In light of the tension in Shabwa… Yemen 2022 Who will decide the “mother of all battles” between legitimacy and the Houthis?

For a year and a half, the Houthis have been fighting fiercely to take over the Ma’rib governorate (east of the capital, Sana’a), and last September they escalated their attack and made a breakthrough from the southern front; To encircle the city gate on three sides. Towards the end of 2021, a new front was opened in Shabwa Governorate (southern Yemen).

While the Houthis are pushing thousands of militants, government forces backed by tribesmen and fighters of the Saudi-Emirati coalition fortify their defenses with a tight operation, turning the city’s vicinity into a daily point of non-stop fighting in the battle that has become the “mother of all battles” with the entry of Yemen in 2022.

The war had devastating effects; It threatens about 3 million Yemenis residing in the city, including 2.5 million displaced people – who are preparing to be displaced for the second time and some for the third time – with the Houthis getting closer, and in light of the escalation of missile bombardment on the city and displacement camps.

What helped the Houthis to advance towards the city of Ma’rib?

The oil and gas fields in Marib seemed an easy spoil for the Houthis, to take advantage of the pause in fighting on the battle lines in Yemen and the Saudi borders, and to focus their attack on the city.
The researcher Ali Al-Sakani – a resident of the city – says that the fighting has stopped on all fronts, and the “human waves” tactic that Iran relied on in its war with Iraq – where thousands of fighters backed by heavy fire, ballistic missile attacks and drones attack a target simultaneously – Contributed to the depletion and dispersal of government forces that suffer from poor armament, following the cessation of logistical support from the coalition.

Al-Sakani added that the position of the new US administration regarding withdrawing the Houthis from the terrorist list, and the weakness and instability of the legitimate government in Aden, were important reasons for the Houthis’ progress, as he put it.

How to achieve the battle of Marib peace terms?

Since last October, the Houthis have been unable to make any progress from the last current points of engagement; They stopped in the areas of Halhlan and al-Banat, 30 km north of Marib, al-Mashjah, al-Kasara and al-Balaq, 18 km to the west, and in Wadi Dhanna, 35 km to the south.
Government forces backed by tribesmen are struggling to prevent the Houthis from making progress, but the city remains under threat.
Brigadier General Muhammad al-Makroub – the assistant commander of the third military region in the government forces – believes that this is due to the rearrangement of defensive plans, the ability to deal with intense attacks, and the effectiveness of the coalition’s air strikes.
He says – to Al Jazeera Net – that the Houthis have launched daily attacks since last September 21, and lost hundreds of their fighters; Realizing that they lost the battle.
He adds that the facts on the ground have caused disputes between Houthi leaders, a change that government forces may exploit to launch counterattacks in the future. To force the Houthis to peace.

Will the Houthis stop their attack on Ma’rib?

The Houthis insist that the coalition withdraw from Marib, and according to a member of the Houthi Political Bureau (the highest political body), the Assad belt, they will continue to “confront foreign forces.”
He says – to Al-Jazeera Net – that if the other side insists on the military option, the option of retreat is out of the question, in reference to the inevitability of controlling the city.
The United Nations was close to succeeding in concluding an agreement between the Houthis and the government for a ceasefire in Marib, in conjunction with the reopening of ports and airports, but the Houthis insisted that the implementation of the last step should be followed by a cessation of battles.
Al-Assad said that the cessation of battles will not be achieved until what he described as “just solutions represented in stopping the war and lifting the siege, and after that we enter into detailed discussions, or we continue on the front line until the aggression is defeated and the siege is lifted.”
And the UN envoy to Yemen, Hans Grundberg, appeared unable to make any progress to stop the fighting, and in his last statement he only called on the parties to reduce the escalation.
Al-Assad said, “The UN efforts have not provided anything new, and the UN envoy is still conducting his meetings without reaching a clear plan.”
A military source in the group – preferring not to be identified – stated that the air strikes had killed many, and he said – in his speech to Al-Jazeera Net – “90% of our martyrs were killed by the raids of the aggression, but this will not prevent us from advancing towards the city even after 5 years.” .

How will the battle of Marib determine the future of the war in Yemen?

The fierceness of the battle is reflected in the strategic importance of Marib. Nadwa Al-Dosari, a Yemeni researcher at the Middle East Institute in Washington, believes that if the Houthis take control of Marib, the situation will be catastrophic by all accounts for the conflict in Yemen.
She told Al Jazeera Net that “Marib is the last region that stood with the republic and against other projects in Yemen. Therefore, its fall means the fall of legitimacy and the republic, and the Houthis will not stop there, but will control all parts of Yemen.”
According to Al-Dosari, the Houthis are desperate to control the city, regardless of the losses they have suffered.
She says, “There is great determination on the part of the army and tribes, in return for great recklessness on the part of the coalition and the government, and the reality of the field has become imposed by the political calculations of the coalition and some parties in the legitimacy, so the main goal is no longer to weaken the Houthis militarily.”

Will the battle of Marib stop the fighting in Yemen?

According to the latest report of the International Crisis Group, the Houthi takeover of Ma’rib will mark a fundamental change in the war. The Houthis will achieve an economic and military victory, and their image will be strengthened as a ruling authority worthy of international legitimacy, and the loss of Marib is likely to herald the political demise of Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.
The report shows that the Houthis will continue to fight the southern separatists and the forces of Tariq Saleh (nephew of the late President Ali Abdullah Saleh), who are backed by the UAE, if they take control of Marib.
The report estimates that the talk of some Yemenis – who are nominally allied with Hadi – about replacing him with a presidential council will undermine the international standing of the government, and is likely to strengthen the Houthis’ resistance to peace talks.

Shabwa enters the line, will the situation on the ground change?

Late last year, the Yemeni president issued a decision to relieve the governor of Shabwa, Muhammad bin Adyo, who was known for his hostility to the Emirati-backed transitional council, and appointed Awad al-Awlaki to lead the oil-rich governorate, so that all the governorates that belonged to South Yemen – before the unity of Yemen in 1990 – are under the control of the council.
And yesterday, Monday, the Transitional Council – which demands the separation of southern Yemen from its north – blessed the return of its forces to Shabwa, two years after its defeat by government forces, and said – in an escalating statement – that these developments would allow the way to reactivate its role, “chasing the remnants of terrorists and liquidating their outposts that were embraced by the leaders.” Brotherhood”.
Journalist Shaker Ahmed Khaled – to Al Jazeera Net – says that the separatists’ control of Shabwa may lead to Shabwa slipping into a cycle of chaos and sabotage.

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