Fighting in Yemen’s Maarib Done With an Eye Toward Peace Process

Houthis see province as valuable negotiating point

While some Saudi media are trying to spin the ongoing fighting in north Yemen as negative to the chances of peace talks, the increasing reality is that the fighting is done with a careful eye for the negotiations to come.

The Houthis are attacking the last government-controlled site in north Yemen, and believe that if they are successful it will put them in a much more powerful bargaining position. The emphasis is on Maarib having oil producing regions, however limited, and the territory effectively cutting off the Saudi border from Yemen.

Pessimism about the talks is coming from the current situation not exactly being stable. At the same time, most of the country is securely in the hands of whichever side already controls it, and that too might suggest that there’s not much point to further fighting. 

With the territory of the two sides split almost exactly along the pre-1990 borders of North and South Yemen, the two sides may have a ready-made resolution for the war, splitting it down the middle and leaving the Houthis in control of the north, and the Saudi-backed sources and separatists vying for the south.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.