Saudi Unit Deployments to the Yemeni Border (Jizan, Asir, and Najran Regions)

June 2, 2015

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Saudi military deployments to the Yemeni border since Operation Decisive Storm (now Operation Restoring Hope) was launched on March 25, 2015, are drawn from both Royal Saudi Land Forces (RSLF) and Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG) units. The deployments include infantry, armored, and artillery units as well as logistical and support units.[1]

Saudi Arabia announced additional deployments to Najran as part of a “Strike Force” in response to Houthi shelling of civilian areas in Najran province on May 6, 2015.[2] These units are reportedly led by Brigadier General Muhammad Ali Shahrani, SANG Commander of the Prince Sa’d bin Abdul Rahman (PSAR) Brigade.[3]

The level of coordination between RSLF and SANG is not entirely clear. Formally, RSLF falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defense while SANG reports to the Ministry of Interior. However, a SANG officer interviewed by Al Arabiya reported close communication between RSLF, SANG, and the Ministries of Defense and Interior. He claimed the various bodies had established a shared operations room to coordinate their efforts.[4]
 

RSLF Unit Deployments

RSLF 11th Mechanized BDE[5] (deployed from King Abdul Aziz Military City, Khamis Mushayt, Asir Region)[6]

RSLF Army Aviation (no unit designation available)[7]

 
SANG Unit Deployments

SANG PSAR Mechanized BDE[8] (deployed to Najran)

SANG 23rd Battalion[9]

SANG Artillery Battalion[10]

 
[1] Jeremy Binnie, “Saudi national guard deploys to Yemeni border,” IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, April 26, 2015. Available: http://www.janes.com/article/50974/saudi-national-guard-deploys-to-yemeni-border.
Angus Mcdowall, “On Saudi border with Yemen, troops watch for Houthi movement,” Reuters, April 7, 2015. Available: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/07/us-yemen-security-saudi-border-idUSKBN0MY0S120150407.    
[2] Jane’s Sentinel Security Assessment – The Gulf States, Saudi Arabia, Army,” Jane’s Information Group, May 13, 2015.
[3] “Brigadier General Shahrani: National Guard forces ready to repel any attack on our borders,” Al Riyadh, May 11, 2015. Available: http://www.alriyadh.com/1047009.
[4] “Encounter with Lieutenant Colonel Sayf al Qahtani from the Saudi National Guard,” YouTube video, Al Arabiya, May 8, 2015. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvMFBvvWRcY.
[5] “Encounter with Commander of the 11th Brigade in the Saudi army,” YouTube video, Al Arabiya, April 18, 2015. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpteahcZvjI.
[6] Charles Caris, “2015 Saudi-led Intervention in Yemen: Order of Battle,” AEI Critical Threats Project, May 6, 2015. Available: http://www.criticalthreats.org/yemen/koontz-desknote-growing-threat-isis-in-yemen-may-6-2015.
[7] “Bombardment of the Apache Helicopters,” YouTube video, Al Hadath News, May 5, 2015. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEMWxFd2CvE.    
News of the Saudi Arabian Armed Forces Facebook Post, May 5, 2015. Available: https://www.facebook.com/KSArmedForcesNews/posts/996263913718444.
[8] “Supporting with victory signs… Najran receives Guard battalions,” Al Watan, April 26, 2015. Available: http://www.alwatan.com.sa/Politics/News_Detail.aspx?ArticleID=221853&CategoryID=1.  
“Arrival of the Saudi National Guard to Najran Region,” YouTube video, Saudi Channel One, uploaded by “time frenchtimes TV,” April 27, 2015. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSZ7tndJtqo.osjd.   
[9] “Safe and natural atmosphere in the Saudi border areas,” YouTube video, Al Arabiya, May 7, 2015. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHCUvHeH8Zc.
[10] See interview at 1:52. “Arrival of the Saudi National Guard to Najran Region,” YouTube video, Saudi Channel One, uploaded by “time frenchtimes TV,” April 27, 2015. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSZ7tndJtqo.