Intensification of Saudi Moves to End Yemeni War

Strategic Council Online - Opinion: The Yemeni crisis in recent days has witnessed significant political and field developments that have led the process of equations towards the emergence of horizons for negotiations. Kamran Karami - Researcher on Saudi affairs

On September 22, the King of Saudi Arabia during the virtual speech of the UN General Assembly, stating that Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy is based on supporting negotiations for gaining access to peace and peace is the strategic option for the Middle East region, added: The peace initiative offered by Saudi Arabia in Yemen guarantees the end of the conflict.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reiterated his remarks during a meeting with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, who first traveled to Riyadh during a regional tour, and called for intensified diplomatic efforts to resolve the Yemeni crisis. Saudi Arabia’s Press is ready to accept the terms of the ceasefire under UN auspices.

The visit of a senior US administration official on the first year of the Joe Biden administration appears to be a turning point in Saudi-US reciprocal travels; the trip is both a sign of pressure on Saudi Arabia to end the Yemen war, approaching a ceasefire and holding political talks, and a relatively weak message to Saudi Arabia and other players who believe Washington’s commitment to its Arab allies in the Persian Gulf is in a fragile process.

Parallel with those political movements, the military-field movements in Yemen have entered a decisive phase since last week with the advance of Ansarollah towards Ma’rib and liberation of Al-Bayda Province. This development plays an important role in upsetting the political and military balance in Yemen, especially for the Saudi coalition. It is from this angle that Saudi movements to retake allied forces are gaining momentum.

It seems that Sullivan’s trip is in line with this, so that Saudi Arabia will prepare the ground for the gradual removal of Mansour Hadi from power. This issue is important from four aspects: The first aspect is to unite the internal ranks and breathe new life by entrusting the affairs to the current Prime Minister Abdul Malik. The second aspect is the formation of an inclusive government of various forces such as the forces of Tareq Saleh, the Mutmar Party, the Al-Islah Party and the tribes. The third aspect, through the inclusive government, is to end the disputes with the Southern Transitional Council and to disarm them in some way, and the fourth aspect is to provide for political negotiations.

Although Saudi Arabia’s efforts to shape this process are intensifying, its complexities and difficulties will make it hard to achieve this equation in practice. In this context, what Yemeni Ansarollah has emphasized and should consider is the emphasis on three important principles for the objective realization of the ceasefire; first, the reopening of Sanaa Airport, second, the passage of oil tankers in the port of Hodeidah, and third, the coalition’s commitment to a ceasefire as part of the verification. This process could lead to the start of negotiations between the Yemeni groups and to its strengthening.

From this point of view, the concurrence of the ceasefire plan and the end of the Yemen war, while witnessing the progress of Ansarollah, is related to the previous policy of the coalition, which is to stop the advance of Ansarollah with a hollow ceasefire plan and provide a basis for recovering lost forces; therefore, Ansarollah must make any halt to progress conditional on a real and verifiable ceasefire and the rapid formation of political negotiations and the entry of the Yemeni parties into the dialogue process, and to put the field and political equations in a strategic balance.

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