US: Houthis Must Accept Yemen War Is Unwinnable

Says Houthis' offensive is primary obstacle to peace

Discussing the ongoing Yemen War, US Special Envoy Tim Lenderking said recent Houthi setbacks in Maarib should convince them that the war in unwinnable, and that their only choice is to join the peace process.

Lenderking’s comments may be accurate in that the war isn’t going to resolve itself, but sound incredibly tone deaf given how often the US has continued unwinnable wars, and that in recent weeks the US seems to be drifting back into Yemen.

Lenderking went on to blame the Houthis for the lack of peace process, saying that the Houthi’s offensive in Maarib was “the primary obstacle to peace.” That seems overstated, as the Saudi -backed government has time and again rejected power-sharing settlements, arguing that pre-war UN statements entitle them to continue ruling.

Every faction involved in this war could make some meaningful contributions to peace, but none could likely resolve the conflict on their own. This is doubly true of the Houthis, whose territory is the one being invaded.

The Houthis may not have a path to victory in the war, but over the last seven years they’ve avoided defeat, and surviving until the other side is willing to talk peace was clearly a big goal for them.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.