Iran Agrees to Stop Arming Houthis in Yemen

    Iran Agrees to Stop Arming Houthis in Yemen
    Last updated Mar 17, 2023
    Image credit: Dion Nissenbaum, Summer Said and Benoit Faucon/Wall Street Journal


    • As part of a China-brokered deal to re-establish diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia, Iran has agreed to halt covert weapons shipments to its Houthi allies in Yemen, according to US and Saudi officials. The development is being hailed as a positive step towards ending one of the region's longest-running civil wars.[1]
    • In 2014, Iranian-linked Houthi rebels seized the capital of Yemen, Sanaa. Then, in 2015, neighboring Saudi Arabia led a military intervention to support Yemeni government forces. The war has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and displaced millions. A truce introduced in April 2022 expired in October without the Yemeni government and Houthis coming to an agreement.[2]
    • Saudi Arabia has invested hundreds of billions of dollars into the military campaign in Yemen, but is now looking to de-escalate the conflict amid efforts to rebrand and attract investors under the Vision 2030 plan.[3]
    • Tehran has publicly denied claims that it supplied the Houthis with weapons, but UN inspectors have traced seized shipments back to Iran. Officials from both countries say Iran will press the Houthis to end attacks on Saudi Arabia, as well as work to limit the group's ability to launch attacks and gain ground with the arms embargo.[4]
    • Diplomats reportedly hope to come to a new deal on extending the cease-fire before the start of Ramadan, but the US government says that deadline could be difficult to meet. Efforts to resurrect the official truce and jump-start political talks aimed at ending the war have foundered for months.[1]


    Pro-establishment narrative

    The Houthis have continued to threaten peace and security in Yemen since they launched their coup in 2014. However, through mediation, an agreement can be made if the Houthis and their Iranian backers are willing to compromise. Saudi Arabia has always been willing to help bring peace to the impoverished Arab nation, but Iranian meddling has not helped the situation. Ultimately, the conflict can only be resolved through a political settlement, but it remains to be seen what role the Yemeni government will play in peace talks.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    It's the Yemeni government and its powerful Gulf allies who have obstructed peace in Yemen and who continue to punish its citizens for standing up for themselves. A political process like this between Saudi Arabia and Iran is likely the best way to end the war at this stage in the conflict. This is a window of opportunity for Washington to end support for the brutal Saudi war of aggression on Yemen and instead offer more robust humanitarian aid.

    Establishment split



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