President Salih has ordered Yemen's military to "put an end to the battles with the Houthi insurgents within 10 days",according to the Yemen Post.
Whether this is a realistic prospect, or whether it will simply open an even more bloody phase in the conflict, remains to be seen. In a speech on October 14, Salih predicted that victory would be declared "over the coming few days" but it didn't happen.
On Tuesday, the rebels clashed with Saudi forces – reportedly for the first time on Saudi soil. One Saudi border guard was killed and 11 others injured. This could possibly signify a widening of the conflict (the Houthis have repeatedly accused Saudi Arabia of providing military support for Yemen's military) but at the moment it looks more like an isolated incident. AFP cites a website close to the rebels as saying the clash started when Saudi border guards fired on one of their vehicles, killing one person.
The Times interprets the skirmish as a sign that the rebels "have been backed up against the Saudi border" by Yemeni forces.
Posted by Brian Whitaker, 5 November 2009.