Alwaght- Amid the daily reports of retaliatory missile and drone strikes by the Yemeni military and Ansarullah movement’s forces in response to the Saudi-led coalition aggression, now unofficial reports talk about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s proposal to stop the war. The news was first published by Mujtahed, an anonymous Saudi Twitter activist, who said he was supplied with the info by Saudi court’s insiders.
Mujtahed claimed that bin Salman suggested that Ansarullah movement takes control of the north of Yemen and leave the south to the Saudi allies. He also asked the revolutionary movement not to obstruct Saudi oil pipeline stretching from the kingdom to the Arabian Sea through Al Mahrah province south of Yemen.
But the Yemeni resistant movement that controls the capital Sana’a and the northern regions has rejected the offer. It said in addition to full control of the country it demands Riyadh compensation for war devastations and official apology as preconditions for the war end.
Bin Salman proposal comes after Yemeni attacks intensified
For those following Yemen war developments, the reciprocal reactions of the Yemeni forces over the past month look unprecedented. Over seven times of missile strikes at Abha airport in Asir province in southern Saudi Arabia is an example. The attacks pushed the Saudis to stop night flights of the airport.
The military response is not limited to the airports. Yemeni forces struck a number of air bases in Jizan province, electricity supply facilities, and even oil pipelines into the Saudi territories as the Saudi atrocities continued.
The spokesman to the Yemeni army threatened Saudi Arabia with even stronger response if war continued with central regions of the kingdom being next aims. The threat looks quite realistic with regard to the displayed military capabilities of Yemeni forces. Recently, Yemen held a military show in Sana’a suggesting that it has adequate number of missiles and combat drones to continue anti-Saudi operations.
So, Riyadh’s call for a deal is forced by the recent developments and Yemen’s show of resolve to step up retaliatory actions.
Saudi call for a deal after UAE exit
Bin Salman's offer for a deal with Ansarullah came days after the UAE's announcement of exit from the war-ravaged country. A fortnight ago, Abu Dhabi said it will pull out of Yemen and focus on political settlement to the five-year crisis. The Saudi proposal follows the Emirati statement.
But this, the analysts note, does not mean that so far the UAE presence blocked any Saudi deal with Yemeni army and popular forces. Rather, it means that the proposal of a ceasefire is an outcome of understanding of the Yemeni battleground conditions and Saudi Arabia now has begun to count the costs of staying in the war. In fact, Riyadh has now concluded that a deal is much more advantageous than continuing the war, though Ansarullah, a leading revolutionary force holding the administration in the capital Sana’a, has rejected the offer. But a set of reasons have driven Prince Mohammed to consider a peace deal with the Yemenis:
Increased international pressures against Saudi Arabia
After the UAE pullout, the Arab military coalition in Yemen will be equal with Saudi Arabia. If so far Saudi Arabia and the UAE were equally subjected to international community pressures for atrocities against the Yemeni civilians, with Abu Dhabi withdrawal Saudi Arabia has to solely shoulder the responsibility. From now on, the world will recognize the Saudi leaders as the sole culprits of bloodshed and destruction in Yemen, opening the door to further political attacks on them. An outlook of Saudi Arabia exclusively coming under fire has motivated Prince Mohammed to seek a deal.
Ansarullah’s overall upper hand in the war
Ansarullah’s forces so far have been engaged in two separate fronts with Saudi and Emirati forces. The distribution of the duty put extensive pressure on the Yemeni forces. But after UAE exit, the Yemeni forces will bring their potentials to just one front. This will give Ansarullah an upper hand in a single-fronted war.
Bigger potentials for Yemeni ground advances
Since the anti-Yemeni campaign, started in March 2015, the UAE forces mainly focused on ground operations in Yemen. In fact, a major part of the ground confrontation took place after Abu Dhabi sent forces to Yemen. Now that the Emiratis are scaling down their operations, the Yemeni forces, an alliance of the army and popular fighters, are expected to advance even faster in various confrontation areas. After all, Saudi Arabia cannot easily fill the vacuum caused by UAE withdrawal from the south. At least in the short run Riyadh is incapable of filling the gap. On the other side, the Saudi concentration on the southern front will mean leaving a vacuum in the northern front. This is the ideal chance for the Yemeni forces to tighten their grip on the north. So, the UAE exit is slated to provide the Yemenis with a resounding chance of advancement.
A collection of these conditions makes continuation of the war for the Saudi Arabian forces difficult. Apparently, calculations based on these conditions have pushed the crown prince to think an end to the largely unsuccessful campaign. To put it differently, after the UAE withdrawal, the war will be more costly to Arab kingdom. So, perhaps the wisest move is the end of the war and compensation pay to Yemen. The alliance of Yemeni forces has grown more emboldened in various front lines, and mainly in Al Mahrah city, a recent center of a race for control between the opposite sides. Over the past few days, the city’s residents held massive protests calling for the Saudi forces and Riyadh’s mercenaries to leave.