Abu Dhabi: As fighting to liberate Taiz raged between pro-government forces and Al Houthi militiamen, analysts said capture of the province will be a major strategic and tactical win marking the militants’ loss of a bargaining chip in any current or future talks regarding the future of Yemen.
“The Yemeni Popular Resistance gained the upper hand with robust assistance from UAE forces and logistics networks,” Dr. Theodore Karasik, a UAE-based Geo-Strategic and Political Economic Analyst Dubai, told Gulf News on Wednesday.
Dr Karasik explained more importantly, the win in Taiz illustrates the geographical necessity for the Aden government to control key urban and rural areas in Western Yemen. Yemen’s future economic hopes lie in this region.
“For Al Houthis, the fall of Taiz will be the loss of a bargaining chip in any current or future talks regarding the future of the country,” Dr Karasik stressed.
At least 5,700 Yemenis have been killed during seven months in a civil war that has pitted supporters of the exiled government, backed by a Saudi-led Arab coalition, against forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh and Al Houthi militia allied to Iran.
The UAE’s push along with other coalition forces from the air by Saudi jet fighters and by land, including Sudanese forces in Taiz, is part of the Saudi-led coalition’s requirement to control the Port of Mocha. The overall strategic plan is for the government of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi in Aden to control key ports and facilities which the UAE sees as a key lifeline.
The Yemeni army and resistance, backed by Saudi-led coalition forces advanced on several fronts, retaking territories of Yemen’s third city Taiz after sending major reinforcements in a bid to break a months-long siege by Iran-backed militants, military officials said.
Karasik added that the UAE along with other Saudi-led allies want to control maritime supply chain security through the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. This strategic fact is a key goal for Yemen’s future. Who has control over this shoreline is an important step in the future of rebuilding the Yemeni economy via the Hadi government. “Reconstruction efforts, supported by the UAE and other allies in the Yemen fight, must flow through seaports besides airlift to key strategic airports,” Karasik said.
“The Taiz battle is complex where there are multiple sides on the regional level to include militias of various leanings to include local, ground-based interests. Bloodlines play a major role in alliances and the shifting nature of the Taiz battlefront that, in the past few months, shifted back and forth. Now, an alignment of forces is tipping the battlefront against Al Houthis and their Saleh militia allies,” Karasik concluded.
Taiz has seen heavy fighting in recent months between Al Houthi militants and forces loyal to Hadi’s internationally recognised government.
Loyalist forces are inside Taiz, while the militants and troops loyal to ousted president Saleh control the main roads leading into the city.
Along the coast, coalition troops deployed in Dhubab in a bid to advance onto the Red sea city of Mocha, a part of Taiz province which is under militant control, the sources said.
On Sunday, military officials spoke of major coalition reinforcements of troops and equipment arriving to Taiz from Aden.