The military expansion of the Houthis and forces loyal to Ali Abdullah Saleh into Southern Yemen in February 2015, after the flight of president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi to Aden, exacerbated the north-south division of the country, highlighting its fragmentation. This led to a strong military response in the South to what appeared to be a new invasion by Northern forces after the 1994 war: from that moment on, new military and political orientations have risen in the South, as well as increased popular support for separatism.
The rise of the Houthi upended the tribal political alliances that formed the backbone of republican Yemen in the north but without altering the dominance of tribes and tribalism. The Houthi adroitly manipulated local tribal politics in the north during many years of conflict to defeat the Houthi enemies in the tribal leadership that had dominated the north under the Saleh regime. At the same time, the Houthi attacked the political bases of the Islah party and the allied military forces of Ali Mohsin al-Ahmar.
In this summer of geopolitical realignments, Oman confirms to be the subtle centre of Middle Eastern diplomacy: in these days, Muscat has been hosting informal talks on the Yemeni crisis and seeks to find a minimum room for dialogue about Syria. Oman is the first Arab country that has received Damascus’ foreign minister since 2011.