Yemen’s Houthis Report They’ve Seized Province on Saudi Border

Jawf seized, Houthis turn sights on Maarib

Yemen’s Shi’ite Houthi movement has reported on Tuesday that they have taken control of nearly the entire Jawf Province, a northern province bordering Saudi Arabia. This is one of the biggest gains reported by the Houthis in months.

Controlling more of the border is always useful, but indications are that this is just the start of a broader push, with the Houthis seeking to turn south into Maarib Province. That province is where Yemen’s valuable, albeit limited oil and gas industries are located.

Tuesday already saw some very heavy fighting in Maarib, with 38 reported killed. Both sides claimed to have the advantage there, but as with most central Yemen provinces it tends to be very stalemated, and fighting is probably going to continue to rage there.

This suggests a large push by the Houthis concentrated on valuable territory. It’s not clear why, but this might represent a desire to have more territory in hand when peace talks advance, giving them a better bargaining position. The Saudis have been trying to get the talks going, but Yemen’s Saudi-backed government has resisted anything short of total victory.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.