Houthi Offensive in Marib Represents Dual Threat to Yemeni Government

Author
Brian M. Perkins
Content Type
Policy Brief
Institution
The Jamestown Foundation
Abstract
The oil-rich governorate of Marib has increasingly become the focal point of the war in Yemen as the Houthis’ determination to take control of the strategic governorate has intensified over the past several months. Marib is the last remaining stronghold in the north for Yemen’s internationally recognized government and is a key strategic territory not only due to its oil fields, but also because it could set the stage for the Houthis to eventually move into key southern governorates, where fractures between the Southern Transitional Council (STC) and pro-government forces show no signs of abating. A Houthi success in Marib would mark a critical tipping point in the war and a major defeat for the government and Saudi coalition, leaving them essentially hemmed in by the Houthis on one side and the Southern Transitional Council on the other. In such a scenario, the Saudi coalition and the Yemeni government would be left with few options other than negotiating from a position of considerable weakness or dragging the losing fight on for far longer than the coalition likely has the will for.
Topic
Non State Actors, Conflict, Houthis
Political Geography
Yemen, Gulf Nations