Saudi deputy crown prince: Houthi games uncovered

Prince Mohammed bin Salman made the statements during his first on-the-record interview with The Economist

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While Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince’s statements on Iran made headlines on Friday, Prince Mohammed bin Salman took time to update on coalition efforts in Yemen during an interview with the Economist.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman said that “the first objectives of the Decisive storm” in Yemen had already been achieved.

“The first objective of the Decisive Storm was to disable the main capabilities of this militia. The air capabilities, their air defense capabilities, to destroy 90% of their missile arsenal. And then we started the process of a political solution in Yemen, which is a whole different stage,” The Economist quoted him as saying.

The focus now is shifting to a political process while maintaining that militias should not expect any power status on the ground.

“All of our efforts are to push for the political solution. But this does not mean we will allow for the militia to expand on the ground, they must realize that every day they do not get closer to the political solution, they lose on the ground,” he said.

The Economist also asked the prince, who is also the country’s defense minister, whether there is a timeline to the end of the war in Yemen, Prince Mohammed replied:

“Nobody can predict that in a war, not from the greatest of generals to the smallest of generals… But what I could say was ten months ago half of Aden was not in control of government, and now over 80% of Yemeni lands are under the control of the legitimate government.”

Salman’s comments were made during a five-hour conversation with The Economist, marking his first on-the-record interview.