Is Yemen’s government being sidelined following the Saudi-Iran agreement?

Is Yemen’s government being sidelined following the Saudi-Iran agreement?

After Riyadh and Tehran re-establish ties, there is a glimmer of hope for an end to the war in Yemen, but it remains to be seen whether the various factions within the country will agree to it.

Is Yemen’s government being sidelined following the Saudi-Iran agreement

Amidst ongoing negotiations between Saudi officials and Houthi rebels in Yemen, there are reports of a potential breakthrough, as the Saudis engage in talks with the Iranians while the rebels engage with the Saudis. However, the Yemeni government appears to be absent from these discussions. Recent developments, such as the agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran to restore relations, have added momentum to the negotiations.

Despite Riyadh and others’ allegations of Tehran’s support for the Houthis through weapons supply, Iran has denied such claims and stated its political backing for the group.

There is limited information available regarding a potential agreement between the Houthis, who have been engaged in a conflict with the internationally recognized Yemeni government since 2014 when they took control of the capital, Sanaa, and Saudi Arabia, which has been leading a military intervention in support of the government since 2015.

There are discussions about the potential for a complete Saudi withdrawal from Yemen, while others are considering the possibility of establishing a new ceasefire to formalize the current state of the conflict, which has been relatively stagnant.

The government and other local actors supporting the Saudi-led coalition, including the Southern Transitional Council (STC), feel excluded from the latest round of negotiations, which is a significant concern.

Recent comments from anti-Houthi figures, such as Amr al-Bidh, an STC official and the son of South Yemen’s last president, suggest that the STC’s allies in Riyadh have isolated everyone, leading to skepticism among friends and stakeholders.

Al-Bidh has also expressed concern that if the negotiations extend beyond the truce and exclude the STC, it could be a matter of concern. Despite being a primary force on the ground in Yemen, the STC has little knowledge of the discussions taking place behind closed doors.

Similarly, the government is worried about the concessions that may be made to the Houthis and is left with no choice but to wait and see the outcome of these negotiations.

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