SANAA, Yemen – The U.N. envoy to Yemen on Wednesday expressed optimism after meeting with the top leader of the Houthi rebels in a bid to end the country's devastating civil war. In a statement issued before his departure from the rebel-held capital, Sanaa, Martin Griffiths said the rebels expressed a "strong desire for peace" and discussed "concrete ideas for achieving peace," without elaborating. He said he may meet with President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi in the southern city of Aden. A Saudi-led coalition allied with Hadi's internationally recognized government has been at war with the Houthis since 2015, and previous peace efforts have failed. The U.N. hopes to prevent a full-scale coalition assault on the port city of Hodeida, a vital lifeline for a country already teetering on the brink of famine.
The former president was in power for more than 30 years and stepped down in 2011 after the uprising of the Arab Spring, when many Yemenis turned against him. Until as recently as last week, Salah was aligned with the Houthi rebels, which are in alliance with Iran, which is engaged in a proxy war with Saudi Arabia for control of the country.
SANAA, Yemen – Fierce fighting raged Tuesday outside the airport of the vital Yemeni city of Hodeida, pitting thousands of pro-government fighters backed by a Saudi-led coalition against Iranian-backed Shiite Houthi rebels, Yemeni military officials said. The United Arab Emirates-backed Amaleqa brigades, supported by airstrikes and naval shelling from the Saudi-led coalition, have been trying to storm the southern and western parts of the airport, the officials said. However, land mines and Houthi snipers have been hindering efforts to get the airport under government control, they said. "It is a vast, open area and the Houthis have covered the ground with land mines to prevent the forces' advancements," one Yemeni military official said. "It's back and forth battles."
CAIRO – The leader of Yemen's Shiite rebels has lashed out at the United States, accusing it of fomenting the war in his country through a Saudi-led coalition and even going so far as to claim that U.S.-ally Israel is participating in attacks in Yemen. Abdel-Malek al-Houthi's remarks were published Friday in a front-page interview with the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar, along with a photo of him dressed in a traditional Yemeni robe with a dagger worn on a belt. Al-Houthi alleges the U.S. saw the war in Yemen "as a golden opportunity to seek control" of the region. He says Saud Arabia and the United Arab Emirates -- two top nations in the coalition against his rebels, known as Houthis -- wouldn't have "entered the war ... without American desire and supervision."