Away from major headlines a war has been raging in Yemen. And although a peace process is ongoing, it seems prudent to me that a plan of action should be established by the Saudi’s if they are going to be able to overcome some of the strategic and tactical pitfalls to a land war in Yemen. The following is a way forward in Yemen that would allow for success and victory by the allied coalition.
The Physiography in Yemen disallows any sort of truly direct route from Saudi Arabia into Yemen’s capital of Sana’a.
The first option is that you can take the bulk of your contingent and place them in Aden. This will allow for a fast attack mechanized rapid response reactionary force to make its way to Sana’a using principally one highway. The draw backs to this maneuver is that it is logistically difficult to accomplish with the forces in question since your forced to scale some of the highest peaks in Yemen and will have a lot of terrain to cover an order to reach your objective which is currently in an uncertain condition.
The second option you have is to complete a operation that would be similar in scope and risk to the same operation that French forces accomplished in Bangui, Central African Republic, in 2013 By Parachuting into and around Sana’a, you should be able to secure the airport on the outskirts of the city and from their land supplies and men and use it as a forward operating base. By parachuting onto road R1550 principally and then taking road A8 to the airport, you should be able to accomplish your goals in twice the time and resources it would take to come from Aden from roads N1 or 215.
The third option is to invade Yemen from Saudi Arabia from road N1 (P1,1) and then take road N1 to Sana’a. You’ll want to establish a forward operating base in al-Radah and the airport once you get into Sana’a. Though be for warned; road N1 into Sana’a does not lead directly into the airport causing possible logistical issues.
The fourth option is to keep it all on the land with a ground invasion from Saudi Arabia on road 2 which tightly hugs the coast on once you get into Yemen and then take road 5 and 313 directly to Sana’a. The problem with this attitude is that you would in effect scale the highest peak in Yemen once you began to take either road 5 or 313 from road 2. This would make the journey potentially perilous and the route a logistical nightmare. However if you absolutely need to invade Yemen from Saudi Arabia and it has to be done on the ground, there is a second alternative.
One final option that I would highly recommend is taking the first three options and blending them into one coherent strategy. By first taking a contingent of the Saudi forces and landing them in Aden the Saudis should be able to draw away from the capital a lot of the forces currently guarding Sana’a. Then by taking Road 2 and blitzing down the west coast of Yemen from Saudi Arabia you should be able to secure the west coast which is the heartland of Houthi activity. By doing these two things alone you would have spread the Houthis thin and secured most major transport ports for allies (Egypt, U.S. etc.). The next thing to be executed is the invasion of Sana’a. By moving forces to al-Radah via land and using it as a jump off point into Sana’a the Saudis can accomplish most of what they want in the country from there. Also by parachuting men into the northern enclave of Sana’a just as tanks from al-Radah co-opt them on the ground the airport in Sana’a is an objective that can be completed and from their supplies can be flown in directly into Sana’a for the battle of Sana’a and beyond.