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Yemen’s Houthi government approves plans to confront Saudi coalition in south, east 

March 4, 2020 at 5:01 pm

Houthi loyalists chant slogans during a rally to mark the fourth anniversary of the war on 26 March 2019 in Sana’a, Yemen [Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images]

On Monday, the Houthi-affiliated Supreme Political Council (SPC) and the National Salvation Government (NSG) held a meeting to discuss plans to expand operations in the southern and eastern fronts in the conflict against the Saudi and Emirati-led coalition.

Sanaa-based news agency, Saba reported that the plans were approved “to confront occupation” in the provinces currently not under NSG control. The meeting was chaired by SPC member Ahmed Al-Rahwi and the NSG’s Prime Minister Abdulaziz bin Habtoor.

The plan reportedly includes policies that cover four main areas, namely military, security political and cultural aspects, and will be implemented immediately following official sanctioning by SPC President Mahdi Al-Mashat.

Also in attendance were cabinet and Shura Council members from the southern and eastern provinces who oppose the foreign presence of both the Saudis and the UAE and do not recognise the Un-backed government which collaborates with their forces.

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Following the capture of the oil-rich Al-Jawf province, which shares a border with Saudi Arabia, the only remaining northern province under the control of Saudi-backed militia forces is Marib. It is a stronghold of the Islah Party militia who are supported by the Saudis. There have been recent reports that the joint forces of the Yemeni military and the Houthis have peacefully entered into at least two districts in Marib following the surrender of neutral tribes.

It is speculated that the Houthis will seek to recapture the southern port city of Aden, which they seized in 2015 having fought against the UAE-backed southern separatist forces and Hadi loyalists, backed by the Saudis. The UAE exerts considerable influence and control over the Yemeni island of Socotra too. The Saudis and Emiratis have conflicting interests in the south despite having mutual goals in fighting against the Houthis.

Saudi troops currently stationed in the eastern province of Mahrah are also facing a backlash from local tribes who suspect that the Saudis have plans to exploit Yemeni territory in order to gain access to the Arabian Sea and to run a pipeline through that region. The province has its own indigenous resistant movement which opposes both the UAE and Saudi military presence in Yemen.

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