US Plans for Secret Direct Talks With Yemen’s Houthis

US officials trying to convince Saudis to take part

For the first time since 2015, the US will be holding direct talks with Yemen’s Houthi movement. The talks are to be held largely in secret in Oman, and US officials are trying to convince Saudi Arabia to take part.

The Obama Administration held some talks with the Houthis back in 2015 trying to sell a ceasefire. The deal never materialized, and the Trump Administration has largely just let the Saudis do whatever in Yemen.

The war has dragged on for years longer than planned, though, and Trump’s support for it has strained his relationship with Congress, particularly as it relates to US-Saudi relations. Some Saudi officials have also been keen on finding a resolution to the Yemen War.

The big obstacle in the past, however, was that while the Houthis are willing to make a power-sharing deal, the Saudi-backed government opposed any talks, and believed that any deal would mean something short of total victory.

It’s not clear what US involvement brings to the table, as Trump has long been averse to taking any position the Saudis are uncomfortable with, and that’s probably going to mean the government remains the challenge.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.