The death of Saleh al-Sammad the president of the so-called Supreme Political Council of the Houthis in Yemen is, in my opinion, considered as the beginning of the Houthis’ end in Yemen. Killing this agent will weaken the Houthi fighters in the raging fronts, especially that the civil war there has recently witnessed several victories in favor of the legitimate forces and their allies on almost all fronts.
Houthis’ fall, an inevitable destiny
I have known since the beginning of the war that the Houthis’ inevitable destiny would be a huge defeat and a terrible fall as all rational and objective signs clearly indicate this. The long duration of the war does not mean that it is in favor of the Houthis, as some believe, as it has rather drained their resistance and limited their ability to resist falling and defy legitimacy which has all the reasons and justifications to achieve political and military victories as it has the power and the international community and the UN resolutions support it.
Only the mullahs of Iran support the Houthis, and they are now facing international negative circumstances that exhausted them, specifically economic ones, and especially after American President Donald Trump voiced his intention to withdraw from the nuclear agreement.
These mullahs know well that in the end they cannot defy the US and all of the Gulf states, primarily Saudi Arabia. Therefore, they are employing the Houthis, standing with them and using them as a card to exert political pressure – a card they will dispose of whenever they realize that it achieved its purposes of which the most important one today is to be a price to keep the nuclear agreement as it is.
Iran’s blackmail plans
It seems that things did not go as planned by Iran’s blackmail schemes. The Houthis are currently going through rough times and their militias have been retreating and weakening by the day. Killing al-Sammad is a powerful sign that indicates the Houthis’ continuous defeats in most fighting fronts. Given the Houthis’ exhausted situation, Iran will not be able to bet on them or use them as a bargaining chip in regional disputes as it had hoped.
Needless to say that the Houthis are mere pawns in the conflict, and the Iranians will not hesitate to sacrifice them whenever they achieve even part of their goals. Iran will simply dump them in the bin of history once it realizes that sacrificing them will serve the interests of its regional battles, especially that there are other pawns that are more important than the Houthis, like Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq.
Betting on the Houthis and supporting them after al-Sammad’s death, the deterioration of the Houthis’ situation and the increase of news about defections in their camps, in addition to the fact that the Iranians will not stand with them forever due to the international pressures they are facing because of their expansions are all factors that will eventually come together and force the Houthis to look for a way out to preserve at least a small part of what they had achieved in the political arena.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Mohammed Al Shaikh is a Saudi writer with al-Jazirah newspaper. He tweets @alshaikhmhmd