Nearly a year into the Saudi Arabian war in Yemen, and after multiple failed UN attempts to start peace talks, the Shi’ite Houthis and Saudi officials are reportedly engaged in peace talks of their own, with a Houthi delegation arriving in the Saudi kingdom for their first visit of the war.
Details are scant, but the report is that the Saudis invited the Houthis to talk, and the Houthis have since confirmed that talks are taking place. Previously throughout the war, the Saudis had suggested talks were impossible.
The Houthis took over Yemen’s capital city in late 2014, and President Hadi resigned in January 2015 after failed talks on constitutional reform and new elections. Saudi Arabia attacked Yemen in March, vowing to reinstall Hadi.
Over the course of the war, the Saudis have taken the southern port of Aden, which is now Hadi’s “interim capital city.” The Houthis retain the capital of Sanaa, and much of the country’s north. The stalemate may be driving the talks, but the growing influence of al-Qaeda,, which has seized territory in the east with the other factions fighting busy one another is also likely a factor.