The Houthi Militant Group expanded by force in Yemen seizing nine cities including the capital Sanaa in 2014 but it seems the Houthis will not be able to expand in more cities including Marib.
The group has been eying the oil-rich Marib as part of its ambition to tighten the grip on power. Lately, leader of the group, Abdulmalik Al-Houthi, has threatened to seize Marib by force as local tribes have been mobilizing for months to prevent that.
Observers excluded Houthi takeover of Marib for key reasons including fears of a likely economic collapse.
Marib stands as the backbone of the national economy since the country's largest oil projects including blocks producing domestically consumed oil are based in it.
There are also the wells producing natural gas for the country's LNG plant and the main power plants in it.
A military action by Houthi militants in this city will inevitably lead to the shutdown of these projects and then the situation will further worsen.
Oil earnings account for more than 70% of the state budget resources.
No one inside or outside Yemen will allow this to happen, observers said.
Yemen's economy is facing big problems including a budget deficit, declining resources, low activity mainly due to security concerns and absence of robust reforms.
The Houthi protests in August forced the government to cancel urgent IMF-backed reforms which means the government will not allow Houthis to spoil everything especially as Houthis are seen as unruly tribesmen not politicians.
According to official reports, Yemen has recently started to face fund shortages because of the sharp fall in oil export earnings and its inability to absorb foreign aid.
The latest report by the Central Bank said today the oil exports revenue year-on-year fell to $1.6 billon in November and that Yemen imported fuels for $2 billion during the same period.
As part of their support to the transition process, donors and friends of Yemen pledged around $10 billion in aid to the country in the past few years, of which a small part has been used.
Among other key reasons are the attitudes of the GCC states toward Yemen after the latest developments. After the Houthi Group took over the capital, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates suspended their aid to Yemen. Reports said the two countries have rejected an effort by the UN to resume aid on grounds they don't like aid funds to go to Iran-backed Houthis.
Moreover, Saudi Arabia will take more actions to prevent Houthi takeover of Marib which is adjacent to Jawf on the border with the Saudi kingdom. GCC states have recently voiced deep concerns of Iranian projects in their neighbor.
With regard to other reasons, observers said Yemen can't afford more violence and that Marib will turn into a hell if Houthis fight its tribes.
Heavily armed Marib tribes have vowed to defend their city with all means while reiterating their respect to the rule of law and cooperation with the authorities.
A military official in Marib said local tribes are strong fighters and that some have large military equipment.
In this context, observers argued that backers of the transition process are against more violence and should put pressure on Houthis to prevent further expansion by force. This time, a sectarian conflict will surge since Marib people are considered as the origins of the Sunni majority, observers said.
However, some analysts said the status of the group will make it reconsider its actions; maybe it will start to act as a responsible faction after seizing power.
For Houthis themselves, it is logical that their Marib threats could not be translated into a reality after a year of battles.
They have been exhausted militarily after thousands of them were killed and injured in their expansion wars.