Saudi-Houthi Talks Raise Hope for Yemen Peace, Sidelining Govt

Secret talks have shown signs of progress

While it’s never clear what exactly is going on, secret talks between Saudi Arabia and the Shi’ite Houthi movement in Yemen have, by all accounts, been making some progress. Prisoners were released, medical patients evacuated, and attacks are down substantially.

The Saudis have admitted to “indirect, behind-the-scenes talks” with the Houthis, with neighboring Oman brokering the effort. Early suggestions were that a deal to end the war might take the form of something like the deal with the southern separatists to end fighting in Aden.

The obstacle in that deal, that the Hadi government of Yemen didn’t like the idea of power-sharing with the separatists, is the same as the Houthi talks. Past negotiations similarly suffered from the Hadi government rejecting the idea of any deal in which the Houthis get anything.

A deal sharing power in Yemen, or having free elections, would after all reduce the control of the Hadi government in post-war Yemen, and they are continuing to hold out for what they believed they’d get at the start of the war, unconditional, indefinite rule over the whole of Yemen.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of