Houthi escalatory practices on military and political levels in Yemen have made it difficult to achieve real peace, especially with Houthis implementing insurgent tactics aimed at extortion and strategic gains.
Despite talk of significant progress in peace negotiations, the Egypt-based “Ra” center for studies believes that the Houthi rebels continue to engage in military and political provocations, in a counterproductive step to the talks with the Saudis.
The Houthi behavior, according to the center, jeopardizes the peaceful efforts to bring about peace and potentially pushes Yemen back to ground zero.
The most recent of these provocations was the Houthi group’s prohibition of Yemeni Airlines from withdrawing its funds in Sanaa’s banks.
According to an analysis by Ra, the provocative move aims to escalate tensions on both political and security fronts, especially since it wasn't the only provocative action.
It was followed by a drone attack launched against a site within Saudi territory. The assault resulted in the death of three Bahraini soldiers belonging to the military unit participating in the Arab Coalition.
The Arab Coalition is an alliance of countries supporting the internationally-recognized Yemeni government against Houthi insurgents.
Given that this targeting marks the first military operation at the border since the normalization of Saudi-Iranian relations, the center categorizes it as a pressure tactic that allows the Houthi group to gain more in negotiations if they continue.
The attack had followed discussions held in Riyadh with a Houthi delegation, which Saudi Arabia described as positive and fruitful.
The discussions revolved around the mechanism for paying salaries to employees, reopening ports controlled by the Houthis, fully reopening Sanaa Airport, and reconstruction and development efforts.
On the other hand, the attack could lead to the continuation of the war, which is considered a gain for some Houthi leaders due to the financial and military support they receive, as per Ra.
Political researcher Mohammad Fawzi believes that the Houthi escalation undermines any claims of peace by the Houthis and raises a number of important implications.
This includes the tactical escalation strategy, which involves political discourse about political solutions to the crisis alongside on-ground escalation to achieve multiple gains.
Fawzi concluded that the Houthi’s tactical escalation approach aims to achieve a range of political and field objectives that bolster the group’s influence.
In a conversation with Asharq Al-Awsat, political researcher Fares Al-Bayl lays out two conditions for the possibility of achieving real change leading to a potential and effective peace process.
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