What Awaits Yemen After Hodeida?

By Norman T. Roule

Norman T. Roule is a geopolitical and energy consultant who served for 34 years in the Central Intelligence Agency, managing numerous programs relating to Iran and the Middle East. He served as the National Intelligence Manager for Iran (NIM-I) at the ODNI from 2008 until 2017. As NIM-I, he was the principal Intelligence Community (IC) official responsible for overseeing all aspects of national intelligence policy and activities related to Iran, to include IC engagement on Iran issues with senior policymakers in the National Security Council and the Department of State.

In the second part of a Cipher Brief two-part series on the significant implications of the battle for Hodeida, Cipher Brief Expert Norm Roule, who is also the ODNI’s former National Intelligence Manager for Iran, shares his secrets for understanding how today’s actions are influenced by the past and how that understanding may shape the future.

The Battle of Hodeida is underway in force.  Coalition forces now control a strip of territory along the Red Sea coast and most of Hodeida airport.  These are important successes, but the combination of Coalition unwillingness to risk civilian casualties, the dense urban fighting environment, and the importance of the port city to the Houthis, means that expulsion of Houthi forces will take time, although control of the airport and port itself will likely be achieved soon.  It remains an open question whether the operation will achieve the Coalition’s ultimate goal of forcing the Houthis to return to the negotiating table with the legitimate Yemeni government.

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