The Saudi officials and Iranian parties made achievements in their talks. Riyadh is in negotiations with Yemen Houthi movement representatives. When it comes to Yemeni administration, I t certainly doesn’t appear to be conversing with any.
This is the perception made by reports that months of talks between Saudi authorities and the Houthi leaders are now showing signs of success. The agreement to normalize relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran last week gave this idea additional momentum. Tehran claims to assist the Houthis politically but denies providing them with weaponry, as Riyadh and others have claimed during Yemeni protracted war.
There are little details about any prospective agreement between the Houthis and Saudi Arabia. The former has been battling the Yemeni administration since they took control of the country’s capital and the latter has been leading an aggressive military operation in defense of the administration since 2015.
Many discuss the idea of a full Saudi exit from Yemen, while others raise the prospect of a fresh truce to formalize the conflict’s present, mostly frozen state. There is, in any case, an issue that the government and other regional players on the Saudi-led coalition side, such as the separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC), point out. They feel as though they are watching the new round of discussions from afar with little impact.
Amr al-Bidh, an STC executive and the son of the former president of Southern Yemen, claimed the group’s supporters in the monarchy ostracized everyone”. He further noted that it would result in suspicion among allies and partners.
Perhaps more revealing was another statement made by al-Bidh: “If [the talks between the Saudis and the Houthis] are addressing the truce, that is acceptable…. Nevertheless, if it goes further than that and we are not involved, it is a worry for us.”
One of the main forces operating in Yemen is the STC. It has support from the UAE and de facto authority over the interim capital, Aden, but it has little access to the recent secret and decisive talks.
One administrative official told The Associated Press back in 2022 that he was concerned about what promises may be made to the Houthi movement, suggesting that the government is in a similar situation.
Rashad al-Alimi, the president of Yemen, has vowed to support the ongoing negotiations in an effort to calm concerns that Saudi Arabia is marginalizing and, possibly, abandoning the administration. He claimed that they are only laying the groundwork for a future round of talks between his administration and the Houthi forces.
Yet, some view the ongoing negotiations as evidence of the anti-Houthi forces in Yemen’s helplessness refer to the complicated circumstances surrounding al-own Alimi’s election to the president. That was unexpected in turn, since previous president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi had given few hints beforehand.
Instead, once Saudi Arabia stopped supporting him, Hadi quit in April, 2022. Yet, it shouldn’t be assumed that the Yemeni administration and the STC lack agency because they aren’t present at the bargaining table.
Each party has its own ambitions and purposes and won’t just agree to a “final settlement” that doesn’t further those interests.
What may appear to be submission to outside parties is actually more of a necessity for such help on the battlefield, but they may still attempt to advance without it.