Yemen is at the bottom of the US foreign policy agenda, and in most cases is attached to its Saudi policy agenda
The war in Yemen faces a new phase, as the region faces a turning point and the international tension rages after the bombing of two Saudi Aramco oil facilities on September 14, 2019. The Houthis claimed their responsibility but accusations went to Iran. This operation is one of new determinants that push Yemen to a very new stage with a set of other determinants that have been occurring since the beginning of this year.
Rather than exploiting the attack on the heart of Saudi Arabia's oil industry, to put more international pressure on the Houthis, who threaten energy sources and world trade corridors, the attacked was exploited to apply the policy of "extreme pressures" against Iran. It is a vision through the US hole that aims at neutralizing Iran's tools in the region and directing pressure towards the regime in Tehran that supports and funds the Houthis. Although this vision is minor if we look to the threat that the Houthi movement imposes against Saudi Arabia, it points to a new American vision that does not care about the interests of its allies and supporting them, but about achieving a political victory to force Iran to sit on a new negotiating table on the nuclear deal, which Washington canceled in 2018. Accordingly, Washington is rushing to form a new reality by running negotiations between the Houthis and the Saudis.
This report focuses on US efforts to move toward a "negotiating" path between the Saudis and the Houthis by persuading Saudi Arabia to sit with the Yemeni armed group on one negotiating table. But what can this "negotiating" do if it happens under the current balance of power and the position of the legitimate government towards it?
Yemen in the American vision
In September 2019, the US State Department announced that it was exerting efforts to push the Houthis and Saudi Arabia to the negotiating table to discuss the war in Yemen and to put an end to the war.
What drives the United States to try to put new lines between the Houthis and the Saudis in the Omani capital "Muscat"?! To answer this question, we should understand the US foreign policy’s vision about the war in Yemen at the time being.
The Republic of Yemen is at the bottom of the US foreign policy’s agenda, and, in most cases, Yemen is attached to the US policy agenda toward Saudi Arabia, Washington's traditional ally in the Arabian Peninsula. But during the Donald Trump administration, Yemen became as much part of an Iran-related file as of Saudi one. Yemen is important as a detector of Trump's foreign policy in the region throughout his first term (ending in 2020) toward allies such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the rest of the Gulf states comes after years of tension with the Obama administration. It also reveals the United States' vision towards enemies such as confronting Iran and escalating rhetoric under the administration's policy of "extreme pressure" against the Iranian regime, after Washington stepped out of the Iranian nuclear deal (2018).
Therefore, there are two frameworks of US foreign policy towards Yemen, one related to Saudi Arabia and the other related to Iran:
• Saudi Arabia Framework:
The Trump administration has unlimitedly supported the Saudi war against Iranian-backed Houthi militants in Yemen. More recently, US has sent military forces to bolster Saudi air defenses in the face of Houthi attacks with missiles and drones that have become a security nightmare for Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf, in addition to arms deals and logistical and intelligence support. Washington benefits from this, as the volume of US arms exports to Saudi Arabia during the period 2015-2017 exceeded $ 43 billion.
At the same time, this prolonged war has provoked a lot of anger inside the US Congress. Although most of the Congress anger is related to discontent with the Trump administration, that does not mean that the Congress is not angry at the unlimited US support for Riyadh and Abu Dhabi in Yemen, because it is under pressure from Civil Society Organizations. This is evident in a numerous number of bills that have been submitted to the Congress and the approval of a bill (July 2019) that would stop "American involvement" in the war. But other bills have forced the US departments of defense and state to report periodically on the US support and arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that lead the coalition in Yemen, meaning that relations have become under scrutiny.
The Iranian Framework:
Unlike the Obama era, the United States, under Trump, began to confront Iran with a vigor that emerges from a policy of "extreme pressure," which is based on two main aspects:
A) Economic pressures, within the policy of bringing Iran's oil exports to "zero", and increasing the Iranian economic collapse to pressure the regime to negotiate forcibly to rebuild the "nuclear agreement" again according to US conditions. But Tehran has rejected that, using a "brinkmanship" policy that has led to a bigger tension in the region by shooting down a US drone, lifting restrictions on nuclear reactors and increasing its support to its tools in the region.
B) Isolating the regime from its tools: this step should be significant by isolating Iran's tools in the region from the regime in Tehran, as Iran has tools and allies in the so-called axis of resistance (the Popular Mobilization Militias in Iraq, the Syrian regime, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the Houthis in Yemen). This part of “extreme pressure” policy is difficult to be implemented because Iran’s relation with its tools is deeply rooted. However, many Western capitals, including Washington, as well as countries in the region, believe that the "Houthis" in Yemen are not entirely an Iranian tool and that the group can abandon Iran and its support in return for a presence in Yemen's political future.
But Iran has been deeply rooted within the Houthi group during the past years of war through training dozens of experts in the manufacture and installation of missiles and drones using the American method of feeding the "Afghan fighters" against the "Soviet Union" by providing weapons and experts gradually to reach perfectionism. The relationship between Iran and the Houthis is "religious" so their relationship is linked to what Iran calls the axis of resistance. Thus the relationship is now more complex. Unlike the relationship between the "Afghans" and "the United States" that was based on an immediate interest that ended with the departure of the "Soviets" and guns turned to Washington.
Therefore, the United States believes that neutralizing the Houthis and removing them from the Iranian mantle is very possible to start trimming Tehran's nails in the region. Other countries, including the European Union and the United Nations, believe that neutralizing the Houthis by negotiating with them and getting them out of Iran means defusing an expected war in the region with Washington and its allies' policy toward Tehran, which has led to recent incidents in the Gulf waters such as the targeting of commercial and oil vessels near the Strait of Hormuz that is under the Iranian control.
As part of the Trump administration's vision, talking about US-Houthi talks began at the end of August 2019 through the Wall
Washington believes that neutralizing the Houthis and removing them from the Iranian abaya is possible to start trimming Tehran's nails, but Iran took root within the Houthi group during the last years of war
Street Journal, but these talks are not the first ones. There have always been secret and public consultations and talks between the two parties after the Houthis took control of Sana’a (September 2014). In 2015, a few months after the Saudi-led coalition began operations, senior envoys of Obama administration secretly met the Houthis for the first time in Oman to press for a ceasefire and release Americans held by the Houthi fighters. Former US Secretary of State John Kerry also met the Houthis in Muscat in 2016 in a public meeting, followed by the so-called Kerry’s vision, which was rejected by the Yemeni government. US officials met with Houthi leaders in Sweden in December 2018 during UN-led peace talks.
There have been no direct negotiations since President Trump took office in 2017, until Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker announced during a visit to Saudi Arabia (September 5, 2019) that Washington was in talks with the group on a vision to find "mutually acceptable" solution to the conflict in Yemen. "Our focus is on ending the war in Yemen," Schenker told reporters in the city of Al-Kharj, southern Riyadh. "We are in talks ... with the Houthis to try to find a solution to the conflict that is acceptable to both sides."
The Houthis have raised the slogan of “death to America" since the declaration of the group at the beginning of this century, yet US officials believe that the Houthi slogans are not real! So their talks with the Houthis are protected by this belief.
In September 2019, Saudi-US meetings continued and increased when the Houthis announced the targeting of Saudi Aramco oil plants in Abqaiq and Khurais. The attack halted half of Saudi oil production, which in turn led to turbulence in energy markets. The Yemeni affairs official and Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khaled bin Salman met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington and other meetings between US and Saudi officials are going on in Riyadh to discuss "consultations with the Houthis."
According to the leaks, Christopher Hensel, a veteran diplomat who became Trump's first ambassador to Yemen in April 2019 and who has been permanently present in Muscat of Amman and Riyadh, will lead US talks with the Houthis. But the main task of the US administration will be to persuade Saudi Arabia to sit on the negotiations table, not the government of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, because the Americans believe that the government of President Hadi is very weak and a number of recent events contributed to make it neglected, including the double marginalization of Hadi’s decisions by the Arab coalition.
From the US point of view, Saudi Arabia should move from the "military situation" with the Houthis to the "diplomatic situation", especially as the UAE moved to the same strategy in June 2019. Washington believes that the possibility of holding talks now is bigger than before as Americans, Saudis and Emirates will benefit from talks on escalation reduction. This would mean the Houthis reduce their attacks on Saudi Arabia and calming in borders. But that would mean thinking about US and UN plans to remove President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi from office, which Riyadh currently rejects, despite US and UN justifications for "fragility" of the legitimate government’s control over its spheres of influence. However, without Riyadh's consent, these talks cannot succeed.
But there are significant changes that are pressing Riyadh to go to consultations with the Houthis, and it may abandon its reservations about the remaining of President Hadi in power.
Shifts changed the course of war
Before getting to know the US plans that could build the conception of ending the Yemen war, it must be noted that "significant shifts" happened during the five-year-old war that began with the Houthis invasion of Sana'a, their control of state institutions and ended with the intervention of the Saudi-led coalition in support of the legitimate government against the Houthis (March 2015).
These shifts represent the dimensions and starting points of the international / American vision towards the Yemen war.
The most prominent of these shifts are as follows:
• Prolonging the war: Prolonging the war has led to an increase in casualties, estimated at more than 100,000 deaths in the war, and the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, putting Western governments in support of Saudi Arabia and the legitimate government under pressure from civil society organizations. Saudi Arabia's diplomats, as military operations began, promised those governments only a weeks-long war to bring the Houthis to the negotiating table on conditions of the legitimate government and Saudi Arabia, so the kingdom's allies see that prolonging the war increases fears of a wider war in the region. They believe that the continuation of the war without the prospect of a "military victory" for the coalition obligates Saudi Arabia to stop it with a face-saving agreement. This increases the international pressure to stop the war that came to its sixth year.
• UAE Withdrawal: The UAE's announcement of withdrawal from fighting fronts with the Houthis and its move towards a “peace” strategy reinforces pressure on Riyadh to hold talks with the Houthis to end the war.
The UAE withdrawal leaves Saudi Arabia alone to face the burdens of war and a bad international reputation that the UAE, as Saudi’s ally, refuses to share.
Riyadh tries to secure Yemen for fears of Iranian expansion to target its territories, a concern that Abu Dhabi does not have as it has no borders with Yemen
At a time when the UAE is trying to emerge as a lover of "peace" and "stability" in the region, its Saudi ally is emerging as a threat to stability because it refuses to end the war. This is due to the different objectives between the two countries since they intervened in the Arab Coalition. Riyadh tries to secure Yemen for fears of an Iranian expansion, but Abu Dhabi does not have concerns because it has not border areas with Yemen. The UAE intervened in Yemen to seek economic and geopolitical interests near the Bab al-Mandab Strait. The Emiratis believe that they have achieved this by forming its own militias and a political body in southern Yemen (the Southern Transitional Council), even if it means creating new dangers for its ally, Riyadh, and dismantling southern Yemen into rival states.
• Houthi strikes and fears of a regional war: Since May 2019, the Houthis have regularly adopted strong strikes on vital Saudi installations, including oil and airport facilities (including Shaybah oil facilities near the UAE border with Saudi Arabia, Abqaiq and Khurais, 1,650 km from Yemen). It significantly affects the global economy, and pushes for a wider war in the region by accusing Iran of being behind the attack.
Regardless who attacked the Saudi oil facilities, accusing Iran and Iraqi militias of involvement in the operation indicate that the Houthis are not alone any more. They are fighting within a wider axis run by Iran. The volume of Iranian media coverage that accompanied these attacks makes “the edge of the abyss”, which Iran adopts, a threat that could threaten the global trade corridors.
Therefore, the governments will move to pressure Saudi Arabia to give up the Yemen war, and the UAE's fears seem to have gone in the same direction as the Houthis threaten to strike Abu Dhabi and Dubai, in addition to a threat from Iran to target the UAE after Iran had shot down a US drone that took off from a US military base in Abu Dhabi. So the UAE has fears from a wider war in the region that significantly will affect its economy.
• Stockholm stalemate: The Stockholm agreement, signed in December 2018 between the legitimate government and the Houthis, is deadlocked as the Hodeidah agreement, which is supposed to lead to a "comprehensive agreement" - as the UN hopes - has not been implemented amid disagreements between the two parties over understanding the terms of the agreement.
• The disintegration of the legitimacy camp: This disintegration has recently emerged in its worst forms as a consequence of the formation of militias outside the control of the legitimate government, and the disparity of objectives between the leaders of the Arab coalition (Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates). The UAE has supported an “armed rebellion”, led by the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC), against the legitimate authority in Aden and other southern provinces in August 2019. This was a clear exposure of discrepancy between the two countries. The UAE has added fuel to the fire when it launched air raids against the Yemeni National Army in support of the STC at the entrance of the city of Aden - while the Army was trying to regain control of the city - describing in an official statement that the UAE carried out raids on "terrorists". It was the latest attack that declared that Abu Dhabi's relationship with the legitimate government is completely dead.
Saudi Arabia has been embarrassed, should it support the legitimacy that legitimized the military intervention of the Arab Coalition in 2015, or should it move forward with the UAE project in southern Yemen as a result of common interests of the two countries in various files in the region and foreign policy, which means violating the legitimacy of the intervention and the approval of the armed rebellion in the interim capital, Aden.
In all cases, the “rebellion”, the removal of the legitimate government from Aden, and the Southern Transitional Council's regional cleansing campaign in areas under its control, indicate that “legitimacy” and the legitimacy of military intervention by the Arab Coalition, have been violated significantly.
Without ending the rebellion, outside the framework of settlements, and accepting middle solutions that make the “southern transitional” a partner in the government while keeping its armed militias, formed by the UAE, the coalition becomes close to the end.
• The Houthi Initiative: After nearly a week of air raids on Aramco in Abqaiq (September 14) and US and Saudi accusations against Iran of being involved in the operation; the Houthi group announced an initiative, from one side, to stop strikes against Saudi Arabia in return for Saudi Arabia to stop the war (air strikes) and lift what they called "the blockade." Saudi Arabia has been slow to respond via Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir who said that his country looks to actions rather than words. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also Defense Minister, was more specific in a television interview, sounding optimistic that the war in Yemen would end, welcoming "peace initiatives." He said the Houthi initiative was a "positive step forward to a more political dialogue, more serious and more active." Asked whether he was willing to negotiate an end to the war in Yemen, bin Salman said: "We do this every day, but we are trying to reflect this debate on a practical application on the ground."
By the end of September 2019, the Wall Street Journal spoke of Saudi Arabia's intention to cease fire in four areas, including the Yemeni capital, Sana'a, and that this could expand if the ceasefire continues. The Houthis immediately rejected and called for a full ceasefire. Eight countries, including the five permanent members, regarded the Houthi initiative as an "important first step” towards halting the escalation, "which will need to be followed by a positive action on the ground by the Houthis and self-restraint by the coalition."
• The Houthis need to end the war: The armed Houthi group seems to be in need for a break from the war after its fighters have been exhausted for five years, most of them killed on the front lines, and only a few teenagers remain trained for weeks and joined on the frontlines. This became more clearly through the Houthis' announcement of “forced recruitment," and the increasing campaigns of recruitment by force in provinces under their control. The armed group has also failed to manage the provinces under their control in terms of providing public services, with increasing public discontent over increased taxes, customs and levies. So the group will think more about a comprehensive initiative.
Washington's vision of a solution:
With its announcement of talks with the Houthis, the United States has not submitted any files to be discussed. But it made
The United States is leading a dangerous game in Yemen, pushing for a new tactic in its campaign against Iran, not in support of its traditional Gulf allies
an offer to the Houthis through Washington's special envoy to Iran, Brian Hawk, who put the Houthis between two options: "The Houthis don't have much to win and they have a lot to lose by continuing their partnership with Iran. The Houthis can either support a real political effort for peace in Yemen and enjoy the benefits - or continue to promote violence and enhance Iran's regional ambitions. The former option will bring them legitimacy and a seat on the table. The latter will lead to isolation and prolong the suffering of the Yemeni people. The Houthi response came days after through their announcement to stop attacks on Saudi Arabia. The Wall Street Journal said the group had rejected Iranian requests to claim responsibility for new operations that Tehran and its allies intend to carry out against vital Saudi sites. This has raised hopes among Western diplomats in Yemen as well as countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council that the Houthis could abandon Iran. But they have linked these hopes to the US plan, which Saudi Arabia must agree to.
Considering the Washington initiatives between 2016 and 2018, the nature of this initiative can be seen as follows:
• Kerry Initiative: John Kerry introduced the initiative in August 2016, following a meeting with foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the United Kingdom and former UN envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed), at a time when there was no fragmentation within the two main parties to the war (Houthis and General People’s Congress on one hand and the Arab Coalition on the other hand). The first phase of the initiative included the formation of a national unity government, with one third for each party (Hadi and his allies, the Houthis, and the General Congress Party), power-sharing among the warring forces, and the withdrawal of gunmen from Sana’a and other cities, including towns and villages on border with Saudi Arabia, as well as the delivery of heavy weapons, including ballistic missiles, held by al-Houthis, to a neutral third party. The plan stipulates that political actions come before security measures, but the government has rejected that. The plan also stipulates that President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi gives part of his powers to a "consensus deputy" whom should be approved by all parties, which was rejected by the legitimate government as well.
• Matisse / Pompeo Initiative: In October 2018, after meetings between the UN envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths' and Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State, and James Matisse, US Secretary of Defense. The two men called for an end to the fighting. Britain's Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt moved in a tour that included Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Tehran and Oman, to support Griffith's efforts in Yemen. He also visited Aden, where the Yemeni government is located, threatening the failure of international agreements.
Pompeo and Matisse spoke in separate meetings and statements on ways to stop the war in Yemen and their country's perception of resolving the crisis and stopping the war:
• The Houthis will stop firing rockets and drones into Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The coalition will then have to stop air strikes targeting the Houthis in residential areas. It is noticeable that the Houthis have already begun to implement this point by announcing the initiative in September 20, 2019.
• Establishing a demilitarized border area between Yemen and Saudi Arabia.
• Withdrawing heavy arms such as ballistic missiles from Yemen “nobody will invade Yemen,” said Matisse.
• Houthi autonomous region in northern Yemen "in order to be independent, to abandon Iran and get their voice heard."Pompeo / Matisse / Kerry consider the Houthis a minority and the Yemeni and Saudi governments address has highlighted the fact that the Houthis are a minority - and as the world tends to empower minorities who usually feel they are oppressed – so this makes the Houthis in a self-defense battle rather than a coup against the legitimate government.
The US Congressional pressure to stop the war in Yemen forces the Trump administration to go too far to press its Saudi and Emirati allies to stop the Yemen war. Claims among US lawmakers increased following the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at his country's embassy in Istanbul (October 2018). In March 2019, the Senate voted on a resolution to stop Washington's support for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in Yemen. Although the resolution passed through the House of Representatives, Trump vetoed it. At the same time, EU countries are pushing to stop the war by stopping arms exports to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, Germany and Norway, for example.
The Griffiths Principles:
These initiatives were not isolated US ones but rather a larger orientation to the UN peace initiative.
- First, the monopoly of force must be restored to the Yemeni government, and no party outside the state should be allowed to use violence to achieve its goals. This is a simple but absolute demand, and the militias fighting on Yemen's soil must be replaced by the exclusive power of the state. This can be achieved through a UN-supervised process of gradually transferring weapons from militias to the new government.
- Second, the government must be more than just an alliance, but a comprehensive partnership between political parties that now take different sides. This state requires the resolution of disputes through politics and this force should serve it, not threaten it.
- Third, the government must ensure that its country never attack neighboring countries or even beyond. This agreement must be between Yemen's new leaders and the countries bordering Yemen.
- Fourth, the Government will adopt and abide by its historical responsibility of ensuring the safety of international trade, which has been based, for thousands of years, on the maritime security. Yemen shall guard its borders and countries, which benefit from the maritime security, shall support it.
- Fifth, the Yemeni people will eliminate the terrorist threat we see now and ban it from existing in their country.
- Sixth, Yemen's neighbors will ensure the prosperity and stability of its population through trade and generosity that will allay the fears of this war.
- Seventh, it will be the Yemeni people and their leaders who decide the future of their state. No need for others to interfere in it. Yemen's future shape can, and should, be determined only by Yemenis who are free from the pressures of war and willing to negotiate their country's future in good faith.
Beyond the Three References: The peace process in Yemen remained constrained by the three references of the Gulf Initiative and its Executive Mechanism (2011); the outcomes of the National Dialogue (2014); and Security Council resolution 2216 (2015), which refers to the legitimacy and authority of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, the restoration of state institutions from the Houthis and the delivery of weapons. It is this legitimacy that gave the Arab coalition the legitimacy to intervene in Yemen and losing it would mean more troubles for Saudi Arabia in its foreign policy and it will pay a heavy price. The United Nations and other countries believe that the recent events, managed by the UAE, in the south of the country should prompt the Security Council to adopt a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire and updating the UN-led negotiations to include southern separatists to end the war and establish another transitional period, as US visions suggest that it should be without President Hadi. However, with the Saudi opposition to any new resolution, and the possibility that the United States may use the veto against such a decision, this new resolution remains a far-reaching possibility.
What points to a joint American / International desire to reduce the powers of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi or to transfer his powers to a new deputy, whom all agree upon, is what the Yemeni president said after his meeting with a US official that "elections" is the way to leave power.
The postponement of war: Any compromise that does not begin with the restoration of heavy weapons from the Houthis and other militias, funded by external parties, means the postponement of war to the future and there will be small wars that maybe difficult to stop or resolve.
• Opening the door to new parties on negotiating table: Opening the negotiating table for new parties means opening the door for every formation that constitutes a new militia to be part of the authority and the transition. This is what Griffiths focuses on to resolve the crisis in Yemen.
The United States is leading a dangerous game in Yemen, pushing for a new tactic in its campaign against Iran, not in support of its traditional allies in the Gulf. It could eventually push for Iranian-US understandings that would include a settlement of the situation in Yemen and the region, but at the same time, it would be away from the national security concerns of the Middle East. It will preserve Washington's interests, which it has repeatedly said that it is no longer responsible for protecting the region.
Providing material and advisory support to proxy forces rather than direct participation enables Iran to engage in regional conflicts with a degree of denial.
The proxy forces are used to shape political developments in specific regions while minimizing the potential costs of Iran, and they can be considered Iran’s tool within the regime for achieving its foreign policy objectives. Therefore, the vision of the United States and its allies that the Houthis could be separated from Iran would be touchable and measurable only if "heavy weapons were withdrawn from the Houthi group" and transforming the group into a political party, its social reintegration, the rehabilitation of its fighters and ending the hierarchy of its "armed militia", not to give the group a special region to run, as the US visions suggest.
The American visions for solution in Yemen should adopt a Yemeni / Yemeni solution, not talks between the Houthis and a third party. The US vision to bring Saudi Arabia to the negotiating table with the Houthis, and the Saudi Crown Prince talk about the possibility of negotiating after he repeatedly rejected it, pointing out that the legitimate government has the right of negotiating, not Riyadh, make the justification for war and intervention in Yemen in the wind and will double Riyadh's foreign obligations. Any solutions outside the three terms of reference make the war more postponed, even though the current humanitarian tragedy in the country is the worst humanitarian crisis the country has seen in decades and the world has known in modern times.
Saudi Arabia's exposure to the Houthi attacks over the past four years may put it under international pressure to go into consultations with the Houthis. This is not new as the two parties [Saudi Arabia and Houthis] previously held negotiations - without a US sponsorship – in Dahran al-Janob to make a truce on borders but it did not last for a long time.
Therefore, Riyadh may go to negotiations with the Houthis in order to ease the pressure, despite the size of Houthi propaganda to show it as a victory in the war. But the possible question is: What is the price Saudi would pay for that?! Is abandoning the legitimate government will be one of the options? Will Iran accept a situation in Yemen that it does not control, and does not exercise the hobby of harming Saudi Arabia through the Houthi state based in the south of Riyadh?!
Some information suggests that Iran needs for an economic stability, but will not allow its Houthi ally to make a truce with Saudi Arabia, only in case it benefits from such a truce and the return of its oil exports. Even if a truce with the Houthis is done, Tehran will seek, in the coming stage of chaos, a new mechanism to move the battle into the depth of the Gulf. Iran may start giving the green light to the Gulf Shiite militias to start armed operations, particularly in the south and east of the Kingdom. All options, other than the option of resolving the war in Yemen, will remain closed for the benefit of Iran and its militias.
 U.S. Plans to Open Direct Talks With Iran-Backed Houthis in Yemen
For first time…Trump’s administration holds talks with Houthis
 Wall Street, previous source
 Mohammad bin Salman denies ordering Khashoggi murder, but says he takes responsibility for it https://www.cbsnews.com/news/mohammad-bin-salman-denies-ordering-khashoggi-murder-but-says-he-takes-responsibility-for-it-60-minutes-2019-09-29/
 Saudi Arabia Agrees to Partial Cease-Fire in War-Shattered Yemen https://www.wsj.com/articles/saudi-arabia-agrees-partial-cease-fire-in-war-shattered-yemen-11569580029?mod=searchresults&page=1&pos=2
 Houthi group denies partial ceasefire from Saudi side
 Eight countries include France, Germany, Kuwait, China, Russia, Sweden, UK and US
 People and two military leaders talked to Abaad in September 2019
 Study by Abaad Ceneter, “Difficult Peace for Yemenis…Can it be born in Sweden Talks?
 Kerry spoke at a press conference in August 2016 about the Houthis as a minority can be read: A reading of the John Kerry initiative to resolve the Yemeni crisis. https://www.noonpost.com/content/13668
 Some media discourse that described the Houthis as a minority in order to de-legitimize them to represent Yemenis helped them, while the coup was sufficient to de-legitimize them. Houthis spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam said after the Kuwait consultations ended (2016) that talking about disarming the group meant "genocide" of the group and its supporters, a reference to the group’s need to remain in its hands as a "minority."