The Two Yemeni Air Forces

April 2, 2015, scenario. The Yemeni government faces mundane no-confidence challenges that nonetheless undermine its authority, and a coup is feared. US drone strikes, with the inevitable civilian casualties, are angering the population, and the Americans are moving ever-stronger forces into the area, assuming a total collapse is imminent.

Enter the unnamed and fictional defense minister, who has restored Yemen’s creaking air force to a level of readiness unseen in many years. The goal is simple-conduct aggressive air patrols, and shoot down American drones to show the people that the government cares about its national sovereignty. There’s a small chance that the air armada massed in Djibouti will challenge the  inferior YAF, but would it? Drones are meant to be expendable-right? Riiight?

April 2, 2015, real life. Yemen, a long-divided state that has been barely united at best, is now completely dismembered. With a coup amidst its longstanding civil wars, the nation has fallen into chaos. The military’s heavy equipment, already suffering from years of poor funding and countless bases overrun, is being pounded relentlessly by Saudi-led airstrikes that aim to destroy anything the Houthis can use.

Quite a different situation. Regaining Honor, the previously mentioned scenario, was made in mid-2014. I guess I was wrong. :p

But I wasn’t wrong in a bad way. This wasn’t a “predicting ten of the last three financial crises” boast, I wasn’t advertising it as being what I thought would happen, and absolute realism wasn’t the goal.

(The goals were A: To put the player in the shoes of an outgunned third-world air force and see how they could manage against a superior opponent, and B: To give them, in the form of the initially vulnerable drones, a chance to see how far they wanted to push their luck. Simply stopping after shooting down a few and accepting less points rather than risking escalation is a perfectly acceptable way to play.)

Just interesting to see how the actual situation regarding the Yemeni Air Force on the scenario’s April 2 was about as far as could be from its condition on the real April 2.