Yemen’s Peace Process Under Threat of Utter Collapse

Sheba Intelligence | 2024-01-20 05:34 PM UTC


The peace process in Yemen is witnessing a serious threat at all levels. The escalation between the Ansar Allah (Houthi) group and international forces in the Red Sea has created an explosive situation in Yemen. At the same time, the Emirati-Saudi dispute in Hadhramout may lead to a clash between forces allied with the Yemeni government and separatist groups. 


During this week, the Houthi group escalated its military operations on several internal frontlines, coinciding with the continuation of its attacks on commercial ships amid continued American-British airstrikes on the group’s military sites.


The Houthis have attacked the opposing forces loyal to the Yemeni government in Hajjah, Shabwah, Al-Jawf, and Taiz, which signals the return of the war that stopped after the truceAGREEMENT in April 2022.


Under the auspices of Saudi Arabia and the mediation of Oman, the DEAL between the Houthi group and the Yemeni government would have allowed the government and the Houthis to open airports and ports, re-export oil and gas, and pay the salaries of the public employees. 


However, today, Yemen is witnessing a new war that may lead to the closure of ports and airports after the Houthis targeted shipping lanes under the pretext of preventing Israeli-linked ships or ships bound for Israel from passing through the Bab al-Mandab Strait and the Gulf of Aden, as well as along the Red and Arabian sea.


In the northwest of Hajjah, near the Saudi border, the Yemeni army has shot down two Houthi drones. Besides, the Houthi group launched attacks on military sites of the government army on the Yatma front, east of Al-Jawf province, onethe day after the group attacked Saudi border forces, killing a Saudi soldier.

The Houthis also targeted military areas of the Yemeni army in Taiz, including Al-Sarmin, Al-Dhabab, Hathran, and Jabal Han. Moreover, clashes in Shabwah between the Houthis and the Giants forces left several deaths and injuries from both sides. A few days ago, Houthi missiles fell inthe southern provinces of Al-Dhalea and Lahj.


In the same vein, the activity of terrorist groups escalated in Shabwah. A bombing targeted a military vehicle of the Shabwah defense forces in the Al-Musaina area. Three soldiers were assassinated by detonating an explosive device that targeted two separatist patrols in Mudiyah ofAbyan.


In the eastern region of Hadhramaut, tensionsbetween the forces loyal to the UAE and the forces loyal to Saudi Arabia have risen after the UAE-backed Hadhrami elite forces prevented the Saudi-backed Nation Shield Forces from entering Mukalla city. Saudi Arabia recently established the Nations’ Shield Forces to provide military support to the Chairman of the Presidential Leadership Council.


This prompted Saudi Arabia to send the commander of the coalition’s support forces, Major General Sultan bin Abdullah Al-Baqmi, to meet with the governor of Hadhramout, Mabkhout bin Madi, and discuss the situation in the province. 


The Southern Transitional Council (STC) branchin Hadhramaut expressed in a statement its refusal to bring any force to the coast of Hadhramout, saying, “We are in the Hadhramaut transition.” The STC in Hadramout is not against the Nation’s Shield Forces, but we are in favor of deploying them to secure the valley and the desertof the province. As for the coast, the Hadhrami elite, which has secured it over the past years, is capablek of protecting it from the forces of evil and terrorism.”


This language is consistent with the Emirati approach, which seeks to maintain the Hadhramout coast and its capital, Mukalla, under its influence and away from the Saudi agenda. Southern activists and media outlets affiliated with the STC, an ally of the UAE, accused Saudi Arabia of planning to annex Hadhramout.