By Mohammed Al Shaikh
20 December 2018
In my view, the liberation of Hodeidah from the Houthis and the latter’s withdrawal from it are a very important sign, not only for Yemen but for the Middle East as a whole.
As it is known to everyone, Houthis are only one of Iran’s many arms in the region, as ever since their coup till the talks in Sweden, the decision to go to war or to make peace was never their own.
A Significant Sign
Such decisions are made by Tehran. Even the funding and weaponry for them comes from Iran. What was reached in Sweden means that the Iranians have back down from their expansionist strategy.
Ignore what Qatar and Hezbollah say as they are very well-aware that Iran had complied and accepted in Sweden what it had rejected in Geneva and Kuwait and that Iran did not willingly accept to relinquish Hodeidah.
Future events may prove that I am right. Iran’s retreat in Yemen and submitting to the decisions of legitimacy presents the first glimmer of hope for countries in the region. It is a sign that Iran’s control over Baghdad, Beirut and Damascus will advance to reach the phase of upcoming concessions.
In the end, Iran does not care about Yemen but it’s trying so hard to rescue as much as it can of its foreign political investments in the region.
The US economic blockade has started to suffocate it and has made the Houthis accept what they previously opposed. No matter how much Iran’s mullahs and their agents deny it; the fact that the Houthis have abandoned Hodeidah is a defeat for them.
Someone might say: how do you consider their withdrawal from Hodeidah as a defeat, while they are still in control of the capital Sana’a? Iran’s grip over Hodeidah port was a means by which it controlled the Red Sea, with which the West reaches out to the East through the Suez Canal.
In addition, the Houthis cannot continue receiving supplies, except through Hodeidah. Thus, giving away the port of Hodeidah is much more important than their control over Sana’a.
If the Iranians had not really felt how serious the world is about liberating Yemen of their influence, they would not have given up Hodeidah against their will.
What is important now for Saudi Arabia is that the Houthis hand over all their medium and heavy weaponry to the legitimate state so the Kingdom does not have a militia similar to the gangs of Hezbollah neighbouring it, especially that Iran’s attempt to replicate Hezbollah’s experiment in Yemen has failed.
The economic sanctions on Iran have put the country in the worst situation since Khomeini’s revolution. It could not resist the pressure being imposed on it on all sides. Iran’s agents in Iraq are in their worst condition. Many indicators show that their influence in Iraq is diminishing.
The Russians had previously allied with Iran at the beginning of the Syrian crisis, but now they have changed their position because Iran’s presence in Syria does not serve their interests, as Russia considers its relation with Israel more important than its relation with Iran. The Israelis are pressing Russian diplomacy to keep the Iranian monster away from their borders.
Meanwhile, Iran’s presence in Lebanon is facing real challenges, not only inside Lebanon, but also in view of the tunnels dug by Hezbollah on the Israeli border, a situation that might blow up at any moment.
The Houthis’ defeat in Hodeidah is the beginning to defeat them in the region. As for what lies beneath, it indicates that Iran’s control has begun to recede gradually and that former US President Obama’s project which gave the Iranians unprecedented power and influence has failed.
Mohammed Al Shaikh is a Saudi writer with al-Jazirah newspaper.