Cairo: Yemeni government has vowed to use all options including the military force to rout Al Houthis after the collapse of UN-brokered talks in Geneva due to the Iran-allied militants’ intransigence earlier this week.
The talks, which would have been the first in two years, fizzled out after Al Houthis failed to attend. UN peace envoy Martin Griffiths said he would make new efforts to set the scene for a new round
“All options are open for the government to restore the Yemeni state from the Al Houthi coup,” spokesman for the Yemeni government Rajeh Badi said in remarks published on Monday.
In late 2014, Al Houthis staged a coup against the internationally recognised government, and overran the capital Sana’a and other territory of the country.
In 2015, an Arab coalition, led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, intervened in Yemen at the government’s request after the Iran-supported militants advanced on the southern city of Aden, the temporary capital of the country after their takeover of Sana’a.
“We are fighting a sacred war to regain our freedom from a despotic and backward project. Therefore, we will use all means. Perhaps the military option is the most prominent of all available options,” Badi told Al Hayat newspaper.
The official said that Griffiths has not informed the Yemeni government of a date for a new round of consultations. “Given that the UN and its envoy were unable to bring Al Houthis to Geneva on September 6, any talk of a new round of talks now becomes absurd,” Badi said.
Griffiths played down Al Houthis’ failure to go to Geneva, saying their no-show did not block Yemen’s peace process.
Some analysts disagree with the former British diplomat. “Although the political solution is necessary, it is increasingly dependent on the military action on the ground,” said Adnan Mansour, a Yemeni analyst living in Cairo. “Obviously, Al Houthis will not agree to sit at the negotiating table and accept a political solution unless they are weakened and their sources [of funding] are cut off,” he told Gulf News.
Mansour singled out the coastal city of Hodeida, being controlled by Al Houthis, as a main target for the military action.
“After the non-start of the consultations, the legitimacy [government] forces and the Arab Coalition have no option but to advance against Al Houthis and defeat them especially in Hodeida [as the city is] the sole lifeline for the militia,” he said.
In June, government loyalists, supported by the coalition, unleashed a major offensive to expel Al Houthis from the city. They have since gained territory there, including the Hodeida airport. Hodeida is strategically important due to its vital seaport.
“Military and political rules dictate that Al Houthis’ control of the Hodeida port should be ended. This will deal a crushing blow to them,” Mansour added.
In the past few days, the coalition-supported forces have stepped up their fight over Hodeida. On Monday, coalition warships targeted Al Houthis’ arms warehouses in Hodeida, a military source said.
Four explosions rocked Hodeida, resulting from the attack that destroyed the warehouses on the northern outskirts of the city, the source told Yemeni news portal Adan Al Ghad.
The Yemeni army has also tightened the noose around Al Houthis on the eastern edges of Hodeida with the aim of cutting off a major supply route for the militia between Hodeida and Sana’a.
Fighting and coalition airstrikes in the area killed at least 100 Al Houthi militiamen, field sources told Saudi newspaper Asharq Al Awsat.
Meanwhile, tribal leaders told AP that four Al Qaida militants were killed in a suspected US drone strike in South Yemen.
The strike targeted a gathering of Al Qaida extremists in the southern province of Abyan, killing the four including a field commander.
The US has repeatedly mounted air strikes in Yemen against insurgents from Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, an active branch of the radical organisation.