35 Killed in New Round of Fighting in Southern Yemen

Govt seeks to reclaim lost ground in Shabwa Province

While the most severe fighting in Yemen centers on the Maarib Province, clashes often spread into neighboring areas. Thursday, this meant Shabwa Province, to the southeast, where the Houthis have had recent gains.

At least 35 were reported killed on Thursday between both sides, with the government trying to push into territory only recently claimed by the Houthis. They claimed some success, but it’s not clear how much.

Even less clear is if the territory changing hands is going to stay that way, as often offensives and counteroffensives follow in Yemen, leading to a protracted fight, and both sides predicting a victory that never seems to really come.

If anything, a win in Shabwa probably just means a new round of spillover into Maarib and/or Bayda, both of which have been heavily contested for months and have yet to trade hands.

Sources on both sides say they see the Houthis increasingly interested in Maarib, looking to develop the oil fields in the area. These are some of Yemen’s bigger fields, which isn’t saying much in the grand scheme of things.

Still, Yemen is the poorest country in the region, and even small oil production boosts would be something for whichever side can get them. This is likely to remain a focus even if Yemen simply doesn’t have the capacity to beĀ  a big exporter.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.