Having referred to the statement made by the spokesman of Yemeni Armed Forces on liberating 3200 square kilometers of territory of the country in the course of the recent advancements of these forces in Al-Shabouh and Maareb, Ahmad Haji Sadeghian noted in an interview with the site of Strategic Council on Foreign Relations:” Ansarallah has completely changed its defensive tactics in its war with Arab coalition for the past two years, acted progressively and gradually advances towards the liberation of those regions occupied by the coalition”.
Having stated that one of the most important policies followed by Ansarallah to this end was the capturing of Maareb, as a very important province in the North of Yemen, he added:” Now, Ansarallah is advancing in a very thoughtful way. They have captured the routes and regions surrounding, the South and the South-West of Maareb. They have made great advancements in a number of recent operations; therefore, it seems that Ansarallah is very serious as far as capturing Maareb in concerned”.
The expert on Yemeni affairs continued:” relatively low speed of Ansarallah advancements in capturing Maareb and intervals between the operations are mainly because Ansarallah seriously intends to advance without clashes and taking many civilian lives. Instead, they try to focus on forming coalition among tribes and win their support and accompaniment. On the other side, Arab coalition is also seriously trying to win the support of the tribes of the region and thus spends a lot of money to this end. However, Ansarallah has made a lot of efforts and they have made progress to some extent so far. It seems that within the coming months there will be good news circulating about Maareb recapturing in Yemen”.
ISIS & Al-Qaeda Position in Yemen
Having referred to the presence of ISIS and Al-Qaeda leaders among those who were already murdered and had concentrated in “Al-Abdia” region as their stronghold, he said:” Those regions recaptured by Ansarallah within the last year, especially in two regions of “Al-Bayza” province and the West of Maareb region, that means towns like “Al-Jowbe” and “Al-Abdia” were traditionally the strongholds of Al-Qaeda and Tekfiri Salafids, where they used to have much influence. The clashes between Ansarallah and these groups in these regions are not limited to this juncture, clashes have always been there since 2011”.
Having reminded that from the beginning of 2014, the clashes between ISIS and Ansarallah became more serious, he added:” As the regions are closer to Al-Qaeda and ISIS in tribal status, tribes have also had collaborations with them. Expelling and suppressing of senior Sunni clerics as well as the leaders of these groups and recapturing these regions have been very difficult measures. Yet, we have been witnessing progress in this connection. Particularly, stabilizing “Al-Bayza” province and its mountainous regions was a very important achievement. There have never been any security problems in these regions within the past year. This indicates the progress made in controlling the regions and expelling Tekfiiri Salafid forces”.
The expert on Yemeni developments said:” the regions in the West of Maareb and “Al-Jowbeh” and “Al-Abdia” are also sensitive areas, because as long as a sheikh of Salafid is present there, he can recruit new forces to confront Ansarallah. Such measures give serious importance to the group. Specially, with reference to the present situation, the main groups in the field who can stay against Anasrallah in Maareb, are the Reform party and Muslim Brotherhood, who have serious links and connections with Tekfiri Salafids”.
Status of Political Peace Negotiations in Southern Yemen
Having referred to the political negotiations held between Ansarallah and Saudi Arabia to reach a peace deal, Sadeghian emphasized:” it is unlikely that despite the present equations the political negotiations achieve any specific result; because in proportion of its weight, Ansarallah demands a righteous share in Yemeni government. Moreover, it demands Saudi Arabia war compensation”.
He explained:” Ansarallah argues strongly that the infrastructures of Yemen have been severely destroyed in war, a large number of people have been martyred or injured; these losses should be compensated. Moreover, as the largest section of the country’s population and territory are at Ansarallah’s disposal, it should take the same proportion and share in Yemeni government; but it is hard for Saudi Arabia to accept it”.
The expert on Yemeni affairs continued:” the issue of negotiation between the parties has been raised time and again for the past three years, but Saudis have not budged an inch so far. Even with Trump’s departure and taking office by Biden, and despite the serious pressure of the world public opinions as well as those of the U.S. exerted on Saudi Arabia, the country has not adjusted her positions yet and they still insist on their positions. They claim Ansarallah should not take any share of power in Yemen. Therefore, as long as the political-field equations remain the same, it seems unlikely that any result would be achievable through negotiations”.
Sadeghian stressed:” unfortunately, we witness no serious action taken by the United Nations, international organizations and human rights bodies. Saudis are not concerned about these organizations. That’s why they keep going. Therefore, if there is no substantive change in equations, negotiations will lead to no result”.
Importance of Breaking Yemeni Siege in Equations Change
Having stated that Ansarallah stresses on liberating the whole Yemeni territory and on advancing towards Maareb, and thus looking for the change in equations, he said:” Field siege of Yemen is one of the most important and decisive issues to this end i.e. the change of equation. Saudi Arabia is confident that as Ansarallah advances, they can solidify the siege and thus influence their capabilities, and prevent their further advancement as well as some of their operations. As long as Saudis enjoy having the leverage, they will not be ready to come to negotiation table and admit the Yemeni realities”.
Sadeghian continued:” In the meantime, the U.S. administration is not dissatisfied with the present situation, because on one side, they see the Saudi Arabia deeply engaged in a situation where their foreign currency reserves is decreasing by further purchases of arms from the U.S. and the lion share of her budget goes for U.S. made arms purchase, on the other side, their interests will not be seriously affected in the war. That’s why despite show off publicity, the U.S. administration does not exert serious pressure to put an end to the war. It must be said that unfortunately other international major players and even Islamic countries do not take any serious action to finish the war”.