Saudi Arabia is seeking to capture Yemen’s main port city of Hudaydah in an attempt to gain a “strong position” in any forthcoming political negotiations to end the conflict in the impoverished Arab nation, says a Middle expert.
“As the world has said the only solution to the Yemeni crisis is civilian dialog, is negotiations on the table not through the missiles and bombs that are being thrown and dropped on civilians, day in and day out. So the Saudis feel that their position is weak, they have been defeated, four years they haven’t achieved anything … So Saudi Arabia is in a very weak position. They want to strengthen their position before any negotiations by capturing Hudaydah,” Saeed Shehabi told Press TV in an interview on Saturday.
Saudi-backed militants announced on Friday that they had begun a military operation to take over Hudaydah, claiming that they had advanced towards the northern and the western flanks of the port city.
A senior Houthi official dismissed the claims, saying the aggressors had already failed to achieve any of their objectives due to the “exemplary steadfastness” of the Yemeni people.
Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating military campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the aim of bringing the government of Hadi back to power and crushing the country’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement.
According to a new report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, the Saudi-led war has so far claimed the lives of around 56,000 Yemenis.
The Saudi-led war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN has already said that a record 22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4 million threatened by severe hunger. According to the world body, Yemen is suffering from the most severe famine in more than 100 years.
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