For the past year, Yemen has been in a state of limbo, its messy, regionalized conflict on hold but unresolved. And that’s unlikely to change—for the better, at least—soon. Even if Saudi Arabia and the Houthis agree to a formal cease-fire, the country will remain stuck in the liminal space of “no war, no peace” for some time to come.
While the world remains transfixed by the Israel-Hamas war, other trends that could prove as consequential for the future of the Middle East are gaining momentum. In particular, an increasingly visible transformation of identity discourses in the Gulf and Iran is setting the scene for further shocks to the regional order.
Critics of the proposed U.S. role in a Saudi-Israeli normalization deal have focused on Riyadh’s human rights record. But the real problem with the deal is that it would do little to advance U.S. interests. The stated goal of normalization is admirable. But it’s simply not worth the price the U.S. appears willing to pay.