Saudi Arabia Agrees to Limited Ceasefire in Yemen

Yemeni officials say talks underway to expand truce

A week after Yemen’s Houthis called for a truce, Saudi Arabia has announced that they will be joining a “limited” cease-fire covering several areas, including the capital city of Sanaa. Yemeni officials say talks are also ongoing to expand the deal to cover more areas.

The announcement came as a surprise, as the Saudis had not previously indicated they were even considering the proposal, and had spent much of the week launching heavy airstrikes across northern Yemen.

The Houthis have also issued a statement confirming they are halting all drones and missile attacks against the Saudi coalition as part of the deal. The respective announcements sent the price of crude oil down on the markets, capping a down week.

The movement of oil prices seems to be a recognition in the commodities market that the Houthis’ claims to have attacked Saudi oil refineries with drones and their threats to do so again were credible, even though Saudi officials had tried to blame Iran.

When the Houthis initially proposed the truce, they also suggested it could give way to proper peace talks meant to end over 4 years of war in Yemen. There is as yet no indication such talks are lined up, but the US has been pushing the Saudis toward the process as well.

With Houthis, US, and Saudi officials on board, the big obstacle to peace talks may be the Saudi-backed government in Yemen, which has long criticized the idea of negotiations that would end with anything other than them securing absolute control over the entire country. That, and an ongoing separatist movement in the south, which still controls Aden, are likely to make full unification of Yemen a tall order for anyone.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.