By Farzad Farhadi

Will Riyadh end its invasion into Yemen?

December 2, 2019

TEHRAN – A military coalition, led by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the U.S., has launched a war against Yemen since March 26, 2015. The war has so far failed to meet its desired goals.

Along with the news about the Yemen war, borrowing a loan from banks around the world by Saudi Arabia has attracted the attention of observers.

In January 2018, Reuters quoted the Saudi debt management office as saying that Riyadh has asked banks for proposals to refinance its $10 billion international syndicated loan and to help the sovereign raise funds through other means.

The office said the refinancing of the loan, which was raised in 2016, will include a repricing of the facility and the extension of its maturity to 2023 from 2021.

The Saudi war against Yemen has caused a lot of military, political and economic pressure on Riyadh. According to media reports, due to the war, Saudi Arabia has lost all of its cash and non-cash reserves.

A way to take Riyadh out of Yemen quagmire

Saudi Arabia has been caught in the military, political and economic quagmire of the Yemen war. The war, which Mohammad bin Salman did not expect to last more than three years, has been raging for nearly five years and putting unbearable pressure on the Saudi economy. That is why Riyadh is looking for a way to take itself out of the trouble. Mahdi al-Mashat, chief of the Houthi political office, put forward the solution that the Saudis needed.
 
On September 20, al-Mashat announced a conditional ceasefire, calling on the coalition to halt the war and seize the opportunity of ceasefire. 

According to military experts, the Yemeni conditional peace plan was presented at a time when Yemen was at the height of its power, the most important proof of which was the strikes on the Aramco oil facilities. 

The strikes were so severe that prompted various reactions internationally.
 
The important point of the plan is that it was presented by the Supreme Political Council, which is currently the most powerful organization in Yemen.

The Saudis slowly seized the opportunity to get out of the Yemen deadlock. In the meanwhile, Muscat became a place for two sides involved in the war to reach an agreement.

Muscat, a host with a positive and effective role

Officials from both Yemen and Saudi Arabia told the Associated Press on November 13 that both sides are holding indirect, behind-the-scenes talks to end the devastating five-year war in Yemen.

The news agency said the negotiations are taking place with Oman, a Persian Gulf Arab country that borders both Yemen and Saudi Arabia, as mediator. 

It said Oman has positioned itself as a quiet mediator in the past and in a possible sign the back-channel talks could be stepping up, Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman arrived in Muscat on November 11.

It said the current talks focus on interim goals, such as re-opening Yemen’s main international airport in Sanaa, shut down by the Saudi-led coalition in 2016. According to AP, also under discussion is a buffer zone along the Yemen-Saudi border in areas under Houthi control.

However, the best solution for Saudi Arabia and the UAE is to take a serious step to stop the war. The release of 200 Yemeni captives by Saudi Arabia and the arrival of 128 of them is a promising move by Riyadh, which, if continued, can prepare the ground for ending war and easing Yemenis’ pain.


 

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