Yemen’s Houthi rebels issue ultimatum, risking escalation of conflict

Yemen’s Houthi rebels, bolstered by Iran, have sent a potent warning to Riyadh and its allies, making clear that failure to meet their demands could result in continued hostilities. This comes as both parties are seeking a resolution to the long-standing conflict.

Brigadier General Yahya Saree, the spokesperson for the Houthi rebels, communicated their preparedness to engage in further clashes should their conditions remain unfulfilled, and should the attacks perpetuated by the Saudi-led coalition persist. During a recent visit to the Jizan region, Saree ominously stated, “If the enemy…does not respond to the rightful demands of the people, represented in ending its aggression and siege, and withdrawing its forces, then we are ready for confrontation.”

Saree affirmed the readiness of their forces to execute any command, including land or naval operations, further intensifying the tense atmosphere surrounding the Yemen conflict.

The Yemeni crisis, which began in earnest in 2015, pits the Houthi rebels, backed by Iran, against the Saudi-led coalition supporting the internationally recognised Yemeni government now stationed in Aden. The conflict sparked following the Shia rebels’ seizure of the capital, Sanaa, in 2014.

The prolonged strife has led to an alarming loss of civilian life, totalling hundreds of thousands, and instigating one of the world’s most severe humanitarian crises. Both factions have been censured by human rights organisations for alleged severe abuses.

However, hopes for peace emerged with a China-brokered agreement in March that saw Riyadh and Tehran re-establish ties, leading to negotiations between the Saudis and Houthis to end the Yemen war. A Saudi delegation even visited Sanaa in April to initiate peace talks.

Despite these positive steps, the Houthis warned that they will maintain their attacks on Saudi Arabia should the peace talks fail. In June, the Houthis, controlling a large part of northern Yemen, accused Saudi Arabia of disposing nuclear waste in the southern and eastern waters of Yemen.

Image Credit: REUTERS/Yemen’s Defence Ministry

Tags : Yemen