The New Front in Yemen

What's at Stake in Hodeidah

People displaced by the fighting over Hodeidah at an IDP registration center in Sanaa, June 2018 Khaled Abdullah / Reuters

For three years, the war in Yemen has been stuck in an excruciating stalemate. On June 13, the United Arab Emirates launched Operation Golden Victory, a campaign to break the deadlock by seizing the port of Hodeidah from the Houthi rebels who control most of the western seaboard and northern highlands. A successful assault on the country’s biggest port would change the course of the war, but it could come at a steep cost.  

Yemen’s civil war started in September 2014 when Houthi rebels seized the capital. This extended coup escalated in March 2015, when a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia intervened to counter the Houthis, whom they see as an Iranian proxy. Despite the coalition’s promises of a quick victory, however, the fighting soon stagnated. Efforts to reach a political settlement have been fruitless; the last peace talks collapsed in 2016. Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation has dramatically deteriorated. According

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