Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat—Iranian advisers will be accompanying the delegation which the Shi’ite Houthi movement will send to Geneva to hold talks with Yemen’s internationally recognized government, diplomatic sources told Asharq Al-Awsat on Wednesday.
“The Iranian advisers will be present during the meetings in Geneva in an indirect way, so they will not necessarily be present inside the main meeting room. But the Houthis will nonetheless be receiving directions from them regarding Iran’s political view regarding the current crisis in Yemen,” the sources said.
The advisers will comprise those from the military, political and legal fields, the sources said.
They will be seeking to help the Houthis delay the enactment of the outcomes of a UN Security Council resolution on Yemen which stipulates the group, which staged a coup in February against internationally recognized President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, vacate areas of the country under its control.
Yemen’s government has set compliance with the resolution as a precondition for attending the meetings and withdrew from a previous Geneva meeting with the Houthis, which was due on May 28, citing the group’s noncompliance with Resolution 2216.
UN Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed has reportedly obtained promises from the Houthis they will abide by the outcomes of the resolution, though he has received no ironclad agreement from the group.
The sources said that along with Iran Russia has also been advising the Houthis, and both are seeking to gain international legitimacy for the group.
According to the sources, Moscow and Tehran have worked out a plan to help the Houthis ensure nothing concrete is agreed during the meetings in Geneva, due on June 14, and to force another round of meetings to take place in future.
The current crisis in Yemen began when the Houthis’ militias occupied Sana’a in September of 2014, taking over government, military and media buildings and facilities.
The group then began to spread across the country, and eventually placed President Hadi as well as Prime Minister Khaled Bahah under house arrest in Sana’a when they staged a coup in February.
Both Hadi and Bahah eventually escaped their house arrest, with Hadi heading to Riyadh in March to ask for military intervention from Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies in order to restore political legitimacy in the country.
The Saudi-led air campaign began on March 26. It officially ended a month later but airstrikes have continued due to the Houthis launching attacks near the Saudi border and continuing to target civilians.