Saudi air force has attacked rebel strongholds in along the country’s porous border with northern Yemen, a day after the rebels killed two Saudi security men on the border. Sporadic shelling was reported at the border around the Jebel Al-Dukhan mountain and jets screeched overhead after two days of aerial bombing of the Zaidi rebels, according to reports.


Saudi spokesmen said that the air strikes from southern Jizan province were to "neutralize the firing by intruders" and to clear areas where they had encroached on Saudi territory.


There were also reports that the fighting has spilt well into Saudi territory with the authorities evacuating villages and entire communities.


5 November 2009



Analysis and Forecast: increasing risk


Political Capital has warned about the danger of the fighting spilling into Saudi Arabia. The border Saudi Arabia shares with Yemen is porous and although the government has announced plans to build a border fence, this is still not in place. With Saudi Arabia now clearly and openly engaged in the sixth Saada war, the conflict is rapidly turning into a more serious regional one. It is very likely that the Iranian regime is helping the Shiite rebels and with the Saudis now directly involved, there is an increased risk of the fighting spreading to other Shiite areas in Saudi Arabia as well as becoming more long-term. With the conflict becoming more regional, there is an increased risk of it leading to ethnic tensions in countries where there are sizeable Shiite communities such as Bahrain and Kuwait.