UAE Press: Hodeida will turn the tide of Yemen war

ABU DHABI, 1st June, 2018 (WAM) — As Yemeni forces are now on the outskirts of Al Houthi-held Red Sea City of Hodeida, the three-year Yemen war could be quickly coming to an end, a UAE newspaper has said.

In an editorial on Friday, Gulf News noted that for the longest time Yemeni forces, backed by a Saudi-led Arab coalition, have been entrenched in a war that saw slow and steady incremental victories. “But now, a series of events have catapulted the momentum of Yemeni forces which have made lightening gains along the Red Sea coast inflicting heavy material and morale losses on the Iran-backed Al Houthis.”

The paper added, “Increasingly, Iran has come under Western pressure to force the militants to the negotiating table. European powers, keen on keeping the nuclear deal with Iran alive after a US pullout, are now pressuring Iran to make concessions, including reining in its regional meddling, through its backing of proxy militias. Iranian meddling has been a chief concern of Arab and Gulf states, which have suffered as Iranian proxies in Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria drag their countries into divisive and sectarian warfare.

“Al Houthis in Yemen have posed a particular challenge for Saudi Arabia, which has endured hundreds, if not thousands, of rocket attacks by Al Houthi militants into Saudi territory.

“The last major port city under Al Houthi control is Hodeida and its capture effectively means that they will lose the ability to receive Iranian weapons and thus the beginning of the end of their grip on the country.”

This is why as of late, the editorial explained, Iran has said it is open to negotiations, changing its stubborn tune which has blocked several past attempts to foster a political solution to the crisis.

The paper added that the newly appointed UN Special Envoy, Martin Griffiths has been in communication with rival sides and plans to announce the conditions for a new peace plan in early June.

“It is expected that the list of demands, this time, offers Al Houthis, weakened from recent military losses, much less than past agreements,” it said, adding that “This will be music to the ears of Yemenis fighting to end the devastating war that has caused so much suffering to innocent people.”

“It will also please Saudis and Emiratis, the chief backers of the Yemeni government, who have made major sacrifices in the war by providing boots on the ground as well as massive amounts of financial and humanitarian support to the Yemeni people,” it stated.

In conclusion, the Dubai-based newspaper said, “A victory in Yemen will send a powerful message to Iran that its regional adventurism will no longer go unchecked and will be confronted wherever it rears its ugly head in the Arab world.”

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