Why do the Houthis fear the Saudi-Iranian agreement? Newsweek answers
The Houthis are not hiding their fears about the Saudi-Iranian agreement. On the ground, they are rushing to occupy more liberated Yemeni cities, fearing that Iranian support and arming will soon stop. On the level of statements, they do not stop doubting the seriousness of the agreement, which threatens to weaken their control and the control of the Yemeni people.
Newsweek quotes officials loyal to each of the three major factions in the country’s ongoing civil war as saying: They welcome the deal brokered by China to restore relations between the neighboring kingdom and its main rival, Iran, hoping the development will help end the ongoing conflict, but remain deeply skeptical about its implications.
Newsweek says: The agreement, announced two weeks ago in a joint statement from Beijing, Riyadh, and Tehran, marks a breakthrough in one of the Middle East’s harshest rivalries, and there was guarded optimism that peace could also come for the largely impoverished country that remains divided since widespread unrest turned into full-scale conflict in 2014.
Questioning Houthi Intentions
“The internationally recognized Yemeni government expressed its cautious hope for the Iran-Saudi deal, but the presidential leadership council and its top diplomat remain skeptical of enemy number one Ansar Allah and Iran’s intentions, which are blamed for starting the conflict in the first place.”
“We, the Yemeni government, have been calling for and working for peace since the first day the Huthi terrorist militia launched its war against the Yemeni people, and we welcome any steps or agreements that contribute to stability, security, and peace in Yemen,” Foreign Minister Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak told Newsweek.
“While we have doubts about the sincerity of the Iranian regime with regard to this agreement, we hope they will take the necessary steps to help end the Houthi war.”
The top Yemeni diplomat noted that Ansar Allah is following “the Iranian regime’s approach of not implementing commitments or agreements,” adding: “As such, we remain cautious about the Houthis’ intentions, and we know that they will play with any opportunities or promises to pursue this for their own interests.”
Tehran’s arming of the Houthis
Iran is accused of directly supplying Ansar Allah with weapons, including ballistic missiles and drones used to strike neighboring Saudi Arabia, and the Houthis and Tehran deny the allegations.
In comments shared with Newsweek shortly after the Iran-Saudi deal was announced, Iran’s permanent mission to the United Nations told Newsweek: “It seems that the resumption of political relations will accelerate the development of the situation in Yemen for the sake of a ceasefire and the start of Yemeni dialogs. and the formation of an inclusive national government.”
“However, Ben Mubarak stressed that cutting off these alleged Iranian shipments would be necessary to make progress toward a lasting solution.”
Stop Arming the Houthis
“We specifically expect Iran to stop supplying the Houthis with weapons and to pressure them to accept a cessation of violence, refrain from any actions that would undermine the peace process and engage seriously in achieving peace,” he said.
“Unfortunately on the ground, we see the Houthis conducting military escalation and opening new battlefronts in Marib and other areas in Yemen,” he added.