Saudi Arabia is Doing Everything Possible to Leave the Yemen War

Following its decision to launch a military incursion in Yemen back in 2015, Saudi Arabia is looking to withdraw from this conflict as it tries to focus more on domestic projects. 

The recent decision by Saudi Arabia and Iran to normalize diplomatic relations — a process largely brokered by China — indicates that the Saudis might be starting to hash out a plan to withdraw from Yemen.  

According to France 24, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s “Vision 2030” is going to be the Saudi’s main focus as the country tries to break away from being a predominantly oil-centric economy and establish itself as a modern economy. Ahmed Nagi, the Senior Analyst for Yemen at the International Crisis Group, claimed that Saudi Arabia “is seeking to shift its approach in Yemen from a military strategy to a soft security and political one.”

Ever since the Saudis launched their military intervention in Yemen on March 26, 2015, the Arab gulf state has devastated Yemen with air strikes that has created one of the most devastating humanitarian crises, per the United Nations. 

Per estimates from the UN, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed via direct and indirect causes, with 4.5 million people being internally displaced and over two-thirds of the population currently living below the poverty line. 

Nagi asserted that “military operations, such as air strikes” are now likely to end, noting that current priority is a “diplomatic solution”.

The France 24 report noted that the Saudi-led intervention came following the Houthi rebels’ successful take over of the capital Sanaa in 2014.

Even before tensions have calmed down on a relative basis in Yemen, the Saudis and the Houthis have been conducting back-channel negotiations, which includes discussions in Oman — a traditionally neutral country that traditionally serves a mediatory role.  

Saudi Arabia is currently focused on bolstering security in border areas and halting drone and missile attacks that have been launched at its critical oil facilities, per analyst reports.

“Saudi is currently negotiating with the Houthis to establish understandings that would enable it to secure its borderlands while maintaining influence” in areas controlled by Yemen’s government, Nagi observed.

“This new approach could enable Saudi to remain the key actor in Yemen’s domestic politics, to ensure that no security threats can affect the kingdom in case conflict continues at the local level,” Nagi added.

The Saudi’s original mission in Yemen consisted of protecting civilians from Houthi attacks, restoring the government of Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, and halting the spread of Iranian influence in Yemen. 

After eight years of fighting, the Houthis control significant parts of the country and boast a respectable arsenal of armaments that have been used to attack Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, a member of the Saudi-backed coalition working to restore the Hadi government. 

Over the last few years, Saudi Arabia is constructing a $500 billion futuristic city, NEOM, and a vast array of attractions and holiday resorts. One analyst who has kept tabs on the negotiations between Saudi and Houthi officials claims that “There is a huge focus in Saudi now on development, tourism, mega-projects.”

The Saudis are concerned that “anything involving conflict” will derail investment and stability, the analyst continued.

Saudi Arabia is smart to get this conflict in Yemen wrapped up. It’s even smarter to focus its attention domestically to shore up its economy, which has generally been one-dimensional and centered around oil exports. With the US getting increasingly woke and the Biden regime trying to always scuffle with the Saudis, Saudi officials must start exercising options. 

They will perhaps find better strategic partners in China and Russia as the multipolar order grows stronger and the West grows crazier and less stable. 

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