The UN-sponsored peace talks on Yemen look like they’re just about to collapse today, with the pro-Saudi Hadi faction announcing that it is suspending all participation until the Shi’ite Houthis commit to a series of major concessions.
The Hadi demands are definitely a non-starter, insisting that the Houthis commit to totally disarm and hand over every city in the country to them, materially the same demands they’ve had since the Saudis first launched the war, aiming to reinstall former President Hadi.
The timing is odd, as it’s not clear why the Hadi faction agreed to weeks of talks only to kill the whole process with a sudden series of unreasonable demands. It also comes less than 24 hours after the Saudis announced the focus of the war was no longer the Houthis, but rather Sunni Islamist factions like ISIS.
The Saudis shifting the war to fighting ISIS. and suddenly calling the Houthis their “neighbors” and part of the structure of Yemen suggests they are moving away from demands for unconditional surrender after over a year of war, and it seems like the Hadi forces are undercutting that with the new demands.