The American “Jamestown” intelligence institute confirmed that the Houthi militia failed to encircle the city of Ma’rib (eastern Yemen) due to the fierce resistance of the “Ubaidah tribesmen”.
The Institute’s senior analyst, who specializes in Yemeni affairs and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Michael Horton, said that the Houthi militia has benefited greatly from the dispute between legitimacy and the transitional in Shabwa governorate.
“If the Houthis retain western Shabwa, they will be able to impede the supply lines of government forces and protect their forces by maneuvering in locations southeast of the city of Marib. The move to Shabwa is also designed to protect Houthi supply lines that now run through northern al-Bayda and southern Marib,” Horton added. Supply lines through complex terrain making it difficult for the Saudi Air Force to target Houthi convoys.
The institute confirmed the Houthis’ realization that capturing Marib would be military and politically costly, adding, “Therefore, the Houthis are likely to encircle the city. Such a step will increase the embarrassment of the legitimate government forces while still leaving them to manage the humanitarian crisis that will result from the partial or complete encirclement.”
According to the report, “Marib city and its remote settlements are home to at least one million internally displaced people.”
The report pointed out that the encirclement of Ma’rib will also limit the damage to the city and its infrastructure, stressing that if the city was seized by force, the Houthi group would lose the opportunity to gain the confidence of the local elites on its side.
The report stated, “Saudi Arabia is once again trying to assist the legitimate government forces and allied tribes by increasing air support and funding. However, air support and funding are not enough to prevent the Houthis from gaining ground.”