Border Conflict


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Saudi-Yemen Border Conflict


Saudi-Yemen Border


Saudi Arabia and Yemen are two arabic speaking Sunni Muslim-majority nations on the Arabian penisula with a long history of hostility toward each other. However, both nations are battling al-Qaida rebels, and both have concerns about the growing influence of Shiite-majority Iran and its growing influence in the Arab world. Yemen has battled a local Shiite insurgency (called the Houthi Rebellion or the Saadah Insurgency), in the northernmost region of the country near the Saudi border. The rebellion was begun under the leadership of Shiite cleric Hussein al-Houthi, who was killed by Yemeni forces in 2004.

As the Shiite rebellion in Yemen grew, and appeared to be receiving aid from Saudi Arabia's rival, Iran, the Saudis in turn aided the Yemeni government. The Yemeni rebels launched an incursion into Saudi Arabia in early November, and a Saudi soldier was killed by the so-called al-Houthi rebels along the border on Novermber 4, 2009, and on November 6, Saudi forces openly intervened in the Yemeni war with air strikes near the border and artillery fire on rebel positions inside Yemen.

Saudi officials reported that as of Nov. 8, Saudi military casualties included three killed, 15 wounded, and four missing. Saudi Arabia claimed to have regained control of Saudi territory seized by the Yemeni rebels the week before. Smoke from airstrikes rose above the Jebel al-Dukhan, a 6,600-foot tall mountain on the border between Saudi Arabia and Yemen, near the town of Al-Khubah.

In late January, 2010 Saudi Major General Zaid Al-Khawaji, commander of the Saudi Armed Forces' Southern Region, announced that in the three months of fighting against the al-Houthi rebels, 113 Saudi soldiers were killed. Six Saudi soldiers had been captured by the rebel alive, while nine other soldiers were listed as missing. In earlier staement, Prince Khaled bin Sultan, assistant minister of defense and aviation for military affairs, said that 470 Saudi soldiers had been wounded in the war, most not seriously.

The al-Houthi rebels, who belong to Yemen's Shiite minority, claimed in late January that Saudi warplanes conducted 18 airstrikes on villages inhabited by civilians.



video of a Saudi warplane over Yemen border

 Web and News Links on the Saudi-Yemen Border Wars:


Saudis conduct 18 airstrikes on northern Yemen--Press TV, Jan. 24, 2010

Bodies of 20 Saudi soldiers found on Saudi-Yemeni border--Xinhua, Jan. 23, 2010

Death toll in Jazan fighting rises to 113--Arab News

US General Says Yemen Could Become Iran-Saudi Proxy War--Voice of America, Jan. 22, 2010

Yemeni says kills rebel leader, Saudis comb border--Reuters, Nov. 19, 2009

Iran urges Yemen's neighbors to stay out of rebellion--CNN, Nov. 11, 2009

Small War or Big Problem? Fighting on the Yemeni-Saudi Border--The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Nov. 11, 2009

Yemen Conflict Triggers Flood of Refugees, UN Says (Update1) --Bloomberg, Nov. 11, 2009

Saudis claim control of region from Yemeni rebels--CNN, Nov. 8, 2009

Saudi Arabia Says Troops Take Back Land From Yemeni Rebels--Voice of America, Nov. 8, 2009

Saudis 'retake captured territory' --al-Jazeera, Nov. 8, 2009

Saudi and Yemen battle Zaidi rebels--AFP, Nov. 8, 2009

Saudi Arabia says regains area seized by Yemen rebels--Reuters, Nov. 8, 2009

Saudi Forces Bomb Yemeni Rebels on Southern Border --Wall Street Journal, Nov. 7, 2009 

Houthis Capture Saudi Soldiers, Saudi Bombing Yemen for Third Day--Nov. 6, 2009

CIA Factbook on Country or conflict --Click on the country name (Yemen) at this site.

Security Incidents in Yemen, 1998--From the Al-bab website.

Tiny Voices Defy Child Marriage in Yemen--June 29, 2008

Massive protest in south Yemen--by Jane Novak, for the Long War Journal, May 27, 2008

Yemen's Intifada--by Jane Novak, for the Long War Journal, January 2, 2008