Yemen’s latest escalation is deteriorating the situation on the ground and putting a strain on the “renewed international momentum” recently announced by the UN special envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths. Over the last weeks, the Houthis launched an offensive to seize the strategic town of Marib, while, on the external front, several Saudi oil and military facilities were targeted. Besides Riyadh’s prompt response, the current escalation risks undermine Biden’s diplomatic efforts to end the conflict in the country. The Yemeni dossier is one of the top foreign priorities for the US president and his special envoy for Yemen, Tim Lenderking, who has been working to open a dialogue with Houthis. After all, the new escalation came after Biden’s decision to lift the Ansar Allah designation as a terrorist group and halt American support to Saudi offensive (reassuring Riyadh about its defence right). On the other hand, Iranian commitment toward the peace process remains uncertain. After six years of wars, Yemeni people struggle to see an end to a conflict that made the country the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in recent history. How can the international community alleviate the humanitarian crisis? What does the recent escalation mean for Biden’s plan? Which role is Tehran playing in the peace process?
Raiman Al-Hamdani, Visiting Fellow, European Council on Foreign Relations
Farea Al-Muslimi, Chairman and co-founder, Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies
Federica Ferraresi, Deputy Head of Mission in Yemen, MSF
Eleonora Ardemagni, Associate Research Fellow, ISPI