Yemen’s Houthis propose armistice after bombing Saudi oil facilities

Iran-backed rebels in Yemen offered a tentative armistice on Saturday, as Saudi Arabia and its allies bombed targets in the country in retaliation for an attack by rockets and drones into oil facilities in the kingdom.

The Houthi rebels’ statement came a day after they attacked several facilities in Saudi Arabia, including an Aramco oil storage facility in Jeddah, sending smoke into the city as it prepared. organize a Formula One race. The Saudi-led coalition responded with airstrikes in Yemen.

The group’s political head Mahdi al-Mashat has offered a three-day truce that will become open-ended if the Saudi-led coalition stops airstrikes and ends restrictions. for ports controlled by the Houthis.

Houthi attacks on oil installations in the world’s biggest oil exporter have worried the oil market. Saudi Arabia, which has rejected US pressure to increase oil production, has stated that it will not be responsible for the oil shortage if the attacks continue.

Over the past year, the Houthis have increased their missile and drone attacks against Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, hitting an oil and gas facility in the capital Abu Dhabi. of the Emirate in January. The attacks have strained relations between oil exporters and the United States, which lifted the Houthis’ terrorist title after President Joe Biden took office. Both countries want more support from USA in the face of the Houthis and their Iranian patron.

Saudi Arabia and its allies including the UAE intervened in Yemen in 2015 after the Houthis took over much of the country from the internationally recognized government. The fighting since then has resulted in a stalemate on most fronts and a humanitarian disaster in which hundreds of thousands of Yemenis have died from malnutrition and disease.

There was no immediate comment from the Saudi authorities on whether they would accept the Houthi offer.

The Gulf Cooperation Council has invited the Houthis along with other Yemeni factions to participate in talks scheduled to begin at the end of the month in the Saudi capital Riyadh, but the rebels say they will boycott meetings. Instead, they proposed holding talks with Saudi Arabia and other coalition members in a neutral country.

Yemeni expert Raiman Al-Hamdani said the Houthi offer could turn into a lasting truce, “with many caveats”.

“Houthis is becoming increasingly isolated and is being impacted by the domestic fuel crisis and is feeling the pressure. Iran also wants to start selling oil again and Saudi Arabia really wants a way out of the conflict, but can’t let the Houthis get away with too much especially as the final attacks on locations oil production in this kingdom,” Al said. -Hamdani, who was a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations.

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