Report (Debriefer) - Grip is gradually tightened on the Yemeni UN-recognized government and its troops stationed in Marib, amid growing warnings that the northeastern city could be seized by the Iranian-backed Houthi group.
The warnings mostly imply a covert role played by the United Arab Emirates (key partner in the Saudi-led coalition backing the official government) to abandon a strategic province used by this government as main center for its military forces.
Yemeni activists and analysts believe there is an Emirati vicious plot to make the government kneel down and serve Abu Dhabi expansionism in Yemen, by handing Marib to Houthis after the Gulf state has apparently been given green-light by the UK to do so.
"The UAE thinks that enabling the Houthis to seize, or at least to make an advance toward, Marib would contribute to leveling the political ground for next deals through weakening the legitimate government and expelling the Islah party (seen by Abu Dhabi as the first enemy) from the Yemeni political game," analysts told Debriefer.
"The Saudi decision sacking the coalition joint forces' commander, Fahd Bin Turki, cannot be seen away from the developments in Yemen, particularly in Marib.
"Emirates saw if he stayed at the top of the command the Saudi Fahd would pose a stumbling block before Marib defeat plot. Thus, Abu Dhabi pressed the Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman to accelerate the sack decree.
"Riyadh perhaps doesn't feel the risk of passing such a plot that would more harm it than the Yemeni government and Islah party," they added.
A defeat of the Yemeni government in Marib will mean Saudi loss, the Yemeni resigned minister of transport, Saleh al-Jabwani, said Thursday, hinting at Emirati collusion to hand Marib to Houthis.
"It's not strange for the Houthis to attack Marib from seven fronts, in coincidence with the arrival of hundreds of new armored vehicles to brigades affiliated to the Southern Transitional Council [STC] in Abyan where fighting is underway.
"There is undeclared alliance between the Houthis and the Emirati-backed STC. This alliance threatens the Kingdom," the Islah-affiliated minister added.
The Houthi group has recently escalated attacks on the oil-rich governorate, as the STC forces step up infighting against the official army in the southern governorate of Abyan.