2019 16:48 utc | 14

A couple of questions for 'b' or anyone here.

Was al Faghem originally from Jeddah? Or elsewhere in the Hejaz? Is he a foreigner? I thought the Saudi Royal Guard Regiment had to all be Nejdis? Is there a town or village in Arabia named Faghem?

Posted by: mike | Sep 29 2019 16:52 utc | 15

@mike - I don't know

The fire in Jeddah is the roof of the railway stations. It seems to made of alubond or some similar isolation structure that includes flammable foam.

Posted by: b | Sep 29 2019 16:57 utc | 16

Based on what little info is available, there are many Saudi royal palaces in Riyadh, also some in Jeddah. I understand that the Crown Prince lives in Jeddah, and apparently the King was there as that is where the bodyguard was killed (according to a "Mecca Police Spokesman!"). The royal court is in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital and main financial hub. . . It's amazing that this country works at all.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 29 2019 16:57 utc | 17

That Jeddah train station is the hub for bin-Salman's new $7+ billion high speed rail (300kmh) from Jeddah to Mecca and Medina. Its destruction is going to be some bad juju for bin-Salman. The king needs to put him in his place before some of the other 1000+ princes react violently.

Posted by: mike | Sep 29 2019 16:58 utc | 18

If MBS becomes king, there will always be an obvious way to remove him. This wouldn't be the first coup in Saudi history. Of course, this is a more radical approach than what could be done now.

Concerning the bodyguard, any chance this is MBS' way of cleaning his tracks so that he can't be targetted if the US or Turkey decides to push further Kashoggi's investigations and court cases?

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Sep 29 2019 17:12 utc | 19

Traditionally power in many Asian nations was divided into five groups (normally #1 was the emperor followed by the state prime minister, the army and the emperor's body guards).

Posted by: ToivoS | Sep 29 2019 15:52 utc | 7

??? Five groups? Emperor being "a group"? Link, a horse for a link!

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 29 2019 17:21 utc | 20

BBC is now saying:
"Houthi rebels video fails to prove Saudi troop capture claim"

. . .and Juan Cole on Najran:

As Human Rights Watch noted, Najran province, like the Eastern Province, has a Shiite majority, but these are Ismaili Shiites. Of the province’s some 600,000 inhabitants, perhaps 400,000 are Ismailis. They had been relatively loyal to Saudi Arabia and had fought the Houthis, despite Saudi Wahhabi animus against Shiites. I’m just wondering, though, if the long Yemen war on their doorstep has disillusioned them. It is just speculation, but I’m thinking the Houthis couldn’t have infiltrated Najran unless the locals had averted their eyes. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 29 2019 17:27 utc | 21

the defeat of at lest two brigades of Saudi troops

Both Tasnim News and PressTV claim three brigades (just in this latest incident), and that it involved major battles inside Saudi

Saudis Paralyzed in Yemen: IRGC General

Posted by: BM | Sep 29 2019 17:32 utc | 22

Clown prince Mohamed bin Salman may have removed his fathers bodyguard to make it easier for himself to take the throne.

My guess is that there would be quite a few fireworks if that were to happen, including some from the US military. It would be very easy for MbS to kill his father, especially now that the bodyguard is out of the way (new bodyguard might be MbS stooge). Becoming King though is another matter.

He could jump onto the throne and say "I am King", but if everybody else is unanimous in disagreeing, does he have enough loyal henchmen to control the entire country? I doubt it. On the other hand going through accepted protocol for the appointment of a new king I think he'd face a lot of insurmaountable obstacles - particularly after the Yemen war, the Houthi attack on Aramco, and now two or three Saudi brigades destroyed, partially at least inside Saudi territory.

The US (apart from the President) and especially the CIA are strongly against MbS (hence the big saga over the Khashoggi case, which MbS had not expected). The US has almost certainly tried to remove MbS before, and the last thing they want is MbS as King - they want one of their trained stooges as King, such as MbS's cousin. Therefore I think there is a very good chance the US military would carry out a coup to kill and oust MbS and install their guy.

For those who might be gleefully thinking that Saudi will now collapse, be careful what you wish. If MbS remains as crown prince and the current king remains alive, that might happen, but if the US takes over Saudi (perhaps with the claim that King Salman requested US military action in the event of his sudden death, or something like that), the political stability of Saudi would probably be restored for the long term. (There again, the US seems to fail in everything they try and do these days, so who knows!)

Posted by: BM | Sep 29 2019 17:57 utc | 23

Some will recall about ten days ago I posted a link to the source of a revelation about an exiled al-Saud prince announcing the formation of a group whose aim is to form a Constitutional Monarchy in Saudi. Since then, I've read nothing. But if ever there was a foreshadowing of a group the CIA would use to effect a coup within Saudi, that would be an excellent example. Also, there's word coming from Saudi's Eastern regions about a new round of anti-Shia oppression. It doesn't take too much imagination to see how a RTP the oil operation might be waged by TrumpCo now that the invasion forces are arriving--invited by the soon to be victim. If MbS thinks his acquaintance with Trump is enough to save him, he'd better think again. The Outlaw US Empire has killed millions to control oil and it won't shirk a second at MbS's status.

With their trove of vehicles, maybe the Houthi will now embark on a mobile operation to capture more Saudi territory and prisoners. Now that the UNGA is over and Saudi has most certainly spurned the offer of negotiations for the world to see, IMO the Houthi will resume their assault on Saudi infrastructure as there're so many soft targets just waiting to be crippled.

Someone mentioned al-Ciada and Daesh presence within Yemen. Wouldn't those be considered Outlaw US Empire assets; are they independent; or are they under Saudi or UAE control or? Any map of Yemen shows those forces controlling a vast area.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 29 2019 18:05 utc | 24

Annie @14

Perhaps the reason MbS is in charge is because King Salman is senile and MbS was able to maneuver the old man into naming him the successor.

There has been no news (nothing surprising in this) on either the BBC World Service or NPR about the latest Houthi attacks on the "Saudi" army. The latter state funded propaganda medium is chock-a-block with repetition on the impeachment/whistleblowing (gossip blowing as Caitlin Johnstone has written), including a longish piece about whistleblowers and their fate, depending upon the admin. Not that Obama's draconian use of the Espionage Act against Chelsea Manning, for instance, was mentioned. Indeed, Ms Manning and her continued imprisonment at $1,000/day fine for not grassing on Julian Assange, nor her name even, was breathed out loud.

As for the killing/death of this General/bodyguard... mentioned only in passing in the news reports. Not as ghastly as the chopping up of Khashoggi therefore not as sensational, I suppose.

Posted by: AnneR | Sep 29 2019 18:11 utc | 25

Mohamed al-Bukhaiti, a member of the political bureau of Ansarullah notes that the Saudi brigades were mostly made up of Takfiri and extremist fighters.

Posted by: brian_k | Sep 29 2019 18:24 utc | 26

Just a heads-up about the Yemeni cruise missile that took part in the devastating airstrikes on the Aramco facility...

I have posted a comprehensive technical analysis of the range of this missile on my blog...

Contrary to claims by fake 'experts in the media, this missile has a range of about 1,400 km...easily able to strike the Aramco facilities, which are only about 1,100 km from Houthi-controlled territory...

Noted MIT physicist Ted Postol has reviewed my analysis and provided some input...

Notably, the Pentagon has NOT accused Iran of the strike and is keeping quiet, knowing full well that the Quds cruise missile came from Houthi territory...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Sep 29 2019 18:27 utc | 27

“Barbara Ann said...
Rumors of an assassination attempt on MbS by his senior bodyguard in the Royal Palace:
Major General #Abdulaziz Al-Fagham the bodyguard of Salman bin Abdulaziz was killed after an attempt to assassinate the king inside his palace by a family member whose name has not yet been given to us.”

This make more sense than all other explanations I read so far this morning

Posted by: Kooshy | Sep 29 2019 18:48 utc | 28

@29 kooshy.. why does that make more sense?? i don't see it...

Posted by: james | Sep 29 2019 18:58 utc | 29

From the pictures, it appears they are being torched. Probably would just be targets otherwise.

Posted by: John Merryman | Sep 29 2019 19:07 utc | 30

Posted by: Fixer | Sep 29 2019 18:40 utc | 28

How about this?

Also known as the White Army, the Saudi Arabian National Guard comprises about 130,000 troops and acts as an internal security force separate from the regular Saudi army. Drawn from tribes loyal to the ruling Saud clan, the SANG’s essential task is to protect the royal family from a coup.

The Sangcom project, alongside Britain’s long-standing military training of the SANG, clearly implicates the UK in the defence of the House of Saud, along with the US, which is also training and arming it.

The SANG has also been involved in the Saudi-led war in Yemen, which has created the world’s largest humanitarian disaster, with 24 million people —‬ nearly 80% of the population —‬ needing assistance and protection.

In April 2015, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman ordered the SANG to join the Yemen campaign, which until then had been the preserve of the Saudi air force and the regular army. In 2018, a classified French intelligence report noted that two SANG brigades —‬ about 25,000 men —‬ were deployed along the border with Yemen. Major General Frank Muth of the US military also revealed that a SANG brigade, returning from fighting at the border with Yemen, had 19 of its light armoured vehicles “shot up pretty badly”.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 29 2019 19:11 utc | 31

The king’ bodyguard was killed in palace doing his job defending the king in-line of fire, apparently an assassination attempt by a member of family (but not necessarily on behalf of MBS), but by members of family who want to dethrone the Salmans? I think we will know more as leaks start coming in. IMO MBS at this point with all shit he has piled up is internally and externally weaker than attempting to kill his father and installing himself king. He will have hard time getting international recognition, and will be illegitimate inside Saudi royals.

Posted by: Kooshy | Sep 29 2019 19:15 utc | 32

More from Britain

Please use the sharing tools found via the share button at the top or side of articles. Copying articles to share with others is a breach of T&Cs and Copyright Policy. Email [email protected] to buy additional rights. Subscribers may share up to 10 or 20 articles per month using the gift article service. More information can be found at

Aramco is the world’s most profitable company and a well-run organisation. There should be plentiful demand for its shares — at the right price. But putting pressure on wealthy Saudis to buy into the listing raises the spectre of market manipulation. It threatens the integrity of what may be the world’s largest IPO before it has even begun.

Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul exchange was this year included in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index. That means passive institutional funds will have little option but to buy the stock. But active investors will have a choice, and should be extremely wary of any signs of price inflation. Prince Mohammed’s brash decisions have already damaged the economy he promises to reform. Even absolute monarchies should know they have no right to abuse the markets. They do so at their peril.

The last sentence is ominous.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 29 2019 19:19 utc | 33

@32 kooshy... i agree with you about mbs being weaker here.. knocking off the king isn't going to change any of that.. maybe some other party is vying for power, which is what it sounds like you are saying... thanks.

Posted by: james | Sep 29 2019 19:24 utc | 34

James, I think for now daddy king at lest being a legitimate king in eye of his supporters and royals is a good cover to protect MBS and his pile of his own shit he has on his face. That’s why other explanations didn’t make senses to me.

Posted by: Kooshy | Sep 29 2019 19:43 utc | 35


Many thanks for your analysis of the Yemen drone. I hope it gets traction among the western states so that a war with Iran can be avoided. I can only HOPE the the Iran initiative pays off.

Posted by: Krollchem | Sep 29 2019 20:01 utc | 37

This seems likely

The actual statement accused the Saudis of using Saudi-sponsored Yemeni militiamen loyal to Yemen’s former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. “Hundreds more were killed and wounded.” Hadi fled Yemen in 2015 during the Houthi rebel advance on Aden.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 29 2019 20:01 utc | 38

@ james #34

"maybe some other party is vying for power, which is what it sounds like you are saying..."

Might this 'other party' be the folks karlof1 alludes to above?

Posted by: aye, myself & me | Sep 29 2019 20:05 utc | 39

re: 'other party' -- could be Qatar, with its anti-KSA/UAE, pro-Iran gov't

from Egypt, 2017
Qatar has been financing and backing Houthi militias to topple the government in Yemen and in favor of Iran. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 29 2019 20:45 utc | 40

Thanks Kroll...

It's all part of the effort to bring out the truth and try to stop the warmongers and their lies.

Innocent lives are always at stake in these lying games from the warmongers and their squawkboxes in the media.

Iran almost certainly did provide knowledge and technical assistance,and justifiably so, but the idea that the strikes came from Iran is a total lie.

Posted by: flankerbandit | Sep 29 2019 20:59 utc | 41

karlof1 24

A couple of thoughts. Khashoggi was pushing the constitutional monarchy. Trump shielded MBS from the US fallout. MBS seems to be Trump's man and the CIS deep state backing the constitutional monarchists. Then the added complication that Trump most likely hashis eyes on Saudi oil as the end prize. Makes for a good who dunit.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 29 2019 21:02 utc | 42

somebody 33

Eastern lion twitter account from China was one of the earliest to have a number of vids and pcs of the recent Houthi victory. When I scrolled down through the account, a run onto this tweet from the 23rd

Eastern Lion 东方军事爱好者 🇨🇳 🇸🇾 🇾🇪 🇮🇷 🇷🇺
Sep 23
They have contacted the intelligence of Yemeni army in advance and led thousands of Saudi mercenaries into besiege.

I could find nothing more about this tweet, where the information came from or why.
One of the houthi videos show a very long column of mostly armoured personnel carries, pulled up and giving up virtually without a fight to very lightly armed fighters. None seemed to be carrying RPG's ect which I expected to see a lot of.

Saudi's involved in a palace coup may well have been working with the Houthi.
US deep state backing constitutional monarchists... Congress some time ago, fallout of the Khashoggi killing, passed a resolution to end US participation in Yemen war, vetoed by Trump who is backing MBS.....

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 29 2019 21:19 utc | 43

The tweet I posted in my previous comment "They have contacted the intelligence of Yemeni army in advance and led thousands of Saudi mercenaries into besiege."

Who is "They"... This was a very odd tweet, no explanations of where it come from, or who is "they".
Justa comment dumped there looking like a black sheep amongst the others of the what is now normal day to day stuff from Yemen and Syria.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 29 2019 21:31 utc | 44

karlof1 Typo in my post @42 'CIS'.. CIA.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 29 2019 21:40 utc | 45

b: For the second time in a month. . .
This article apparently refers to one of them.

MEI, Sep 3
'I curse myself': Yemeni mercenaries say their Saudi fighting days are over
The war took their jobs from them, so they fought for the Saudis. Now Yemen's mercenaries have had enough. . .Last week, Anees said, the leaders of his brigade called on their fighters to march on the Jabara Valley, an area in the Ketaf district of Saada province. “We know this valley is under Houthi control and that the Houthis were also positioned behind us in Najran,” Anees said. . . .More than 1,000 Yemeni fighters advanced to the valley, which was empty when they arrived, Anees said. They then marched about 1.5km around the valley and still, he said, there were no Houthis in sight. But it was a trap. “Suddenly, the Houthis started to attack us from the mountains. We tried to withdraw but there were no Salafi fighters backing us up and only the Houthis besieging us from all directions,” he said.

Anees said the siege started on Monday and lasted until Thursday, without any intervention from Saudi Arabia or the Salafis. Eventually, some of the fighters broke through and fled. “We were about to die from hunger. We had run out of food. The Saudis and the Salafis did not break the siege on us, so we fought and pushed towards Najran and only few were escaped including me,” Anees said. . . .He was among fewer than 100 fighters who escaped the battle, while more than 1,000 were either killed or captured, he said. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 29 2019 21:43 utc | 46

Appreciate your input on the Quds 1. Your ballpark calculations in one of the earlier threads were helpful in looking at who a how the strike was pulled off.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 29 2019 21:46 utc | 47

- MbS already no longer sleeps in his own palace but on ayacht instead. Too much (dangerous) enemies that want him dead.

Posted by: Willy2 | Sep 29 2019 21:47 utc | 48

@44 Peter AU 1

Keen to hear how you are interpreting this tweet and the context. The general ambience seems to be preparations for regime change in KSA. Two outcomes: normalization of relations with Iran and pacification of Arabian oil fields (incl. Aramco IPO). But the narrative suggested here makes Trump a fly in the ointment with his support for MbS. Are we to imagine all this as a reflex of internal US politics, with the Dems + CIA beltway establishment attempting to convert KSA into a liberal democratic client but opposed by Trump (who is, after all, MbS' twin in the White House)? We could read impeachment against this backdrop. I guess the Aramco IPO would be a GoldmanSachs wet dream if only the region would calm the hell down. It makes sense then if "they" are the CIA.

Posted by: Patroklos | Sep 29 2019 21:48 utc | 49

My crystal ball seems to show Houthis in Riyadh, Mecca, and Medina. Sounds crazy, I know. But the House of Saud is thoroughly corrupt top to bottom, their officer corps is incompetent, their "army" is apparently poorly trained and equipped in the field, and probably poorly paid as well.

I speculate that most of the Saudi army exists only on paper, with officers collecting the pay of non-existent infantry and passing appropriate kickbacks all the way up the chain of command. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Saudi soldiers and officers are selling weapons to the Houthi as well.

It reminds me of the situation in South Vietnam just before the North completely overran Saigon and drove out Uncle Sam. The war seemed to be going on and on, until suddenly it wasn't, and the Saigon regime collapsed overnight.

Greta should be careful what she and her friends wish for. "The West's" access to Saudi oil could end much sooner than she expects, unless Uncle Sam dumps the House of Saud and makes nice with the Houthi (assuming they are even interested). Who would shed tears for the House of Saud? My impression is that many of the world's Muslims do not care for Saudi Barbaria's stewardship of Islam's holiest sites, in addition to their many crimes.

Imagine the wailing and gnashing of teeth if "we" "lost" Saudi Arabia to China! Certainly they would be more reliable partners than Uncle Sam and vassals.

Posted by: Trailer Trash | Sep 29 2019 21:50 utc | 50

@ Willy2 48
I'd feel much more secure in a palace than on a yacht, but that's just me.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 29 2019 21:55 utc | 51

The fight for power in Saudi Arabia's beginning tolook like a proxy war by the factions fighting for power in the US.

Don Bacon
The piece you linked to helps give some answers as to who "They" are. The leaders of the mercenary brigades, but also the airforce which targeted the mercenaries.
Looks like much of Saudi military leadership involved.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 29 2019 21:58 utc | 52

Peter AU 1 @42,43 & 44--

Yes, lots of intrigue. This tweet feeds into your turncoat possibility:

"The enemy intended to bomb its forces after they surrendered to Ansar Allah. We reassure the captive families that we will protect the captives from the strikes of #Saudi warplanes."

More meat to chew! That IWN Twitter page has lots of pics, a few vids, and a map of the operation which seems only 2/3s complete. Houthi Media tweet saying the same as above:

"Worse than ignoring prisoners and dead, the enemy deliberately targeting and killing its prisoners so that the disaster of surrender does not occur."

The prose indicates Saudis did bomb their own soldiers!

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 29 2019 22:02 utc | 53

Trailer Trash 50

Houthi do well in the mountains a light, non mechanised, man portable force. They move out in to the open desert and air power will clean them up.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 29 2019 22:05 utc | 54

Thanks Peter...glad to know my input is of some use here.

Posted by: flankerbandit | Sep 29 2019 22:08 utc | 55

"Operation Nasrallah" is the code name for the Houthi offensive:

"Documents found in the positions of mercenaries of aggression after Operation Nasrallah from Allah show the association of mercenaries of the so-called Fatah Brigade with the organization of the so-called Al-Qaeda."

Lots of additional tweets on that twitter page about Yemen, Syria, and elsewhere.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 29 2019 22:15 utc | 56

Curious that twice in a calendar month the combined Houthi / Yemeni armed forces have been able to capture thousands of Saudi soldiers (2,400 soldiers the second time, if the Houthi media are reporting accurately) and stacks of materiel. That surely suggests morale and discipline are low in the Saudi army. I daresay entire brigades in the Saudi army might have actually defected to the opposing side. Saying instead that these brigades "were captured" gives the Houthi / Yemeni side a psychological boost, in much the same way that the US denying that the Houthis were able to infiltrate the Aramco facilities at Abqaiq and blaming the attack instead on Iran boosts US psychological morale, because the US cannot bring itself to admit that its expensive defence systems at the Abqaiq facilities were incapable of intercepting and destroying drone missiles made from cheap scrap metal.

Of course when we see photos and videos of Saudi soldiers in incomplete uniforms and who appear to be poor men, we don't wonder that their morale is so poor. Perhaps the Saudis also consider them expendable and they may be from areas where the people have long been hostile to KSA rule because Riyadh has treated them badly and denied them a share in its wealth. They may have been drafted into the army as cannon fodder to be got rid of.

This raises the question of where all those armaments that the US, the British and other European nations have been selling to the Saudis for decades go to: a lot obviously has been going to ISIS in Syria and other parts of the Middle East / North Africa region but who knows where else the Saudis have been selling or sending the stuff to?

Posted by: Jen | Sep 29 2019 22:24 utc | 57


Why the Saudi's were bombing their own mercs is a question that may have to be left open for a bit.
The Saudi leaders of the merc brigades deliberately sent their men into a trap.
Is the airforce with or against the army... were they were acting with the army leadership who sent the mercs into the trap... there was no air support or any other support for the days the brigades were under siege.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 29 2019 22:37 utc | 58

Peter AU 1 @ 55:

If the Houthis can reach Abqaiq with drones, they can reach Jeddah and Mecca at least with drones as well. Those two cities are not much farther away from the Yemeni border (1,180 and 1,120 km respectively) than Abqaiq (1,160 km) is. Medina (1,365 km from Yemen) is more of a stretch but the capture of Mecca by the Houthis would be far more devastating for the Saudis because of Mecca's importance in Islam as the site of the founding of Islam and the focus of the Hajj pilgrimage.

The Houthis probably don't really need to send ground troops if they can threaten Mecca with drones. The Saudis might well be forced to send foreign troops to defend the holy sites in Mecca but this would demonstrate that they can no longer claim to be the custodians of the holy sites and consequently cannot call themselves the Caliphate of Islam.

Posted by: Jen | Sep 29 2019 22:38 utc | 59

And the Saudi king is the guardian of these sites.
Looking at google earth, a chain of mountains or hills run right up the west coast of Saudi Arabia.
Much more plausible than heading across the open desert towards Riyadh and the oil fields.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 29 2019 22:45 utc | 60

More photos and videos here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 29 2019 22:57 utc | 61

Iran has been voicing a lot of complaints about the Saudi's as guardians of the holy sites.
A lot of Iranians disappeared there a few years back. The holy sites may well be an important objective for the muslim alliance centered on Iran.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 29 2019 23:02 utc | 62

I think the most likely reason the "Saudi" (let's be honest here, probably US, France & UK pilots) airforce bombed the surrendering troops is that these aren't real soldiers, these a bunch of starving/desperate Yemenis militiamen who signed up with the Saudis for a meal and some cash. This is not the first time the Saudi airforce has bombed their own troops on purpose, so I suspect these "troops" weren't considered loyal in the first place and were hired mostly to guard places that weren't supposed to be attacked, thereby freeing up the real mercenaries for combat operations. Once they were captured the Saudi's probably assumed that many if not all of these troops would defect to the Houthis, so they massacred them before they could.

I think I'm curious about is the Houthis insistence that they caught several high level "foreign" officers, did they capture a Saudi General? The US, UK & France are all known to have special operation personnel working with the Saudi (including a UK based private security firm that effectively ran assassinations operations for the Saudis), were any of these troops caught by the Houthis?

Posted by: Kadath | Sep 29 2019 23:04 utc | 63

Posted by: AnneR | Sep 29 2019 18:11 utc | 25
Perhaps the reason MbS is in charge is because King Salman is senile and MbS was able to maneuver the old man into naming him the successor.

This point is obvious to myself since several years ago, when MBS and his father came in Moscow to sign the S-400 missile purchase .
The Ruptly tube channel made a quite long video of the event, which went in a meeting room of the Kremlin Palace. The king had all the small cues of age-related demencia. Furthermore, at some time during the discussion around the table, while the King and his son had just exchanged a few words, Putin and Medvedev made a silent eye-communication for one second ; their faces looked like both of them had heard something so strange that they silently agreed to ignore it.

Posted by: Parisian Guy | Sep 29 2019 23:25 utc | 64

From the latest post by TTG at Pat Lang's site.

"As a result the Saudi forces surrendered en masse, abandoning armored vehicles and civilian type trucks stuffed full of weapons, supplies and ammunition. Many of the vehicles, including armored vehicles are in running condition and in the film one can see Yemeni soldiers mount the vehicles and drive them off Among these vehicles are fully tracked M-113 US made APCs that are carriers for radar trained air defense Gatling guns, These will be very useful in the future."

I guess the Saudi's had these down at yemen to protect their forces from drone and missile attack,
By why none at the major oil facilities, especialy after the first strike on the east west oil line.

And this..
"Some of the vehicles are marked in Arabic as belonging to the Saudi National Guard (SANG) and from their condition I suppose that these troops were from the Modernized SANG that the US has worked hard to train and equip for fifty years or more. The easy surrender of these beduins is very bad news for the Saudi monarchy."

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 29 2019 23:28 utc | 65

If the Houthis remove this scourge of evil from the Earth it will be one of the most incredible moments in recent history of the poorest human beings under going genocide and fighting it out to the death of the last person and actually overtaking one of the richest militaries in the World through sheer heart. If US troops end up intervening on behalf of Saudis and participating in the genocide I predict the end of US as we know it. I predict the same if we participate in invading Syria, Lebanon and Iran on behalf of Israel/Saudis.

Posted by: james | Sep 29 2019 23:58 utc | 66

Jen @60--

The last thing the Houthi or Iranians would do is bomb Mecca or Medina where the holy sites are as they require Ummah support, not condemnation.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 30 2019 0:04 utc | 67

Sounds like the behavior of Chiang Kai Shek's troops in the last months of the Chinese Civil War.

Posted by: lysias | Sep 30 2019 0:12 utc | 68

Cheers me up watching the houthi victories.
Watching the videos, the forces makeup is similar to earlier videos from Yemen. The odd military person with sniper rifle, guided missile ect, the bulk made upof tribal military armed with assault rifles.
I watch a video of them a couple of years back taking out armoured vehicles with assault and sniper rifles. From close range, they shot its eyes out (cameras and so force), then closed in and threw a bomb in it.
From the videos that have come out of this recent incident, very similar. A few guided missiles, a few sniper rifles, and then the tribal militias with assault rifles, very few if any RPG's to be seen.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 30 2019 0:24 utc | 69

General Abdulaziz AlFaghem was shot and killed 'by a friend' in a 'personal dispute' .... and Jamal Khashoggi 'has left the building'

why believe any narrative about anything coming out of 'official sources' in arabia?

I'd bet 10 to 1 that above speculation is on the right track. this has something to do with mbs, yemen and the recent attacks on the oil facilities, perhaps a purge or palace take over

Posted by: michaelj72 | Sep 30 2019 0:25 utc | 70

Perhaps the arranged massacre was payback for some collusion in the missile/drone attack? The US would do it (9/11).

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 30 2019 0:32 utc | 71

These guys do not look like mercenaries, they look like abandoned oil field workers who had their passports taken and cannot get home. Treated like dirt by the Saudis they are collected off the streets and thrown in battle very lightly trained and supported. Mercenaries are professional soldiers selling their combat skills.

These guys are cannon fodder. That is one way to clean up the streets.

Small wonder why they fire a few shots and drop their rifles and run away. Their mechanized training consists of park, reverse, neutral, and drive with an emphasis on reverse. What good is advance weaponry in their hands? Their only savior is the West when their back is up against the wall. You can rest assured that will happen when the time comes.

Posted by: dltravers | Sep 30 2019 0:35 utc | 72

@ Peter AU 1 63
Iran has been voicing a lot of complaints about the Saudi's as guardians of the holy sites.
>In 2016 the Iranian government banned its citizens from making the annual trip to Islam’s holiest city, a journey required at least once in a lifetime for all Muslims financially and physically capable of doing so. Then in 2017 Iran allowed it.
>Recently, some Islamic leaders have called for a boycott. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 30 2019 0:47 utc | 73

Saudi Arabia put a lot of names on the anti Yemen coalition list. Many agreed to their names being included but some did not.
How much support in the muslim world would Saudi arabia have if it were no longer custodians of the holy sites. My guess is very little. Saudi UAE proxies are fighting each other in Yemen. Quatar is now hostile to KSA.
I think taking the holy sites would leave KSA standing alone in the muslim world.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 30 2019 0:52 utc | 74

I didn't know the Saudi "royalty" had so many palaces. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 30 2019 0:53 utc | 75

i agree with you on all points. funny how majority of comments start with the complete confidence in what the US-Israel Pressititutes write and say about MBS, Kashoggi, etc. makes you wonder whether MoA is what it pretends to be...

Posted by: leftfielder | Sep 30 2019 1:36 utc | 76

karlof1 @ 68:

All the Houthis need do is fly a drone over either Mecca or Medina and present visual evidence of the drone's flight (bird's-eye view photos taken by the drone on its journey which it transmits back to a cellphone in Yemen). That would be enough to warn the Saudis that their custodianship of the holy sites is inadequate and their claim to the Islamic caliphate is in doubt.

Posted by: Jen | Sep 30 2019 1:51 utc | 77

@Jen #58
It would not surprise me if the actual people in those Saudi units are not the people who are being paid to serve.

Posted by: c1ue | Sep 30 2019 1:53 utc | 78

@AnneR #25
It is no secret that King Salman is not mentally competent.
This isn't in doubt.
The lesson to be learned is that there isn't sufficient consensus in the Saudi upper echelons to let King Salman retire - that the collective would rather have a senile seatwarmer than to see any of their individual rivals ascend.
This is why I noted, early on in this thread, that MBS becoming King is very different than MBS being the one more in power.
This shouldn't be surprising. The more power a top prince has, the more money and influence his clique enjoys. It is absolutely zero sum.
The prospect of MBS actually becoming King is the one thing that would likely change the political equation in Saudi Arabia.

Posted by: c1ue | Sep 30 2019 1:59 utc | 79

ain't me @ 67... capitalizing words ain't my style... maybe james @67 can use a different handle?

@ 35 kooshy.. yes.. the king is presently good cover for mbs.. when he is gone, it will be a whole different game..

@ aye, myself & me... i did see what karlof1 had shared the other day... maybe... it is most likely a cia changeroo in slow mo where it becomes more clear as we move forward here... i think the most likely player to watch would be cia related, but they are hard to follow..

Posted by: james | Sep 30 2019 2:29 utc | 80

re Annie @14 'There has been no news on either the BBC World Service or NPR about the latest Houthi attacks on the "Saudi" army.'
Not quite true. I first heard about them on the BBC World Service radio late Saturday night, GMT. Since then, though, a rather deafening silence.

Posted by: xkeyscored | Sep 30 2019 2:34 utc | 81

[not trying to hijack this this but I feel it belongs here] Hopefully the Iran-China agreement gets confirmation or China starts importing more Iranian oil soon. This editorial in the South China Morning Post was quite bearish, and even though an editorial, it summarized what the governments are saying. Obviously the existence if this agreement would be highly sensitive, so denials from China would be expected. Why Iran has got China wrong: Beijing will follow its own playbook in countering the US :

"And, while Beijing seemed eager to not engage, Iranian sources appeared to deny the existence of the supersized investment. On Friday, an interview emerged with the head of money and capital markets at the Tehran Chamber of Commerce stating that he had not heard anything about it.

Furthermore, Iran’s oil minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh denied the rumours, bluntly saying, “I have not heard such a thing.” In fact, the discussion in Tehran at the moment around China is about how long the Bank of Kunlun will be able to continue to be a lifeline of sorts for the country.

Posted by: Schmoe | Sep 30 2019 3:53 utc | 82

Jen @78--

A demonstration would have greater affect after another show of marksmanship on Saudi oil infrastructure. The message would be exponentially more potent.

Peter AU 1 @70--

The Houthi are the most outstanding soldiers I've seen at anti-armor close combat, a technique I trained to do. If they were equipped with decent manpack-AAA, they could own the rough terrain. What I haven't seen the Saudis employ are attack helos; maybe it's because they only have 12. Indeed, the Saudi TO&E is rather woeful; I hadn't known just how sad until now. Many arms purchases were given away. Lots of expensive baubles and playthings. I wonder what remains in the Saudi Armory.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 30 2019 4:01 utc | 83

Schmoe @83--

I wouldn't believe a damn thing from the SCMP on anything of importance regarding the PRC or Iran, as it's a 5-Eyes supervised publication.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 30 2019 4:09 utc | 84

The most incredible part is that Saudi Arabia is the best ally of the US...

Posted by: Mikee | Sep 30 2019 4:42 utc | 85

The condition of those troops contrasts very seriously vs the vehicles. Those "troops" do look like the oil workers I've seen in other pictures. How pathetic of the Saudis.

Posted by: sorghum | Sep 30 2019 5:23 utc | 86

sorghum 87

Most are from Yemen. Mostly looking for a pay check to send back to their families rather than war.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 30 2019 6:08 utc | 87

My guess on helicopters staying away would be manpads. Also the reason the Saudis fly high. No reports that I know of close air support being used in the US Saudi war on Yemen.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 30 2019 6:18 utc | 88


This phrase about protecting the captured saudi-soldiers struck me as well,when I read the declaration of Houthi-official.I think it refers to the bombing and subsequent killing of over 200 war prisoners imprisoned in Yemen by saudi coalition airplanes,a screaming war crime that mostly was ignored by MSM.And what about the UN?Just imagine how utterly low and vile those Sawdie are,in trying to kill their own hired folk when captured by the enemy,just for saving money on liberating them,or paying ransom.

Posted by: willie | Sep 30 2019 7:17 utc | 89

Trivia. The Houthi movement in north Yemen was kicked off by the Houthi tribe, one tribe of the Zaidi tribes of north Yemen. It was the Houthi movement, rather than just the Houthi tribe that took over Sanna. The grass roots north Yemen government is headed by people named Houthi.

By now, I would guess most north Yemeni's may well be part of the Houthi movement, which is also the North Yemen government. Houthi seems a good enough name to differentiation them from the Saudi UAE controlled areas of Yemen.

Houthi movement, and Zaidi have a very secular outlook. Houthi may well unite most of Yemen before this is over. The captured Yemen mercs will most likely join them, and according to a few twitter accounts with pics, a number that were fighting for the south are starting to move north to join the Houthi's.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 30 2019 7:56 utc | 90

According  to @mujtahidd AlFagham and his colleage were killed inside the palace by another group.

Posted by: arata | Sep 30 2019 8:10 utc | 91

Another surprising development reported by Washingtonpost. Amid tension with Iran, U.S. Air Force shifts Middle East command center from Qatar to South Carolina.

on Saturday, as 300 planes were in the air in key areas such as Syria, Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf, hundreds of seats at the Combined Air and Space Operations Center at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar sat empty.

"The functions that the CAOC provides for air power are so critical and so essential that we can't afford to have a single point of failure,” said Maj. Gen. B. Chance Saltzman, using an acronym for the center.

Air Force officials said recent incidents involving Iran helped add urgency to the project. Iran shot down a U.S. surveillance drone in June; this month, key oil facilities in Saudi Arabia suffered a devastating surprise attack with what appeared to be Iranian-supplied weapons.

“Iran has indicated multiple times through multiple sources their intent to attack U.S. forces,” said Col. Frederick Coleman, commander of the 609th Air and Space Operations Center. 

Posted by: arata | Sep 30 2019 8:20 utc | 92

Peter AU 1 ^ karlof1

Thanks greatly for the monitoring of Twitter accounts that contain actual news.

I would not be at all surprised if the "Saudi Military Column" turns out to be a rag tag of catering/other support workers abandoned (or escaped) at a previously operational position. Their attack response SOP seemed wanting for weapons, training or resolve - or all three. Either way glue seems to be coming unstuck.

Posted by: dennis | Sep 30 2019 8:25 utc | 93

I think it was Don Bacon somewhere back up the thread linked an article on the south Yemeni's taking Saudi merc pay simply to get money to their families rather than because they wanted to fight the Houthi. The Houthi military presser is also similar in saying that the majority were Yemeni.

And to me also, the glue looks to be coming unstuck for the Saudi's and US. I'm beginning to wonder if the majority of Yemeni's will become united around the houthi movement against the Saudi's who say they are trying to reinstall the 'internationally recognized government'

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 30 2019 8:38 utc | 94

The place where the Victory from God operation (the Saudis must have another name for their attack) took place is in the Saada Governorate of Yemen, in an area extending 20 km into Yemen from the Saudi Border. The area is marked in a map shown the the Yemeni Army spokesman on the video linked to this PressTV story.

A road passes throug mountain passes south of the Alfarte Valley. Google maps does not show many labeled features. Someone has marked a subway station ("محطة") on the map along the road near the southern end of the battle area. There does not seem to be a direct road connection to Saudi Arabia, so I guess the Saudi and proxy troops originally came from the east.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Sep 30 2019 9:02 utc | 95

Posted by: arata | Sep 30 2019 8:20 utc | 96

Unfortunately, this might be the US preparing for war.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 30 2019 9:10 utc | 96

Petri Krohn
I see the road in the map you linked leads down to Sadah, the place where the Houthi ,movement began.
A winding road but from the marked point, looks less than 100km to Sadah by road.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 30 2019 9:12 utc | 97

@ Don Bacon _/|\_ apologies.

@ Peter AU1 99

It would not be beyond the realms of reasoning that a non-western agency has been providing sat. intelligence other useful assistance to Houthis.

The range calculations of Houthi missiles mentioned in thread and linked to has also been useful, yet on previous threads we've been reasonably certain the direction of the Aramco attacks was North East, (unless drones/missiles overflew and circled back?).

Meanwhile in the developed world, there's growing evidence that we're in the last cycle of this market and a correction is coming down the road. Those nations who've been de-dollarising, reducing their US treasury holdings, are reasonably (comparatively) debt free and pinning their currency to a gold standard have something to gain from creating a certain amount of leverage and statecraft mischief. If Hong Kong is anything to go by, or we throw our minds back to the Greek Sovereign debt crisis - steel shutters, vacuum packed food supplies and water should be added to vulnerable debtor nations citizens festivities lists (pressed EU nations). If late frosts/snowfalls damage spring plantings hurt will deepen. Climate and economic conflagrations are a bitch.

Posted by: dennis | Sep 30 2019 9:27 utc | 98

The reason some of the Saudi soldiers weren't in uniform is more likely that they took them off, in order to escape, but were caught anyway.

Just confirms what I've been saying for years - the Saudi troops aren't willing to fight to defend the Saudi princes in Riyadh.

re Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 29 2019 17:27 utc | 21's quote of Juan Cole about the Ismaili Shi'a in Najran.

the province’s some 600,000 inhabitants, perhaps 400,000 are Ismailis. They had been relatively loyal to Saudi Arabia and had fought the Houthis, despite Saudi Wahhabi animus against Shiites.
This is wrong. There was an Isma'ili rebellion in Najran in 2001, which was broken up by the Saudis from Riyadh, with heavy reprisals, which might explain their quietude.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 30 2019 9:36 utc | 99

It took three days to the US administration to send condolences to the French gov for Chirac's death. Seem the few ppl who remain there have been quite busy lately.

Posted by: Mina | Sep 30 2019 10:33 utc | 100

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