Alwaght- After a long time of watching closely the Yemeni peace negotiations in Kuwait, it appears that the conflict returned to its original place: the battlefield, where the recent developments have brought about new equations the results of which are not only limited to the frontlines but also affected the negotiating table in Kuwait where the negotiators from warring sides, the national delegation and the Riyadh-based delegation, are discussing the future of Yemen’s crisis which has been hitting the country hard for more than one and half a year.
In first look at the war in Yemen, the joint Yemeni forces have made strategic gains including thwarting the operations aiming to capture Al Jawf and Marib provinces and seizing control of the strategic Fatem Mountain in Harib Nahm region west of Marib and later also bringing under control the strategic Al-Jales Mountain in Al-Qabita District, one of the most strategic mountains overlooking the Al Annad Air Base in Lahij province in southern Yemen. The move pressed the US Marines forces stationed in Al Annad Air Base to pack bags and leave the largest Yemeni air base and give place to other forces, majorly Sudanese, after the military base went under the firepower of the Yemeni army and the popular committees.
In a second look at the crisis in Yemen, there is a huge media propaganda accompanying the Saudi military operation in Yemen, used by Riyadh to affect the negotiations under way in Kuwait.
The evidences uncover huge Saudi military preparations in Lahij, Al Jawf and Marib. Websites close to the Saudi military have suggested that a number of tribal leaders linked to the Saudi-based General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar transferred hundreds of youths from Abyan and Shabwa provinces to Marib after they were said that they would be recruited. The websites also added that their special sources in Riyadh reported that the recruited youths would be deployed to Sana'a, the capital of Yemen.
These news accompanied news uncovered by the head of political office of Ansarullah movement Saleh al-Samaad who said that “there are huge Saudi preparations under way to launch renewed large-scale aggression against Yemeni cities.” He continued that the war preparations were faced by arrangements by the “patriotic forces” to face any military escalation at prospects of failure of the political negotiations under way in Kuwait.
It is notable that rise of General al-Ahmar, who is close to the Yemeni Congregation for Reform— or al-Islah in Arabic— has overshadowed the members of the Saudi-led Arab military coalition as the UAE said that it would withdraw its forces from Yemen, but soon later it backtracked on its announcement of withdrawal. A couple of days later, Morocco, also an ally of Saudi Arabia, made the same statement. All these lay bare the conflicting ideas between the coalition's members.
The dispute is not confined to the political forces but it included the top military commanders leading forces of Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, the resigned president of Yemen. The very latest development was assassination of General al-Awadhi, who was appointed by Hadi as the chief of command post of defense ministry, at the hand of gunmen in Marib, not to mention the security chaos Aden in southern Yemen is witnessing.
In a latest development, the former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has announced that the General People’s Congress, which he leads, would not go to the Saudi capital Riyadh to hold dialogue there even if the war lasted for decades. Saleh asserted that Ansarullah movement was the legitimate inherent of power after President Hadi left the country.
Away from what is taking place in Kuwait, and the questions under examination, would Ansarullah movement hand over its heavy weapons? Which party would take over the arms? What would guarantee that Saudi Arabia would not repeat its aggression against the country?
The evidences of latest developments come out with a result: the Yemenis have the upper hand. This highlights the unity of the patriotic forces on the negotiating table or in the battlefield while the opposing camp, the Saudi forces and their allies, is observing unprecedented weakness and dispersal. Perhaps what happened and what would happen in Taiz, Marib, Al Jawf, and Al Annad and Khamis Mushait are best evidences for that.
The battlefield gains did not keep the Yemeni side from preferring the political solution, just contrary to the opposing side. This issue was made clear by leader of Ansarullah movement Abdul-Malik al-Houthi in his latest speech.
“Our delegation has presented anything possible to push the political settlement, as it paid heavy costs to nullify the excuses many of which are unfair,” said al-Houthi, adding that the movement made concessions to allow the opposing camp to save face, but it asked the Yemenis to surrender and bow before it.
“We are ready for both peace and war,” concluded the Ansarullah leader.
The US retreatment is a good evidence of the Yemenis’ battlefield power and also the Americans’ fears of receiving heavy losses in the war just like in Vietnam war. Many experts suggest that the US is not prepared to lose even a single troop in Saudi aggression against Yemen, rather, by its presence in Yemen, Washington seeks confrontation of Al-Qaeda terrorist group in Yemen.
The Saudi troubles in Yemen quagmire are no longer only about the power of the opposing side but about the weakness of the Riyadh-led alliance and Saudi Arabia's allied forces— like the UAE’s and Morocco’s — the large number of which were pulled out of battlefield.
The Operation Decisive Storm appears to have shifted to a war of attrition according to many analysts.
The weakness of coordination between Riyadh-led camp, in addition to recent assassinations in Aden and Marib, have dealt a blow to the Saudi project in Yemen.
Saudi Arabia is well aware that any step back from Yemen would be costly. Perhaps this notion makes clear the reasons behind past few days’ re-escalation and failure of Kuwait peace talks which started more than two months ago without any considerable progress.
The time of end of war on Yemen is not clear yet. Would it take place via dialogue? Or the last word is for the battlefield? What is certain is the fast moving developments signaling that the war is witnessing a new juncture.