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Houthi forces have made sizeable territorial gains in recent fighting, but while much of the international focus has been on action around Marib City, another important element has been securing control of vital smuggling routes from the Gulf of Aden coast up to Sanaa. While in private many Saudis see the conflict on their southern flank continuing indefinitely – with potentially catastrophic consequences as the missile and drone war continues – recent developments may reflect manoeuvres by the Houthis and other belligerents before any UN-led negotiations are held.
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