Six Killed as Houthis Seize Key Yemeni Port

Saudis say they left under 2018 ceasefire deal

Over the weekend, Saudi Arabia withdrew from Hodeidah, a contested port city in Yemen, saying it was complying with terms from the 2018 UN deal. Subsequently, the Houthis advanced, taking a broad swath of the port, and killing six soldiers.

Hodeidah is the main active port in Yemen, the source of nearly all food and medical aid into the war-torn country. It was long Houthi territory, though the Saudis tried to advance against them.

The Saudis tried to pin this on the long-forgotten ceasefire deal, but realistically the US had been pressuring them to ease the naval blockade, and the only reason they ever wanted Hodeidah was to starve the Houthis out. Losing Hodeidah allows the Saudis to spin this as a betrayal of a ceasefire neither side was working on.

Since controlling Hodeidah means less starvation, the Houthis were virtually obliged to take the port.  What this will mean in the future militarily is unclear, though likely Maarib will remain the near-term focus.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.