Yemeni media revealed a visit of two leaders of the Houthi group to the capital Riyadh and considered that it was part of dialogues to end the Yemen war and reach a mutual truce with the Saudi regime.
Al-Houthi leaders, Major General Ali al-Kahlani and Hussein al-Azzi, deputy foreign minister of the unrecognized Houthi government in Sanaa, visited the Kingdom in early November for a US-sponsored dialogue with Riyadh.
Earlier this week, Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Khalid bin Salman, who began receiving the Yemeni dossier, visited Oman and met Sultan Qaboos bin Said.
It is a visit counted by observers as part of efforts to end the war in Yemen, and a rapprochement between Riyadh and the Houthis, sponsored by Muscat, the most prominent mediators of the Yemeni file.
This coincided with what international news agencies have reported on Riyadh talks with the Houthi rebels and the disclosure of an open channel between the two sides since 2016.This corresponds to Gulf talks about the possibility of separating the Houthis from Iran, the group’s ally.
These developments came days after the signing of the Riyadh agreement between the Yemeni government and the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council, and talk of the possibility of extending the agreement to include the Houthis, and lead to a comprehensive political solution to end the war, which made most of the population of Yemen need humanitarian assistance.
Among the provisions of the Riyadh agreement, signed on the fifth of this month, the formation of a government that shares the provinces of the south and north portfolios.
Abdul Hakim Hilal, a Yemeni journalist, said that bin Salman’s visit to Oman came in the context of seeking political solutions through direct dialogue with the Houthi group, in light of a Saudi desire that the Riyadh agreement pave the way for future agreements for a comprehensive solution to the Yemeni issue.
He added that the visit aimed to hold direct meetings with the Houthi leaders and their representatives in the political dialogue, and to ask the Omani leadership to mediate to facilitate this dialogue.
The head of the Yemeni Center for Studies Faisal Ali pointed to the “Khalid bin Salman” became responsible for the Yemeni file, accompanied by the Chief of Staff and the Saudi ambassador to Yemen, which confirms that the visit regarding the Yemeni file.
He added that there is a settlement in the Yemeni file and that Oman, as a Gulf state, is meant to be in the picture, but wondered: “Do the Gulfs collectively consider sharing the legacy of Yemen, in light of the weakness of the contenders, who have not remained a way of reconciliation among them, although they are fighting by proxy?”.
He considered that the file of the Yemeni province of Al-Mahra (adjacent to the Sultanate of Oman) and the Omani-Saudi dispute over it were among the undeclared agenda of that visit.
Mohammed al-Muhaimeed, a Yemeni political writer and analyst, also said that the visit of Saudi officials to Oman has to do with the Yemeni file. “Muscat is a semi-permanent headquarters for some leaders of the Houthi group as well as in the transitional council and postman between Iran and its enemies.”
Al-Muhaimi continued, “Oman is disturbed by the Saudi-Emirati presence within the coalition in southern Yemen and in Al-Mahra in particular, and supports the anti-Mahri movement, so the visit after the signing of the Riyadh agreement is aimed in part to reassure Omanis.”
Riyadh is leading an Arab alliance, carrying out since 2015, military operations in neighboring Yemen, in support of government forces, in the face of the Houthis.
Regarding to the presence of Houthi leaders in Riyadh, Hilal said that “Riyadh seeks to close the Yemeni file permanently based on the recommendations and consultations of its Western allies.”
“Therefore, direct dialogue with the Houthis comes in this direction, and according to the advice of the Kingdom’s allies, the Houthis can be isolated from Iran, as a step leading to the conclusion of a Saudi-Houthi agreement ending.
Riyadh is facing multiple pressures to end the war, but any compromise at the expense of diminishing the kingdom’s pledges to restore legitimacy and enable it to restore the state and end the Houthi coup will lead it to a more comprehensive war zone that it will not be able to control.
He stressed that the Houthis are linked to Iran doctrine, thought and legitimacy and cannot abandon Tehran or secede from its policies only out of political piety to achieve interim goals.