“Saudi Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man has threat­ened in the past to take the Saudi fight against Tehran to Ira­nian ter­ri­tory”

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - WORLD -

in­for­ma­tion posted on so­cial me­dia ap­pear to cor­rob­o­rate this, show­ing that coali­tion forces and their al­lies are ad­vanc­ing, al­beit with re­sis­tance, to­ward the city. Re­ported ca­su­alty fig­ures for Saudi airstrikes are higher than they have been for pre­vi­ous Saudi at­tacks. On Novem­ber 4, Ye­men’s of­fi­cial Saba news agency also re­ported the coali­tion cut off the Houthis’ main sup­ply line to Hodeida, which a Houthi spokesper­son de­nied.

We would ex­pect to see a new of­fen­sive launched right be­fore an­other round of se­ri­ous ne­go­ti­a­tions. Dur­ing such talks, par­ties of­ten try to im­prove their bar­gain­ing po­si­tions by ac­quir­ing more ter­ri­tory. And it’s hard to be­lieve that the tim­ing of this of­fen­sive – be­gin­ning just three days be­fore sanc­tions on Iran came into ef­fect and around the time that the U.S. called for a cease-fire in Ye­men – is a co­in­ci­dence.

An­other sign that more se­ri­ous talks may be ahead came from Pak­istan. Fol­low­ing his re­cent visit to Saudi Ara­bia, Pak­istani Prime Min­is­ter Im­ran Khan stated that Pak­istan is will­ing to act as a me­di­a­tor be­tween Saudi Ara­bia and Iran, later say­ing that in­for­mal talks have al­ready be­gun. Iran, for its part, said it would wel­come Pak­istan as a me­di­a­tor. These state­ments, com­bined with the chal­lenges fac­ing Iran and the in­ten­si­fy­ing of­fen­sive around Hodeida, may in­di­cate that the chances for a set­tle­ment are im­prov­ing.

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