Jemenkrieg-Mosaik 730 - Yemen War Mosaic 730

Yemen Press Reader 730: 27. März 2021: Die verheerenden Auswirkungen von sechs Jahren Jemen-Krieg – Teilung der Macht ist der einzige Weg, um den Krieg im Jemen zu beenden – Nach sechs Jahren ..
Bei diesem Beitrag handelt es sich um ein Blog aus der Freitag-Community

Eingebetteter Medieninhalt

Eingebetteter Medieninhalt

Eingebetteter Medieninhalt

... Nach sechs Jahren bleibt Frieden für den Jemen trügerisch – Jemens neue politische Koalitionen: Ein erster Schritt zur Deeskalation? – Das Ende des Jemen: Spaltung – Druck auf die Biden-Regierung, Das Ende der Beteiligung der USA am Jemenkrieg zu versprechen – Jemens Blut klebt in den Händen der USA, und die USA lügen immer noch – Fast zwei Jahrzehnte tödlicher US-Operationen im Jemen – Es gibt keine militärische Lösung für die SAFER-Öltanker-Krise im Jemen – Korruption, UN-Bericht und humanitäre Hilfe – Das saudische Waffenstillstandsangebot – und mehr

March 27, 2021: The devastating impact of six years of Yemen war – Power-sharing is the only way to end the war in Yemen – Six years on, peace remains elusive for Yemen – Yemen’s Emerging Political Coalitions: A First Step Toward De-escalation? – The end of Yemen: Fragmentation – Pressuring Biden administration to pledge end of U.S. Involvement in the Yemen War– Yemen’s blood Is on US hands, and still the US lies – Nearly two decades of US lethal operations in Yemen – There’s no military solution to Yemen’s SAFER oil tanker crisis – Corruption, the UN panel report and humanitarian aid – The Saudi ceasefire offer – and more

Schwerpunkte / Key aspects

Kursiv: Siehe Teil 2 / In Italics: Look in part 2: https://www.freitag.de/autoren/dklose/jemenkrieg-mosaik-730b-yemen-war-mosaic-730b

(cp2–cp8)

Kursiv: Siehe Teil 3 / In Italics: Look in part 3: https://www.freitag.de/autoren/dklose/jemenkrieg-mosaik-730c-yemen-war-mosaic-730c

(cp9–cp19)

Klassifizierung / Classification

Für wen das Thema ganz neu ist / Who is new to the subject

cp1 Am wichtigsten / Most important

cp1a Am wichtigsten: Coronavirus und Seuchen / Most important: Coronavirus and epidemics

cp1b Am wichtigsten: Saudis bieten Waffenstillstand an / Most important: Saudis offer ceasefire

cp2 Allgemein / General

cp2a Allgemein: Saudische Blockade / General: Saudi blockade

cp3 Humanitäre Lage / Humanitarian situation

cp4 Flüchtlinge / Refugees

cp5 Nordjemen und Huthis / Northern Yemen and Houthis

cp6 Separatisten und Hadi-Regierung im Südjemen / Separatists and Hadi government in Southern Yemen

cp7 UNO und Friedensgespräche / UN and peace talks

cp8 Saudi-Arabien / Saudi Arabia

cp8a Jamal Khashoggi

cp9 USA

cp9a USA-Iran Krise: Spannungen am Golf / US-Iran crisis: Tensions at the Gulf

cp10 Großbritannien / Great Britain

cp11 Deutschland / Germany

cp12 Andere Länder / Other countries

cp12b Sudan

cp13a Waffenhandel / Arms trade

cp13b Kulturerbe / Cultural heritage

cp13c Wirtschaft / Economy

cp14 Terrorismus / Terrorism

cp15 Propaganda

cp16 Saudische Luftangriffe / Saudi air raids

cp17 Kriegsereignisse / Theater of War

cp17a Kriegsereignisse: Schlacht um Marib / Theater of War: Marib battle

cp18 Kampf um Hodeidah / Hodeidah battle

cp19 Sonstiges / Other

Klassifizierung / Classification

***

**

*

(Kein Stern / No star)

? = Keine Einschatzung / No rating

A = Aktuell / Current news

B = Hintergrund / Background

C = Chronik / Chronicle

D = Details

E = Wirtschaft / Economy

H = Humanitäre Fragen / Humanitarian questions

K = Krieg / War

P = Politik / Politics

pH = Pro-Houthi

pS = Pro-Saudi

T = Terrorismus / Terrorism

Für wen das Thema ganz neu ist / Who is new to the subject

Ältere einführende Artikel u. Überblicke für alle, die mit den Ereignissen im Jemen noch nicht vertraut sind, hier:

Yemen War: Older introductory articles, overviews, for those who are still unfamiliar with the Yemen war here:

https://www.freitag.de/autoren/dklose/jemenkrieg-einfuehrende-artikel-u-ueberblicke

(* B H K P)

Audio: Der Jemen - Armut, Krieg und keine Hoffnung?

Millionen Menschen im Jemen brauchen Hilfe. Nach fast sechs Jahren Bürgerkrieg versinke das Land auf der arabischen Halbinsel zunehmend im Chaos, sagt der in Essen lebende Arzt und Schriftsteller Marwan Al-Ghafory. Es drohe die größte Hungersnot der Welt, jeder zweite der knapp 30 Millionen Einwohner habe keinen Zugang zu medizinischer Versorgung, während die Corona-Pandemie sich weiter ausbreite.

https://www.swr.de/swraktuell/radio/der-jemen-armut-krieg-und-keine-hoffnung-100.html = https://www.ardaudiothek.de/weitwinkel/der-jemen-armut-krieg-und-keine-hoffnung/87573566

(* B H K)

Film: What's happening in Yemen?

You probably heard, it’s on the brink of famine and that it’s the world’s worst humanitarian crisis but what do you really know about Yemen beyond the headlines. 6 years since the start of the conflict, millions of Yemenis are in need of humanitarian assistance. Over four million are displaced within the country. We are on the ground providing aid, but we cannot do it alone.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZb4HJMSL-s

(* B K P)

Film: Jemen: Der Misserfolg Saudi-Arabiens

Vor sechs Jahren griff eine von Saudi-Arabien angeführte Militärkoalition in den Jemen-Krieg ein. Das Ziel: Die schiitischen Houthi-Rebellen, die sich im Norden des Landes festgesetzt hatten, an der Ausbreitung nach Süden zu hindern. Der Konflikt sollte nur wenige Wochen dauern, doch sechs Jahre später wütet er weiter. Die UNO spricht von der "schlimmsten humanitären Krise des Jahrhunderts". Was sind die Gründe für dieses geopolitische Scheitern?

https://www.arte.tv/de/videos/100627-028-A/jemen-der-misserfolg-saudi-arabiens/

(* B H)

Six years at war: stories of survival

Meet the people finding hope in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis (photos)

https://oxfamyemen360.holoscribe.site/

cp1 Am wichtigsten / Most important

(** B H K)

Yemen crisis: The devastating impact of six years of war

Yemenis reveal how six brutal years of air raids, mortars, gunfire, fear and destruction have devastated their lives.

This week, the war in Yemen enters its seventh year. The country is once again hitting the headlines because a new famine warning is threatening millions of people. But this is only the latest in a series of fully preventable tragedies for the nation, all of which are rooted in the unending conflict.

In 2014, the Iran-backed Houthi armed group seized control over large swaths of the country, including the capital Sanaa. The conflict escalated significantly in March 2015 when Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates assembled a United States-backed military coalition in an attempt to restore the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Six brutal years of air attacks, mortars, gunfire, fear and destruction have today left the country almost unrecognisable.

The coastal city of Aden, once a popular holiday destination, is choked with rubble and ruins. Farmland that flourished green and productive for generations is left barren. Electricity networks are down and hospitals have been destroyed or run out of supplies.

An estimated four million Yemenis have fled their homes in fear and more than 20 million are left in need. Whether it is the schools that children once attended or the roads that cities once relied on for food supplies, no facet of life has been left unaltered.

For humanitarian organisations, trying to stave off famine in these conditions is an uphill battle. When COVID-19 first reached Yemen, families told us they must focus all their energies on finding the next meal, so worrying about the virus had to come second.

Now the country is weathering unthinkable aid cuts, narrowing the window of assistance even further. And every day, more destruction takes place: another clinic or home or school is struck, more people flee gunfire or bombs, and more children starve.

A question people ask repeatedly is: “Why has the world abandoned us?”

In collaboration with local Yemeni photographers, The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) spoke to families across the country about their lives before the war began, and asked them to show the world how they live now. These are just some of their stories.

Ahmed Abdullah was 11 years old when his sister picked up an object and threw it. It was an explosive device, left behind after fighting swept through their home village in Lahj a few months before. “Everything went dark,” Ahmed said. “I was taken to the hospital, but it is still dark even now.” Ahmed lost his sight and his left hand. His brother was killed. Almost every type of explosive weapon has been used during the war in Yemen, with unexploded devices littering the country.

Even physicians and nurses are unsafe. Dr Mohammed Al-Faqeeh once ran a laboratory in Taiz city, which he had to abandon when fighting swept through the area. When he went back to check on it, he was shot in the leg. “People took me to Al-Thawrah Hospital. But I suffer from that injury still. So now I cannot walk normally like everyone else. The health system is damaged, and there are too many victims of this war.” (photos) –by Nasser Abdulkareem

https://www.aljazeera.com/gallery/2021/3/25/yemen-crisis-the-devastating-impact-of-six-years-of-war

(** B K)

Six Years of the Saudi-led Air War in Yemen

Coalition bombings kill almost 1,500 civilians every year, a quarter of them children

Since 25 March 2015 a Saudi Arabian-led coalition of nations, also headed up by the United Arab Emirates, has carried out at least 22,766 air raids* in Yemen with up to 65,982 individual airstrikes. 8,759 civilians have died in the air war and a further 9,815 civilians injured. 25 March 2021 marks six years since the Saudi/UAE-led bombing campaign began.
Supported by the United States, the United Kingdom and France, the coalition carried out a daily average of at least 10 air raids*, with an average of up to 30 individual airstrikes per day during the six years. An average of 1,459 civilians have been killed every year since 2015. 2,336 children were amongst the dead. More than a quarter (26%) of civilian fatalities were children.
Yemen Data Project has recorded a minimum of 18,574 civilian casualties in the coalition bombing campaign since March 2015.

Total civilian casualties: 18,574 - including 3,755 women and children
Total civilians killed: 8,759 - including 828 women and 1,398 children
Total civilians injured: 9,815 - including 591 women and 938 children

During the six years of the air war, medical facilities were bombed 86 times, killing and injuring 211 civilians. At least 293 civilians were killed and injured in 390 air raids on educational facilities including schools and universities. 10% of all air raids over the six years hit residential areas resulting in 40% of all civilian casualties. Water and electricity sites were bombed 150 times, markets 225, farms 703 times. 64 air raids hit food storage facilities.

The annual rate of air raids fell 36% in 2018 and by a further 65% in 2019. The year-on-year decline in coalition bombings since 2017 ended in 2020 when air raid rates increased by 83%.The number of civilian casualties fell to 212 in 2020 from the peak of 8,397 in 2015.

On 2 October 2018, Saudi officials killed the journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul. The incident was followed by international outcry, worldwide media coverage and increased political pressure on Saudi Arabia. In the same month, air raids in Yemen dropped by 37% to a record low in bombing numbers. Prior to October 2018, only during the ceasefire of 2016 were fewer air raids recorded in a single month.
According to data from the GDELT Project, unlike most major news stories that fade quickly, Khashoggi's death maintained nearly constant mainstream media attention in the U.S. from October 11 to October 23 2018 with a new resurgence beginning on 12 November.

Following Khashoggi's killing, air raids briefly resumed - for one month in November 2018 - the rate seen prior to his death before dropping again in December 2018. Not until more than 18 months later, in June 2020, did monthly bombing rates rise to the level seen before the killing of Khashoggi and the consequential international focus on Saudi Arabia.
Other regional and domestic Yemen events have coincided with a change in bombing rates, most notably in the early years of the coalition's air war. The execution in Saudi Arabia of Shia Sheikh Nimr al Nimr in January 216 was followed by a 331% rise in air raids in the Yemeni capital Sana'a in the two weeks after his death compared to the two weeks before. Countywide, bombings increased by 68%.

The northern border governorate of Sa'ada has been the most heavily bombed in Yemen during the six years. Almost a quarter (23%) of all air raids hit the governorate with the highest number of civilian casualties at 3,499.
2,661 air raids hit Taiz, making it the second most heavily targeted governorate. Sana'a (outside the capital city) has seen the second highest number of civilian casualties at 2,939 from 2,570 air raids (infographics)

https://mailchi.mp/f2bae4561818/6-years-of-the-saudi-led-air-war-in-yemen-yemen-data-project-6490760?e=1478ae155f

and abridged media report: https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/yemen-war-saudi-led-coalition-air-raids-six-years

(** B P)

Power-sharing is the only way to end the war in Yemen – if the US supports it

For six years, unrealistic US and Saudi demands for a Houthi surrender have been spurned – but peace talks can still succeed

Less than a month later, a Saudi-drafted UN security council resolution demanded that the Houthis surrender unconditionally to a government that had fled Yemen to exile in a Riyadh hotel. Such improbable terms, because they would not be agreed to, provided retrospective justification for the Saudis having already pulled the trigger – and for the continuation of their war.

For six years, these surrender ultimatums have manifestly failed. Yet despite Joe Biden’s “Diplomacy is back” announcement, they continue to form the basis for the United States’ preconditions for talks, as well as for the Saudi-proposed peace initiative this week. With an identical approach of “you must blink first” laid before the Iranians over nuclear talks, the US is in danger of leading itself into impasses in more than one of its dealings in the Middle East. The futility is most transparent, however, in Yemen: when the Houthis control even more of the country than in 2015, how is it realistic to expect them to accept surrender?

Rather than both sides haggling over ceasefires, the US must offer a vision that reimagines what a power-sharing settlement can look like. But to do so, it must first be understood how and why the war began.

It started with the attempted imposition of a federal structure by the government. Yemenis on all sides – including the Houthis – had, through a national dialogue, agreed on federalism in principle. But there was disagreement on how the regions would be delineated. Against the strong advice of the UN, the government sought to impose a six-region federal solution: it would confine the Houthis to a poor, mountainous territory with no access to the sea or natural resources; separately, the south would be split into two regions against the wishes of southerners and socialists.

In the face of strong opposition, the government pushed its delineation as a fait accompli. Also, against the advice of the UN, instead of broadening the make-up of the government, as had been agreed in the national dialogue, a cabinet reshuffle only reinforced its old composition, to the exclusion of the Houthis. Their response was to resort to violence and achieve their political objectives through military means – even after they had pledged to settle their differences through political dialogue. Six years later, the world’s worst humanitarian crisis is the outcome.

A political settlement must address these contentious issues. Redrawing the territories of the federal state must take into account the new realities on the ground – and this will take time. But they do not have to be agreed before peace can begin. A set of principles in a peace agreement could mandate an independent body to delineate the boundaries of the federal regions.

A peace agreement that does not take into account such considerations will collapse. Unyielding commitment to preconditions for talks are the trees that prevent sight of the forest. Haggling over them has turned into a circular process, with neither side willing to cede ground. Meanwhile, Yemen slides further into famine and destitution.

There will of course be those who say that for the US to abandon preconditions – let alone seek to negotiate without them - would be a capitulation: a reward for the Houthis bombing themselves into government. But from the IRA to the Taliban, there are many examples in recent history of armed groups doing just the same. The US negotiated power-sharing with both.

If the US makes clear to the Houthis and the southerners in Yemen that a settlement containing a fair solution that embraces their concerns is on the table, there is a chance for peace. It must put power-sharing at its core. This may not be ideal, but the alternative is war.

As I know from personal experience, when Yemenis start talking anything is possible. Persisting with demands that were not accepted in 2015 – or at any point over the subsequent six years – will only ensure the war will continue – by Jamal Benomar, former UN special envoy for Yemen

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/mar/26/power-sharing-war-yemen-us-houthi-peace

(** B K P)

Six years on, peace remains elusive for Yemen

On its sixth anniversary, Yemen’s devastating conflict is still continuing at full force.

So what do the Saudi-led coalition and the Houthis intend to accomplish with these ongoing tit-for-tat attacks? Are they making a final attempt to gain leverage before finally entering negotiations to end the conflict diplomatically? Or are they still trying to secure a decisive military victory and end the conflict that way? And most importantly, is there any hope for sustainable peace in Yemen?

To be able to answer these crucial questions, it is necessary to examine the goals set and strategies employed by both sides since the beginning of the conflict.

The end goal of the Houthis: Controlling Yemen in its entirety

Even before the Saudi-led coalition’s first air raids in Yemen, the Houthis had one primary goal they were working towards: eliminating all their domestic rivals in any way possible and gaining control over the entirety of Yemen.

The Houthis’ recent attacks against the Saudi-led coalition and efforts to expand their rule over the strategic city of Marib are the next chapter in the group’s grand plan to create the conditions necessary for it to take control of the entire country.

While there is much reason to believe that the Houthis are still as determined to control Yemen as they were six years ago, they are not undefeatable.

The biggest threat they are facing, however, is not from the Saudi-led coalition, but the people currently living under their rule.

The Houthis’ inability or unwillingness to address issues like unemployment, poor healthcare, and rising gas and food prices in the areas they control turned public opinion against them. Although the Houthis officially continue to blame the Saudi-led coalition for Yemen’s humanitarian crisis, most Yemenis privately hold both parties equally responsible.

The Saudi-led coalition does not have a well-defined strategy in Yemen

Unlike the Houthis, the Saudi-led coalition does not have a clear military strategy or an end goal agreed upon by all its members. After six years of war, members of the coalition appear to have different political expectations in Yemen.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia’s one-time main ally in the Yemeni war, for example, announced its decision to withdraw its troops from Yemen in July 2019, following bloody in-fighting between the separatist group it supported, the Southern Transitional Council (STC) and the internationally recognised and Saudi-backed government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Saudi Arabia, however, is not in a position to simply back away from the war because it became too politically and economically costly.

Riyadh’s primary objective in Yemen is to prevent its regional rivals, and especially Iran, from gaining unchecked control over the country and threatening its national security.

But ending the war now and allowing the Houthis to have a dominant role in the country’s leadership is also not an acceptable option for Saudi Arabia, as it would cause it to lose significant leverage against Iran in the region.

Yemeni actors in the Saudi camp do not have a common end goal or a unified strategy to bring the conflict to an end, either. The STC, for example, is focused on establishing an independent state in the south rather than fighting the Houthis in the north, while Tariq Saleh – who now represents forces loyal to former President Saleh who months before his death switched sides and started backing the Saudi-led coalition – continues to operate with virtual autonomy outside the military command of President Hadi.

Yemeni actors in the Saudi camp do not have a common end goal or a unified strategy to bring the conflict to an end, either. The STC, for example, is focused on establishing an independent state in the south rather than fighting the Houthis in the north, while Tariq Saleh – who now represents forces loyal to former President Saleh who months before his death switched sides and started backing the Saudi-led coalition – continues to operate with virtual autonomy outside the military command of President Hadi.

Although President Hadi and some of his allied forces – such as the Islah – remain committed to the liberation of Sanaa from the Houthis, they lack the political and military will to act independently from Saudi Arabia. They are not fully in control of their military strategies and, as such, are vulnerable to outside pressure.

All in all, no actor in Yemen’s war has a clear path to victory or a plan to end the conflict swiftly and bring peace to the country. On the sixth anniversary of this deadly war, tragically, there is no indication that the suffering of the people of Yemen will end any time soon – by Gamal Gasim

https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2021/3/26/six-years-on-peace-remains-elusive-for-yemen

(** B P)

Yemen’s Emerging Political Coalitions: A First Step Toward De-escalation?

Politics in Yemen are best described as kaleidoscopic. Loyalties, alliances, and linkages within and between factions and parties shift with every rotation of the cell. Most of Yemen’s ever-increasing number of factions and armed groups defy easy categorization. As with all political and armed groups, cost-benefit calculations are ongoing.

Yemen’s interlocking wars have, in many respects, fundamentally altered the country’s political landscape. Yet some aspects of politics in Yemen are consistent. Yemen’s tribes, the north-south division, and networks of patronage remain drivers of both instability and stability—often at the same time. These wars have also spawned new and emergent elites while sidelining many members of the ancien regime. Yet, just as there is a constancy with drivers of instability and stability, many of those elites who have long been a part of Yemen’s political scene remain active and potentially important for de-escalation efforts.

In what may be a hopeful sign, some indications show that Yemen’s established and emergent elites are more willing than they have been for years to set aside old grievances. Old enemies are talking with renewed seriousness about coming together to help stabilize the country—or at least parts of it. The driving force behind these moves to reinvigorate political processes is the recognition that the Houthis (a.k.a. Ansar Allah) are not going to be defeated militarily. Thus, the Houthis’ influence and grip on northwest Yemen must be dealt with politically, if it is to be dealt with at all.

The Return of Yemeni Politics

Since 2015, many of Yemen’s political elites have viewed kinetic military action as more expedient than politics. In light of the Houthi takeover of northwest Yemen, many had little choice but to fight. At the same time, outside powers, like the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia, have armed and funded proxies in their battle against the Houthis and other groups that they deem to be a threat. The flow of funds and weapons from foreign powers have helped sustain a war economy and fed the growth of armed factions in Yemen.

The Kingdom’s slow realization that it must end its direct involvement in the war along with unfavorable shifts in U.S. foreign policy, are driving it to taper support to its proxies in Yemen.

Yemen’s elites, including those emergent and established, sense that the country is moving toward a new transitional phase where politics rather than war-making predominate. This is not to say that armed conflict will cease. At least at a low-level, conflict will persist for years to come. However, the possibility of amassing political and material gains through the reliance of armed conflict alone will be more limited.

Instead, those elites who form durable coalitions, compromise, and deliver security, stability, and economic opportunity will be the chief beneficiaries during this transitional phase. A re-emergence of politics, coalition building, and Yemeni-style deal making are the only viable way of whittling away the Houthis’ influence and control of northwest Yemen. A re-emergence of some kind of incipient nationalism—one seated within federalism—will also contribute to undermining Iranian influence.

The Rise of Regional Political Coalitions

The formation of the Southern National Salvation Council (SNSC) was announced in September 2019 in Yemen’s easternmost governorate, al-Mahrah (Middle East Monitor, September 4, 2019). The SNSC brings together tribal and political elites from a number of southern governorates, with a predominance of Mahri elites.

On the west coast of Yemen, the National Resistance, an armed umbrella group, announced the launch of a political wing (Yemen Press Network, March 24; Yemen Details, March 25).

Launching a National Salvation Front

Moves are also underway to launch a new national level political movement called the National Salvation Front. The groundwork for the front has been laid over the course of the last year by a diverse mix of political actors from the General People’s Congress (GPC), Yemen’s former ruling party, Islah (“Yemeni Congregation for Reform” and also Yemen’s branch of the Muslim Brotherhood), Hirak (The Southern Movement). More groups are also expected to join.

While the three chief architects of the National Salvation Front are politically prominent, the front itself will be composed of a wide-range of emergent elites drawn from across Yemen, especially southern Yemen. They are also from historically under-represented governorates like al-Mahrah. The front will further include a number of elites who were once enemies.

Federalism will be a critical component of national level dialogues in Yemen. A return to the kind of centralized control that late President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his government exercised from Sana’a is not going to happen. Six years of war have permanently altered Yemen’s governorates and their relationship with former centers of power.

Outlook: Fighting the Houthis Through Politics and Peace

Recognition that military action will not defeat the Houthis is driving the formation of Yemen’s new political coalitions. If the Houthis cannot be defeated, they have to have a role, and likely a prominent one, in national dialogues or any future national government. While the soon to be announced National Salvation Front and other groups will be—and are—anti-Houthi, they will have to adopt a long-term political approach to dealing with the Houthis if they want to counter the Houthis’ influence.

The leadership of the Houthis is not without internal divisions. Dissatisfaction with Houthi rule and abuses in many parts of northwest Yemen increases every month. [8] If the fighting stops, the Houthis no longer have an excuse for serious shortcomings like non-functioning state institutions and little or no economic opportunities for Yemenis. They will have to show that they cannot only fight but are also able to govern and provide for Yemenis living under their control. If the Houthis fail to do this, their authority will erode, albeit gradually. To begin rebuilding, the Houthis have to cooperate with national level political parties and regional and international powers. In turn, this cooperation will slowly loosen the Houthis’ grip on power in northwest Yemen.

Yemen’s transition from a nation at war with itself to one that is relatively stable will be protracted. The process will take years to work out and will be subject to periodic returns to fighting. However, if Yemen’s internal political processes—both informal and formal—can begin functioning again, the country could emerge from its current crisis intact. The alternative is a divided Yemen that will never be stable or sovereign – by Michael Horton

https://jamestown.org/program/yemens-emerging-political-coalitions-a-first-step-toward-de-escalation/

(** B K P)

The end of Yemen

Indeed, after six years of war, thousands of missiles and bombs, hundreds of thousands of deaths, and the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, Yemen has fractured to the point that it is unlikely ever to be reconstituted as a single state. Nor will the country revert to a pre-1990 north-south division. Instead of one or two Yemens, there are now multiple Yemens, tiny statelets and zones of control held by an expanding number of armed groups, all of which have different goals and trajectories.

THE SEVEN YEMENS

In the northern highlands, where much of Yemen’s population lived prior to the war, the Houthis hold sway.

Along the Red Sea coast, Saleh’s nephew, Tariq Saleh, heads a group of fighters, backed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), who are positioned against the Houthi frontlines in Hudaydah.

Further inland in Taiz, the conflict is largely between members of the anti-Houthi alliance. The Houthis hold the northern part of the governorate, but Islah, a political party with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, has won the battle within the anti-Houthi alliance

The secessionist-minded Southern Transitional Council (STC) holds the southern port city of Aden after pushing Hadi’s forces out in August 2019. The STC and its affiliated military units are backed by the UAE, which opposes Islah based on its ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

North of Aden, another UAE-backed group, the Salafi-led Giants Brigades, is active in Lahj. Many of these fighters favor secession as well, just not STC-led secession.

In Marib, the site of the current Houthi offensive, Islah is in charge. Hadramawt is split between the UAE-backed Hadrami Elite Forces, who control the coast, and Islah-affiliated units in the interior.

In al-Mahra, on Yemen’s eastern border, Saudi Arabia and Oman are playing a not-so-secret game for influence with local tribes. Saudi Arabia has built up its military presence on the Omani border

YEMEN WILL NOT BE PUT BACK TOGETHER AGAIN

None of these various armed groups — whether Hadi’s forces, the Houthis, or the STC — are strong enough to impose their will on the rest of the country. Yet nearly all of these groups possess enough men and munitions to act as a spoiler to any national peace deal they feel does not adequately address their interests. More concerning still is the fact that the longer the fighting continues, the more armed groups are likely to emerge. The STC didn’t exist in 2015; today it holds Hadi’s temporary capital of Aden.

Combine that with the fact that Yemen has a shrinking economic pie — exports are largely limited to the oil and gas fields in Marib, Shabwa, and Hadramawt — and the recipe is in place for years of conflict to come. In the future, more and more groups will be fighting over fewer and fewer resources. This is already on display in Marib. The Houthis know that in order to survive as an independent state in the highlands they will need export revenue. This calculation is a major reason for the Houthis’ latest offensive, which is aimed at both the city of Marib as well as the surrounding oil fields.

None of the various peace efforts — whether the U.N. or U.S. special envoys, or Saudi Arabia’s latest offer of a ceasefire — seem to understand this. The Houthis do not want to be part of a state; they want to be the state. They are not about to give up at the bargaining table what they believe they have won on the battlefield.

Even if the Houthis and the STC were willing to negotiate to be part of a restructured Yemeni state, there is no guarantee that, at this late date, the state could actually be put back together. Thanks to a shortsighted decision by Hadi to split Yemen’s Central Bank in 2016, the country has two separate economies. The Yemeni Riyal trades at one rate in Houthi-controlled Sanaa and another in STC-controlled Aden. Newly printed riyal bills, which were issued by Hadi’s government, are banned in Houthi areas.

Yemen’s fragmentation raises a number of challenges for the United States. The U.S. isn’t going to recognize all of the different warlords and armed groups that hold sway on the ground in Yemen. But for a variety of reasons, from counterterrorism to humanitarian and refugee concerns to Red Sea shipping lanes, the U.S. is going to have to deal with many of them.

The nation-state system is the key building block of diplomacy, international relations, and national security. The United States, like most countries, is set up to deal with other nation-states. The military prefers to work “by, with, and through” local partners. But what happens when there is no partner on the other side, when the gulf between what Yemen’s internationally recognized government claims and what it actually controls becomes so great the fiction of a single state finally collapses?

The answer isn’t clear, but increasingly in countries like Yemen, Syria, and maybe even Libya, it is a question the U.S. is going to have to solve – by Gregory D. Johnsen

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2021/03/25/the-end-of-yemen/

My comment: keep in mind that the Houthi faction alone rules 70 % of Yemen’s population and the other “six Yemens” just 30 %.

(** B K P)

War in Yemen: Grassroots Mobilization Pressured Biden Administration to Pledge End of U.S. Involvement

Grassroots mobilization has led the Biden administration to pledge to end the war in Yemen; further activism is needed to make him follow through on his promise and to pressure Saudi Arabia to end its blockade

The coming weeks present a unique and critical opportunity for holding his administration to the task.

Although the U.S. has at various points tried to distance itself from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) violent missions against civilians, the Pentagon has exponentially increased its arms sales to Saudi Arabia since the Kingdom began its airstrikes on Yemen.

In the five years before the war, the United States sold approximately $3 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia. However, in the first five years of the war (2015-2020), the U.S. agreed to sell to it more than $64.1 billion worth of arms.

Weapons made in the U.S. have been used in some of the deadliest attacks in Yemen including the bombing of a funeral hall in Sanaa, where at least 140 people were killed and 600 were injured, the bombing of the Mastaba market, where 97 were killed, including 25 children, and the bombing of a school bus, killing 40 children and wounding dozens.

By supplying the Saudi/Emirati-led coalition with these weapons, spare parts, and tactical and intelligence assistance, United States participation in this war has played a key role in perpetuating the humanitarian crisis.

As a result of years of grassroots organizing, advocacy, and mounting pressure that culminated in the day of action, the Biden administration has announced a number of significant decisions about Yemen. On the day of action, his administration announced they would lift some of the deadly sanctions against the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Since then, he temporarily paused a number of arms sales to Saudi Arabia, cancelled two planned arms sales, reversed the Foreign Terrorist Organization designation of the Houthi rebels and, in his first major foreign policy speech as President, announced the U.S. would end support for “offensive operations” in Yemen.

While activists and Members of Congress have rightly demanded clarity about Biden’s policy in Yemen going forward, these announcements reflect years of mobilizing on the part of humanitarians, anti-war activists, constitutional conservatives, libertarians, and anti-imperialists. The President’s statements also represent a tremendous window of opportunity to actually end the war.

In his article, Yemen Can’t Wait: Why a Global Day of Action Has Created a Chance for Change, Chris Nineham explains that a number of factors have made the war unsustainable and unwinnable for Saudi Arabia.

There is a misconception that Biden’s recent public statements about withdrawing support for offensive operations in Yemen, and halting arms sales, are empty promises. Another equally challenging misconception is that a prompt end to U.S. participation in the war in Yemen is guaranteed. What actually happens will depend in part on U.S. civil society’s advocacy and activism.

Biden’s current position on Yemen, while decrying the war, actually leaves room for an increase in complicity in the crisis, in the name of defending Saudi Arabia.

The 2019 Yemen War Powers Resolution, along with widely supported amendments to the National Defense Authorization Acts over the past three years, provided an impetus for Biden to make ending participation in the war on Yemen a foreign policy priority. These historic pieces of legislation to stop the war came about only because of years of tireless activism on the part of Yemeni Americans and their allies.

In light of President Biden’s recent attack on Syria, which again violates congressional war powers, it is clear that Congress must continue to exercise its muscle to ensure a complete and permanent end to U.S. participation in the war on Yemen.

To this end, Congress should ratify an end to military participation in the war in Yemen this year. This should include the original Smith-Khanna-Schiff-Jayapal amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would ratify an end to spare parts transfers for the war.

Given Biden’s commitment to end all support for offensive operations in Yemen, he should stop backing the blockade and call on the UN Security Council to press Saudi Arabia to lift it.

Thus far, President Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have failed to even acknowledge the blockade, instead putting the onus on the Houthi rebels to resolve the conflict.

A first step to a negotiated peace settlement must be a lifting of the blockade.

Riedel and other experts advocate for a new UN Security Council resolution on Yemen, which should mandate a lifting of the blockade. The current resolution, drafted in 2015 by Saudi Arabia, is lopsided in placing responsibility for the war on the Houthi rebels, while saying nothing about the roles of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and their backers.

It is time for the U.S. to take responsibility for the devastation of the Saudi-imposed blockade against the Yemeni people, and ensure it is lifted without delay.

Biden was part of the administration that helped start the war on Yemen. Now it is his responsibility to remove the U.S. from the war, press U.S. allies to end the conflict, and secure the provision of funds necessary for the reconstruction of the country – By Ellie Baron and Isaac Evans-Frantz

https://covertactionmagazine.com/2021/03/26/war-in-yemen-grassroots-mobilization-pressured-biden-administration-to-pledge-end-of-u-s-involvement/

(** B K P)

Yemen’s Blood Is on US Hands, and Still the US Lies About the War

Six years ago, on March 26, 2015, the US green-lighted and provided logistical support for the Saudi bombing of Yemen that continues on a daily basis. The US/Saudi war, which includes as allies the several members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, is an undeclared war, illegal under international law, and an endless crime against humanity.

In 1937 the Nazis, in support of Franco in Spain, bombed the defenseless northern Spanish town of Guernica, massacring hundreds of civilians gathered in the town on market day. Pablo Picasso’s painting Guernica, a shriek of protest against the slaughter, is one of the world’s best known anti-war works of art. Yemen has had more than 2000 days of Guernicas at the hands of the US and Saudis, but no Picasso.

On February 4, 2021, President Biden got a whole lot of good press when he announced that the US would be “stepping up our diplomacy to end the war in Yemen.” Biden also promised that the US would be “ending all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen.” Biden gave no specific details. The six-year bombing continues. The six-year naval blockade of Yemen continues. The humanitarian crisis continues, with the threat of famine looming. In effect, Biden has participated in war crimes since January 20, with no policy in sight to end the killing.

On March 1, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken acknowledged that:

The humanitarian crisis taking place in Yemen is the largest and most urgent in the world. Twenty million people, including millions of children, desperately need help. The United States is committed to doing our part, both to provide aid and to help address the obstacles standing in the way of humanitarian access.

That sounds a whole lot better than it is. Blinken did not acknowledge the US role in the air war on Yemen. Blinken did not acknowledge the US role in the naval blockade preventing food and fuel from reaching those 20 million Yemenis. Those obstacles to humanitarian access remain unchanged. The US has the power to remove either one unilaterally, just as it unilaterally chose to impose them. Blinken called on “all parties” to allow unhindered import and distribution of food and fuel, as if the US played no role in blocking both.

Blinken wasn’t done inventing a reality to fit US policy. He pledged support for “the well-being of the Yemeni people” but singled out the Houthis for pressure, even though the Houthis represent a large proportion of the Yemeni people. He called on the Houthis “to cease their cross-border attacks,” even though those attacks are a response to the US/Saudi undeclared war. And then he offered an analysis that would be hilarious if it weren’t so grotesque:

… the Saudis and the Republic of Yemen Government are committed and eager to find a solution to the conflict. We call on the Houthis to match this commitment. A necessary first step is to stop their offensive against Marib, a city where a million internally displaced people live, and to join the Saudis and the government in Yemen in making constructive moves toward peace.

The Saudis are so eager to find a solution to the conflict that they maintain their air war and naval blockade, effectively waging war by starvation – a crime against humanity. The “Republic of Yemen Government” is a fiction and a joke.

Marib City, the capital of Marib Governorate, is roughly 100 miles northeast of Yemen’s capital in Sanaa. Marib City was established after the 1984 discovery of oil deposits in the region. Covering 6,720 square miles in central Yemen, the Marib Governorate is somewhat smaller than New Jersey. Marib contains much of Yemen’s oil, gas, and electric resources. Marib is the last governorate under the control of the Hadi government, but it has been under increasing attack by the Houthis since early 2020. Before that, Marib was relatively remote from the fighting in Yemen, providing refuge for a million or more Yemenis fleeing the fighting elsewhere. Marib City had a population of about 40,000 when the civil war broke out in 2014. Now the city has an estimated 1.5 million people.

The Houthi offensive against Marib has intensified since January 2021. Their offensive has continued in spite of having no air support. For the US Secretary of State to call for the Houthis to stop their offensive is an indication that it’s going their way.

Yemen is an atrocity from almost any perspective. Three US presidents – Obama, Trump, and now Biden – have lied about Yemen while taking the US into an endless nexus of war crimes and crimes against humanity. And for what? To support a Yemeni government that is a fraud? To support a Saudi ally that thought it could win a quick, dirty air war at little or no cost? This abomination, pun intended, never should have happened. So why did it? The formulaic answer in much of the media is usually some variation on this propagandistic patter from Reuters:

A Saudi Arabia-led military coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015 after the Iran-allied Houthi group ousted the country’s government from the capital Sanaa.

This essentially false version of reality in Yemen appears in news media across a wide spectrum, from Al Jazeera to ABC News to this version by CNN:

Saudi Arabia has been targeting Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen since 2015, with the support of the US and other Western allies. It had hoped to stem the Houthis’ spread of power and influence in the country by backing the internationally-recognized government under President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi.

The core falsehood in most versions is “the Iran-allied” or “Iran-backed” Houthis. The grain of truth in that characterization is far outweighed by the history on the ground. The Houthis live in Yemen. They are the only combatant force that lives in Yemen, other than elements of the Hadi government and assorted insurrectionists. Yemen is in the midst of a civil war that has flared over decades. The war that is destroying Yemen is waged entirely by outside countries, primarily the US and the Saudi coalition.

Before it could become clear what kind of governance the Houthis would provide for their part of Yemen, the US and the Saudi coalition attacked the country. Their publicly stated motivation has always included the imaginary threat from Iran. But the Houthis have a long and independent history that does not rely on Iran for its coherence and force. Iranian support for the Houthis in 2014 was never shown to be significant. The US/Saudi war had had the perverse effect of incentivizing Iranian support for the Houthis, but there’s no evidence that support comes anywhere close to the strength of the US and Saudi coalition forces directed at the Houthis. The US and the Saudi coalition are waging an aggressive war against a country that did none of them any harm. Iran is providing support for an ally unjustly under siege.

The war in Yemen has been brutal on all sides, according to reports by more or less neutral observers. But only the US and the Saudi coalition are invaders, only they are committing international war crimes. The Houthis, as well as all the other sides fighting in Yemen, have also committed war crimes, but on a far lesser scale. Yemeni forces are not the ones waging war by starvation and disease.

Ultimately, the Houthis are the home team, along with other Yemeni factions. The Houthis have nowhere else to go. The only military solution to the Houthis is extermination, genocide, the very course the US and Saudis have been on for years, with the winking hypocrisy of most of the world.

In April 2015, with the Saudis’ saturation bombing already in its third week, the United Nations Security Council unanimously (14-0) passed Resolution 2216, which “Demands End to Yemen Violence.” The Resolution begins with an obscene misrepresentation of reality:

Imposing sanctions on individuals it said were undermining the stability of Yemen, the Security Council today demanded that all parties in the embattled country, in particular the Houthis, immediately and unconditionally end violence and refrain from further unilateral actions that threatened the political transition.

That is the official lie that has publicly defined the war on Yemen since 2015. The UN sees no terror bombing by foreign countries. The UN sees no invasion by foreign troops. The UN sees no terrorist groups in a country that has had little stability for decades. The UN cites only the Houthis for their sins, as if it were somehow the Houthis’ fault that, having no air force and no air defenses, they weren’t getting out of the way of the cluster bombs dropped on their weddings and their funerals – by William M. Boardman

https://dissidentvoice.org/2021/03/yemens-blood-is-on-us-hands-and-still-the-us-lies-about-the-war/

Critizising the mainstream US view also look at: https://en.abna24.com/news//yemen-and-myopia-of-us-and-western-imperial-allies_1126056.html

(** B H K P)

After Nearly Two Decades of US Lethal Operations in Yemen, Redress Long Overdue

New Mwatana investigation on civilian harm from US drone strikes and ground raids calls for acknowledgment, accountability and redress

The United States should conduct a full review regarding the impact of its lethal operations in Yemen, Mwatana for Human Rights said in a report released today. In its review, the United States should acknowledge each instance of civilian harm and the wider impact on communities subjected to these operations, work to provide reparations, condolence payments, and other forms of amends, and ensure accountability where required, Mwatana for Human Rights said.

The new report, Death Falling from the Sky:investigates ten US airstrikes—all apparently conducted with unmanned aerial vehicles (drones)—and two US ground raids in Yemen between 2017 and 2019. At least 38 Yemeni civilians, including 13 children, six women, and 19 men, were killed in the 12 operations, and at least seven civilians, six of whom were children, were injured. The operations also caused other types of deep and long-lasting civilian harm.

The significant body of evidence that informs Death Falling From the Sky was collected over a nearly four-year period in Yemen. Mwatana researchers visited strike sites; interviewed survivors, family members, and witnesses; photographed weapons remnants; collected photographs and videos; and examined relevant documents, including death certificates, birth certificates, medical reports, government and military statements, and documents detailing where victims worked and studied, and demonstrating the extent of harm victims faced.

As part of Mwatana’s efforts to seek transparency, truth, and accountability, it, together with the Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic, made significant efforts to seek a response from the United States, including whether the US would acknowledge civilian harm and provide reparation, compensation and other amends as well as accountability.

Death Falling From the Sky follows a 2015 Mwatana-Open Society Justice Initiative report that described the civilian harm resulting from nine US airstrikes in Yemen between 2012 and 2014. Both reports only counted people as civilians in instances where Mwatana found no credible indication of any association with an armed group or armed force.

“Nearly twenty years after the US began its campaign of unaccountable killings in Yemen, civilian victims are still waiting for an explanation and redress,” said Radhya Almutawakel, Mwatana for Human Rights Chairperson. “The Biden administration should not ask victims and their families to wait any longer.”

In addition to its support to the Saudi/UAE-led coalition in Yemen, the United States has continued to carry out direct attacks in Yemen. The 12 US operations documented in this report killed and wounded civilians, had adverse economic effects on families, and caused significant social and psychological harm.

Family members described to Mwatana the grief they felt over the loss of their loved ones. A grandmother fainted after seeing the body of her 17-year-old grandson. A 40-year-old man collapsed after learning his two brothers had been killed. An adult son gathered his mother’s remains. A husband rushed to get his pregnant wife to the hospital, watching her die, accompanied by their nine-year-old son. A mother was found dead, clutching her child. Another mother found her 14-year-old son’s body on fire. The boy’s father could “not forget [the boy’s] younger sisters screaming at the sight.”

US operations take a psychological toll on survivors and on impacted communities. One survivor told Mwatana that more than a year after a US strike had injured him and killed his cousin, he had recovered physically but continued to feel helpless and depressed.

Yemeni residents, particularly in certain areas of the country, have lived in fear of US strikes and the possibility that these strikes may kill civilians, including themselves or their family members, for many years. Half of the operations documented in the report took place in the central Yemeni governorate of Al Bayda, and a third in or near Yakla village—a small, isolated, mountainous area of Al Bayda governorate that lacks most basic services.

People described the anxiety provoked by the persistent buzzing of drones overhead. One man told Mwatana that he and his neighbors had been worried that a strike might occur after noticing an unusually heavy presence of drones in the sky. Three days later, a US strike killed a young man and a boy resting under a tree in the afternoon heat. “The drones have a black record of killings,” he said. In a few cases following US operations, surviving members of families left their homes, saying they felt unsafe and worried about future strikes.

The US operations also led to significant adverse economic effects for families. In many cases, civilian men killed by US strikes left behind large families that relied on their incomes. A few of the men killed were expatriate workers, and the money they sent home was an important source of income for their families. After a US strike killed a man who had worked painting houses in Saudi Arabia, his family reported struggling to make ends meet. In almost all of the operations included in this report, the US destroyed important civilian property, including vehicles, homes, and livestock.

The incidents described in this report raise serious concerns about the extent to which the United States is complying with international human rights law and international humanitarian law in Yemen. The United States is failing to investigate credible allegations of violations, to hold individuals responsible for violations accountable, and to provide prompt and adequate reparations to those harmed.

The report provides a series of recommendations to the United States, including to conduct more thorough and transparent investigations into claims of civilian harm, to abide by all applicable international law, including that constraining the use of force and protecting the right to life, and to ensure accountability and reparations for violations, and provide other forms of amends to civilians harmed, regardless of an attack’s lawfulness. The report also recommends the US does far more to facilitate reporting of civilian harm, including in Arabic.

While Yemeni government officials have occasionally criticized US operations, there is no evidence that the government of Yemen has taken meaningful action to protect the lives of its citizens from the impact of US operations.

“The US has contributed to fueling and furthering conflict in Yemen for years and the Biden Administration has the opportunity to change course,” said Kristine Beckerle, Legal Director, Accountability and Redress at Mwatana for Human Rights. “Reversing Trump Administration changes is not enough. The status quo that existed in 2016 was flawed, unaccountable and resulted in repeated international law violations. To disrupt cycles of violence, there needs to be redress.”

Key findings

This report provides detailed information regarding 12 operations carried out by the United States in Yemen between January 2017 and January 2019.

At least 38 Yemeni civilians, including 13 children, six women, and 19 men, were killed in these operations. At least seven civilians, including six children, five of whom were under the age of ten, and one man, were injured. Civilians were going about their everyday lives—driving to visit friends, bringing food to their families, sleeping in their homes—when killed or injured.

These US operations also caused other forms of deep and long-lasting civilian harm. The incidents led to adverse economic effects, killing primary breadwinners whose families relied on their incomes, and damaging and destroying important civilian property, including vehicles, homes, and livestock. The operations also caused significant social and psychological harm. In a few cases, surviving members of families left their homes following US operations, saying they felt unsafe and worried about future strikes.

The 12 incidents in this report include ten airstrikes, all apparently conducted with unmanned aerial vehicles (drones), and two ground raids in five Yemeni governorates—Abyan, Al Bayda, Shabwah, Hadramawt and Ma’rib.

In only one of the documented incidents has the US acknowledged any resulting civilian harm.

This report raises serious concerns about the extent to which the United States is complying with international law in its use of lethal force in Yemen. It finds that the United States is failing to investigate credible allegations of violations, to hold individuals responsible for violations accountable, and to provide prompt and adequate reparation.

https://mwatana.org/en/us-lethal-operations-in-yemen/

and full report: https://mwatana.org/en/death-falling-from-the-sky/

and a shorter media report:

(* B H K P)

As Biden reviews drone use, report highlights civilian toll in Yemen

Kristine Beckerle, legal director for accountability and redress at Mwatana, said the new report speaks to how wide the “echo effects” are on any particular airstrike.

“Normally you hear reporting about the number of civilians killed and wounded, but you don’t hear reporting about how the person who was killed was the family's breadwinner. What does that mean for the family now?” said Beckerle.

Mwatana says it is not enough for Biden to revert to the status quo under Obama, where the pace of strikes soared and much-touted drone reforms only “marginally increased transparency.” The rights group is instead calling on the new administration to conduct a full review of the civilian impact of US operations in Yemen, make those findings public and provide the victims with reparations.

“Only by taking a hard look at what’s happened, can the US credibly make a decision on what it should be doing moving forward,” Beckerle said.

She concluded, “If you actually want to respond to the Yemeni communities that have dealt with this for 20 years, you can’t just be like, ‘Whoops, we’re sorry. Let’s move on.’”

https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2021/03/biden-reviews-drone-use-report-highlights-civilian-toll-yemen

and also https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/03/24/death-falling-sky-report-spotlights-civilian-harm-us-drone-strikes-yemen

(** B K P)

There’s no military solution to Yemen’s SAFER oil tanker crisis

There are growing calls for the UN Security Council to authorise a military-backed response to the crisis over the SAFER oil tanker off the coast of Yemen, in order to prevent an environmental and humanitarian disaster. In this blog, Doug Weir argues that not only is this unrealistic, it would also have long-term consequences for how the international community addresses the environment, peace and security.

With fears of a spill increasing, and with frustration at Houthi intransigence growing, there have now been calls for a military solution to be mandated by the UN Security Council. This blog examines how we reached this point, the risks that a military solution might create, and the wider implications for how the UN Security Council addresses the environment, peace and security if such an option is pursued.

Is there a military solution to the SAFER crisis?

Evidently the hard line being promoted by the internationally recognised government of Yemen is not just a vehicle for pressuring the Houthis. As serious proposals are now being made for a military-backed intervention, it’s vital that these are properly scrutinised. Before doing so, it’s necessary to be clear on the two salvage approaches on the table. The UN approach is for a technical assessment and urgent repairs, and then to identify proposals for next steps towards salvage. The primary aim being to stabilise the vessel.

Those favouring a more urgent response argue that the vessel cannot be meaningfully made safe, and that it should be assessed and the oil unloaded onto a seaworthy tanker that can be moored nearby. This combined operation would leave a vessel containing the oil in the Houthis’ hands, although not a functioning oil export terminal with the potential to sell oil from the Marib field: although the extent to which the dilapidated SAFER would be able to fulfil this function following the conflict is highly doubtful.

The UN approach requires and has sought cooperation with the Houthis, whereas the urgent approach requires their “acquiescence” – it also assumes that the Houthis see a greater financial value in the SAFER’s contents, than they do in it as a bargaining chip in future peace talks. Those advocating for urgency suggest that the UN approach has failed, that the unloading plan will inevitably require military minesweepers to secure the waters around the vessel, and for a foreign military to provide security in the event that the Houthis changed their minds, or that Houthi elements take matters into their own hands during the estimated month-long process. It is suggested that: “The only way for that to happen at this point is via a UN Security Council Resolution under Chapter VII.”

Needless to say, the proposal raises a number of issues. Foremost among which is whether a military operation would increase the risk of an incident leading to a spill from the vessel, which is moored just 7km offshore. Would security need to be provided both at sea and onshore during what would inevitably be a very, long month, and how could the operation avoid provoking an escalation?

Why an authorisation is unlikely to happen

The UN Security Council has never approved the use of force to directly address an environmental threat, and the chances of all of its permanent members doing so now are remote. While Council resolutions have addressed environmental issues, such as the role of natural resources in fuelling conflict in the DRC, or the role of environmental degradation in the Lake Chad crisis, this would set an entirely new precedent.

Environmental cooperation or confrontation?

Questions have long been asked over whether and how the Security Council should expand its environmental mandate. The question lives on through the ongoing debate over climate security, which now sees majority support from member states but consensus remains elusive. Earlier work did not discount the idea that the Council could respond to environmental emergencies where they have clear humanitarian consequences, or where they have become bound up in a dispute, but the question is one of how.

Issues like the SAFER are primarily technical problems that require cooperation. As soon as they are securitised or militarised in contested settings, opportunities to cooperate are diminished. Similarly, a narrow focus only on the threat itself ignores the wider context of the conflict, and can obscure the motivations of opposing parties. In the case of the SAFER, the Houthis have been clear that they see its resolution as part of a wider peace agreement – that is its value – and they seem content to accept the risk of – and responsibility for – an environmental catastrophe in pursuit of their goals.

More broadly, a resolution authorising the use of even limited force to address an environmental threat raises a whole suite of ethical and practical considerations. What would the contours or limits of these environmental interventions be, and under which circumstances would they be authorised? A dilapidated tanker? A failure to protect a rainforest? A breach of Greenhouse Gas emissions targets? There are important and sober discussions to be had here, particularly where an initiative like that proposed for the SAFER could risk efforts to deepen Security Council engagement on climate change.

Perhaps most fundamentally, militarised responses to environmental threats rob them of their ability to be a vehicle for cooperation, for confidence building and for peace. Environmental threats rarely recognise borders and tackling them typically requires the input of more than one party. And, while they are clearly not immune to politicisation – as the case of the SAFER attests – this is not inevitable. While the Security Council needs a mandate on the environment, peace and security, it must be one that contributes to those objectives, rather than one that undermines them – by Doug Weirs

https://ceobs.org/theres-no-military-solution-to-yemens-safer-oil-tanker-crisis/

(** B E H P)

Yemen relief groups concerned UN experts report may hurt aid work

Charities say a negative UN Panel of Experts’ report will disrupt humanitarian aid flow in Yemen as desperation deepens.

Local grassroots charities in Yemen are disconcerted by revelations in the 2021 United Nations Security Council Panel of Experts report that threaten humanitarian workflow in the war-ravaged nation.

Key accusations in the UN report include: Yemeni multinational Hayel Saeed Anam (HSA) Group made a profit of about $194m between mid-2018 and August 2020 from the letter of credit mechanism alone (an instrument used in international trade guaranteeing security to both buyers and sellers); the Central Bank of Yemen (CBY) misused Saudi deposits worth nearly $2bn and engaged in money laundering and foreign currency rate manipulation.

Both the HSA Group and the CBY denied the allegations.

Muna Luqman, the founder of Taiz-based grassroots charity Food4Humanity, spoke of concerns about how the accusations hinder private sector donors’ ability to support charities such as hers.

“This [UN report] could be far more damaging than the impact of the US State Department’s FTO designation on Houthis where humanitarian aid is concerned,” she warned.

Cumulatively, the aftermath of the UN’s allegations has already disrupted international money wire transfers. The accusations have also inflicted commercial damage to the reputation of banks that deal with Yemen’s private sector, making it much harder to import food.

“Everybody is halting supply until this is cleared and clarified,” Luqman told Al Jazeera.

Anything that affects the remaining structures of the state and the economy will increase the prices, Luqman said, adding, “This week, in two days, the prices went up.”

But Luqman said even the money raised at the conference cannot be transferred to those in need. Western Union, for example, has blocked transfers and set a limit of up to $1,000. “It has become complicated,” said Luqman.

Luqman’s concerns about rising food insecurity are well-founded

The HSA Group also supplies to organisations such as the WFP, said Luqman.

The UN panellists wrote “just nine companies captured 48 percent of the $1.89bn Saudi deposit; all nine belong to a single holding corporation – the HSA Group”. However, the methodology behind the UN experts calculation does not illustrate the market share of the HSA Group, said Amal Nasser, an economist at Sanaa Centre for Strategic Studies.

Rafat al-Akhali, founder of a youth foundation called Resonate Yemen, accused the UN panel of ignoring the company’s past and not contextualising the numbers. The report fails to show the HSA Group has been the largest food importer in Yemen even prior to the conflict, al-Akhali said.

HSA possibly made a profit of $194m solely from this scheme. More alarming, Nasser highlighted the central bank lost $423m because of the decision to offer preferential rates that are significantly lower than market exchange rates.

Central bank – last front line in Yemen’s war

The CBY, which can be likened to the human nervous system and has been deemed “the last front line in Yemen’s war”, is a shambles.

Since the bank’s relocation to Aden in September 2016, President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi failed to recruit qualified banking staff. Hadi accused the Houthis of squandering $4bn in reserves on the war effort, which they denied. In Houthi controlled Sanaa, the central bank exists, but only in name.

A former Yemeni diplomat, Mustapha Noman, told Al Jazeera the bank’s board members, including the governor and the deputy governor, have zero banking experience.

“They were chosen based on their political affiliations,” said Noman, who also served under late Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh as an ambassador and deputy foreign minister.

He accused the bank’s governors of demanding higher salaries similar to European counterparts despite diminished reserves, and as public sector employees went unpaid and millions of Yemenis starved to death.

A letter circulating on social media – sent by former CBY Governor Munasar al-Quaiti to President Hadi in August 2017 – requests approval for monthly salaries of $40,000 and $50,000 for his deputy and himself, respectively.

“The breed of corruption is within the CBY. They know it, everyone knows it,” Noman said.

In response to the UN panel’s request, the CBY provided additional documents but failed to explain why it adopted such a destructive strategy, according to the report.

The HSA Group informed the panel, although it, along with other traders, received preferential exchange rates from the Saudi deposit, the discount was passed on to consumers with no financial gain to the group. The panel requested more documents, but the report was published before the documents were supplied.

“How did they calculate such profit? Simply by doing a back-of-the-envelope calculation based on the spread between the panel’s reported market exchange rate and the CBY exchange rate offered through the Saudi deposit,” al-Akhali said.

Fernando R Carvajal served as Armed Groups and Regional Expert on the UNSC Panel of Experts on Yemen from April 2017 to March 2019. He said the UN panel should not have reached out to a private company such as HSA.

“The only entities that have a right to reply are the governments or member states. Before we start on the report, we write a letter to the government explaining our investigation.”

Everyone has the right to defend themselves, but in this case, economist Nasser said it is crucial for the government to investigate the issue and be transparent with its outcome.

“CBY and its leadership emphasise that they acted within their mandate as stipulated in the Central Bank Law of 2000. But this does not rule out the possibility of mismanagement of funds or abuse of power in setting a spread between preferential and market rates as high as 29 percent,” she said – by Charlene Anne

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/3/26/yemen-relief-groups-concerned-un-experts-report-may-hurt-aid-work

cp1a Am wichtigsten: Coronavirus und Seuchen / Most important: Coronavirus and epidemics

(* A H)

Coronavirus claims 20 more lives in Yemen in 2 days

Significant increase in new infections, fatalities across war-torn country, international medical NGO warns

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/coronavirus-claims-20-more-lives-in-yemen-in-2-days/2189654

(* A H)

84 new cases of coronavirus reported, 3,900 in total

http://en.adenpress.news/news/32564

(* A H)

113 new cases of coronavirus reported, 3,816 in total

The committee also reported the death of 10 coronavirus patients, in addition to the recovery of 3 patients.
According to the daily counts over the past hours, the total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus has reached 3,816, including 810 deaths and 1,580 recoveries in the liberated areas of Yemen.

http://en.adenpress.news/news/32559

(* B H)

COVID-19: Ärzte ohne Grenzen warnt vor Überforderung von medizinischen Einrichtungen im Jemen

Ärzte ohne Grenzen/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) beobachtet einen dramatischen Anstieg schwer kranker COVID-19-Patientinnen und -Patienten im Jemen. Immer mehr Menschen müssen in Aden und vielen anderen Teilen des Landes stationär behandelt werden.

„Wir fordern alle bereits im Jemen präsenten medizinischen humanitären Organisationen auf, ihre COVID-19-Nothilfe rasch auszubauen. Auch die internationalen Geber, die ihre humanitären Mittel für den Jemen gekürzt haben, müssen jetzt schnell handeln“, sagt Raphael Veicht, Einsatzleiter von Ärzte ohne Grenzen im Jemen. „Es fehlt in allen Bereichen im Kampf gegen COVID-19. Es braucht dringend größere internationale Unterstützung, sei es in der Gesundheitsaufklärung, bei Impfungen oder in der Sauerstofftherapie – einfach in allen Bereichen.“

Nach sechs Jahren Krieg ist das jemenitische Gesundheitssystem lahmgelegt, und die Behandlungskapazitäten auf den Intensivstationen sind eingeschränkt. Ärzte ohne Grenzen unterstützt das COVID-19 Behandlungszentrum im Krankenhaus Al Gamhouria in Aden. Das medizinische Team dort ist in der Lage, 11 Betten auf der Intensivstation und bis zu 46 Patientinnen und Patienten stationär zu betreuen. Derzeit sind alle Intensivbetten voll belegt.

„Leider befinden sich viele der Patientinnen und Patienten bereits in einem kritischen Gesundheitszustand, wenn sie ins Spital kommen“, sagt Line Lootens, medizinische Koordinatorin von Ärzte ohne Grenzen im Jemen. „Die meisten Patientinnen und Patienten benötigen einen sehr hohen Sauerstoffgehalt und intensive medizinische Behandlung. Einige Kranke benötigen auch eine mechanische Beatmung auf der Intensivstation, was technisch schwierig ist und viele Ressourcen erfordert.“

Ärzte ohne Grenzen ruft die Bevölkerung im Jemen auf, die Präventionsmaßnahmen von COVID-19 wie Abstand halten, Händewaschen und das Tragen von Masken strenger zu einzuhalten.

„Der starke Anstieg der COVID-19-Patientinnen und -Patienten in den letzten Wochen ist äußerst alarmierend und beunruhigend", sagt Raphael Veicht, Einsatzleiter im Jemen. Die medizinische Hilfsorganisation arbeitet eng mit den lokalen Gesundheitsbehörden zusammen.

https://www.aerzte-ohne-grenzen.at/presse/covid-19-aerzte-ohne-grenzen-warnt-vor-ueberforderung-von-medizinischen-einrichtungen-im

(* B H)

Yemen: COVID-19 second wave overwhelms medical facilities

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders is seeing a dramatic influx of critically ill COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization in Aden and many other parts of the country. (B-roll and photos on link below)

“We are urging all medical humanitarian organizations already present in Yemen to rapidly scale up their COVID-19 emergency response. International donors who cut their humanitarian funding to Yemen must also act quickly,” says Raphael Veicht, Head of Mission of MSF in Yemen. “All aspects of the Covid-19 intervention are lacking and need greater international support, from public health messaging, to vaccinations to oxygen therapy – support is needed across the board.”

After 6 years of war, Yemen’s healthcare system has been crippled and the ICU treatment capacity is limited. MSF is providing support to the COVID-19 Treatment Centre in Al Gamhouria hospital. Its medical team is able to care for 11 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds and up to 46 patients in the inpatient department. Currently all 11 ICU beds are fully occupied.

“Unfortunately, many of the patients we see are already in a critical medical condition when they arrive”, *says Line Lootens, Medical Coordinator of MSF in Yemen. *“Most patients need very high levels of oxygen and medical treatment. Some patients also require mechanical ventilation at the ICU, which is technically difficult and requires a very high level of medical care.”

MSF is calling on the Yemeni population to follow the Covid-19 prevention measures such as social distancing, hand washing and wearing masks more rigorously. It is also important that patients with severe symptoms seek specialized medical care early on in order to have a better chance of recovery from the disease.

https://prezly.msf.org.uk/yemen-msf-calls-on-international-actors-to-increase-support-to-the-covid-19-response-as-a-second-wave-overwhelms-medical-facilities = https://www.msf.org/covid-19-support-desperately-needed-second-wave-overwhelms-yemen

and also https://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/what-we-do/news-stories/news/yemen-msf-calls-international-actors-increase-covid-19-support-second

Film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFuk5ZL7cCo

(* B H)

Excess mortality during the COVID-19 pandemic: a geospatial and statistical analysis in Aden governorate, Yemen

Abstract

Background: The burden of COVID-19 in low-income and conflict-affected countries remains unclear, largely reflecting low testing rates. In parts of Yemen, reports indicated a peak in hospital admissions and burials during May-June 2020. To estimate excess mortality during the epidemic period, we quantified activity across all identifiable cemeteries within Aden governorate (population approximately 1 million) by analysing very high-resolution satellite imagery and compared estimates to Civil Registry office records.

Methods:After identifying active cemeteries through remote and ground information, we applied geospatial analysis techniques to manually identify new grave plots and measure changes in burial surface area over a period from July 2016 to September 2020. After imputing missing grave counts using surface area data, we used alternative approaches, including simple interpolation and a generalised additive mixed growth model, to predict both actual and counterfactual (no epidemic) burial rates by cemetery and across the governorate during the most likely period of COVID-19 excess mortality (from 1 April 2020) and thereby compute excess burials. We also analysed death notifications to the Civil Registry office over the same period.

Results: We collected 78 observations from 11 cemeteries. In all but one, a peak in daily burial rates was evident from April to July 2020. Interpolation and mixed model methods estimated ≈1500 excess burials up to 6 July, and 2120 up to 19 September, corresponding to a peak weekly increase of 230% from the counterfactual. Satellite imagery estimates were generally lower than Civil Registry data, which indicated a peak 1823 deaths in May alone. However, both sources suggested the epidemic had waned by September 2020.

Discussion: To our knowledge, this is the first instance of satellite imagery being used for population mortality estimation. Findings suggest a substantial, under-ascertained impact of COVID-19 in this urban Yemeni governorate and are broadly in line with previous mathematical modelling predictions, though our method cannot distinguish direct from indirect virus deaths. Satellite imagery burial analysis appears a promising novel approach for monitoring epidemics and other crisis impacts, particularly where ground data are difficult to collect.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33758012/

(* A H)

91 new cases of coronavirus reported, 3,703 in total

The committee also reported the death of 15 coronavirus patients, in addition to the recovery of 11 patients.

http://en.adenpress.news/news/32552

(* A H)

96 new cases of coronavirus reported, 3,612 in total

The committee also reported the death of 14 coronavirus patients, in addition to the recovery of 20 patients.
According to the daily counts over the past hours, the total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus has reached 3,612, including 785 deaths and 1,566 recoveries in the liberated areas of Yemen.

http://en.adenpress.news/news/32543

(* B H K)

Oxfam: Yemen at tipping point as Covid-19 second wave hits amid renewed fighting and famine fears

Evidence is mounting that a second wave of Covid-19 is already underway in Yemen, Oxfam warned today, with a 22-fold increase in recorded cases in recent weeks. It comes at a time when it is feared renewed fighting will force hundreds of thousands of people to flee to safety.

Oxfam said that a second spike would be devastating for a country entering its seventh year of war. The UN is already warning that Yemen faces the worst famine the world has seen for decades and amid intense fighting in Marib governorate which it is feared will force almost 400,000 people to flee. The arrival of the rainy season - expected in May - is expected to see a renewed threat from cholera, which combined with Covid will overwhelm a health system battered by six years of war and economic collapse. Despite this huge level of need Yemen’s aid programme is more than 50 per cent underfunded.

Recorded cases of Covid in the first two weeks of March were 22 times higher than the number of cases in the first two weeks of February. The figures indicate a sharp rise in the number of people being admitted to healthcare facilities with severe symptoms as these are the only people who are tested.

Muhsin Siddiquey, Oxfam’s Country Director in Yemen said:

“Yemen is at a tipping point – millions of people are already teetering at the edge of a precipice, now Covid, cholera and an intensification of the conflict threatens to push them over.

“In cities around the country people are living through intensified fighting and a second Covid spike. Many people don’t go to hospital when they have symptoms – even where treatment is available many cannot afford medical bills.

“With little testing, we can’t quantify the true scale of the problem, but we do know that Covid is accelerating fast. I’m hearing daily of fresh tragedies – people who have died of Covid-like symptoms without receiving medical attention.”

Oxfam said it was concerned that by forcing people to flee for safety, the recent surge in fighting will speed the spread of the virus around the country.

https://www.oxfam.org/en/press-releases/yemen-tipping-point-covid-19-second-wave-hits-amid-renewed-fighting-and-famine-fears

(* A H P)

Yemen’s coronavirus committee declares public health ‘state of emergency’

Yemen’s coronavirus committee urged the government Tuesday to declare a public health “state of emergency” after a surge in infections in the war-torn country.

Most clinics are ill-equipped to determine causes of death, and many fear the real toll is far higher.

The Supreme National Emergency Committee for Coronavirus is linked to the internationally recognized government, which has been battling Iran-backed Houthi militia since 2014.

The committee called on the government to “declare a (public) health state of emergency in all provinces, prepare health centers and hospital, and provide medical staff with personal protective equipment.”

The committee called for the implementation of a “partial curfew” and for the closure of wedding halls, shopping centers and mosques outside of prayer times.

https://english.alarabiya.net/coronavirus/2021/03/23/Coronavirus-Yemen-s-coronavirus-committee-declares-public-health-state-of-emergency-

and also https://debriefer.net/en/news-24004.html

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20210324-yemen-declares-state-of-emergency-over-sharp-spike-in-covid-cases/

cp1b Am wichtigsten: Saudis bieten Waffenstillstand an / Most important: Saudis offer ceasefire

(* B P)

"Saudi-Arabien hat den Krieg im Jemen verloren"

Sechs Jahre schon herrscht Krieg im Jemen - mit Saudi-Arabien als einer der Kriegsparteien. Jetzt hat das Königreich einen Friedensplan vorgelegt. Doch der bedeutet nicht automatisch auch ein Ende des Krieges.

Doch heute zeigt sich: Die Huthi sind seit Beginn des Krieges am 26. März 2015 immer weiter auf dem Vormarsch; Saudi-Arabien kann den Krieg nicht mehr gewinnen.

Saudi-Arabien hat nun einen Vorschlag zur Beendigung des Krieges im Jemen vorgelegt.

Die Herrscher in Riad wollen sich mit dieser Initiative aus dem Krieg befreien.

Die Huthi erklärten in einer ersten Reaktion allerdings, es gebe in dem Vorschlag keine neuen Aspekte und lehnten ihn daher ab.

Die USA, die Vereinten Nationen und der regionale Vermittler Oman sehen dennoch eine Chance für Verhandlungen. Unter der Vermittlung des Oman verhandeln die Huthis bereits seit Wochen mit dem US-Jemenbeauftragten Timothy Lenderking. Dennoch geht derzeit niemand davon aus, dass es schnell zu einem Waffenstillstand und einem Ende des Krieges kommen wird.

"Saudi-Arabien hat den Krieg im Jemen verloren - und das liegt vor allem daran, dass die Regierung Biden klar gemacht hat, dass sie die saudi-arabischen Aktionen dort nicht mehr unterstützt", sagt Nahost-Experte Guido Steinberg von der Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik in Berlin. Die Saudis müssten daher jetzt dafür sorgen, dass es zu einer Entspannung im Jemen komme. Durch die Offensive der Huthi auf Marib könnten die pro-saudischen Kräfte - vor allem auch die international anerkannte Regierung - eines ihrer letzten strategisch wichtigen Gebiete verlieren.

Durch ihren Vormarsch und durch die Initiative Bidens sehen sich die Huthi-Rebellen derzeit im Vorteil - und könnten darauf spekulieren, dass sich ihre Kriegsgegner als Verlierer zurückziehen. Auch der Iran wäre über eine Niederlage seines Feindes Saudi-Arabiens froh.

Das könnte am Ende bedeuten, dass es im Jemen schließlich zwei große Lager geben wird, so Steinberg: "Die Huthi im Norden auf der einen Seite und die separatistischen Kräfte und ihre Verbündeten im Süden des Landes. Das könnte durchaus auf eine Spaltung des Jemen hinauslaufen". Die Separatisten kämpfen seit Jahrzehnten für einen unabhängigen Staat im Südjemen. Ein solcher Staat hatte bereits vor der jemenitischen Vereinigung 1990 existiert. Eine Autonomie-Erklärung hatten sie im vergangenen Jahr aber zunächst wieder zurückgezogen.

Dass Saudi-Arabien den Krieg verloren habe, bedeute daher nicht, dass der Krieg vorbei sei: "Es ist weiterhin möglich, dass der Bürgerkrieg im Jemen fortgeführt wird."

Ausbaden müssen das weiterhin die Zivilisten. Seit Wochen warnt UN-Chef António Guterres vor der weltweit schlimmsten Hungersnot seit Jahrzehnten. Hinzu kommt: Angesichts einer neuen Welle von Corona-Infektionen musste das Land erst kürzlich den Notstand ausrufen.

https://www.dw.com/de/saudi-arabien-hat-den-krieg-im-jemen-verloren/a-56972155 = https://www.msn.com/de-de/nachrichten/politik/saudi-arabien-hat-den-krieg-im-jemen-verloren/ar-BB1eYssN?li=BBqg6Q9

English version: below.

(* B P)

Warum die Saudis eine Waffenruhe vorschlagen

Das Königreich Saudi-Arabien will sich vom Jemenkrieg befreien und legt jetzt einen Friedensplan vor. Findet der Dauerkonflikt nun doch ein Ende

Riad will mit dem Plan aus einer verfahrenen Lage herauskommen.

Grund für die neue Bewegung an der diplomatischen Front sind internationale Veränderungen und der Kriegsverlauf im Jemen selbst. Der neue US-Präsident Joe Biden ist ein erklärter Gegner des Krieges. Dieser sei eine „humanitäre und strategische Katastrophe“ und müsse umgehend beendet werden, sagt Biden

Bedeutsam ist deshalb vor allem der Zeitpunkt der saudischen Vorschläge: Der Plan kommt zu einer Phase, in der die Konfliktparteien hinter verschlossenen Türen bereits miteinander reden. Seine Gruppe stehe im direkten Kontakt mit Saudi-Arabien und Oman, sagte ein Sprecher der Huthis der Nachrichtenagentur AP. US-Außenamtssprecherin Jalina Porter bestätigte laufende Gespräche hinter den Kulissen.

Ein sofortiges Ende der Gewalt erwartet dennoch niemand. Immerhin werde verhandelt, schrieb Peter Salisbury von der Denkfabrik International Crisis Group auf Twitter. Der saudische Plan lässt Salisbury zufolge erkennen, worüber bei den Kontakten gesprochen wird: die Aufhebung der Luft- und Seeblockade als Voraussetzung für weitere Schritte.

Es gab allerdings schon etliche Versuche, den Dauerkonflikt im Armenhaus der arabischen Welt mit politischen Mitteln zu lösen. Vor allem die Vereinten Nationen habe sich oft darum bemüht. Doch die Diplomatie ist bislang immer gescheitert. Kaum war etwas vereinbart, wurde es schon wieder gebrochen.

Dieses Mal könnte am Ende ebenfalls wieder alles beim Alten bleiben

Auch im Moment sehen sich die Aufständischen im Vorteil. Sie fühlen sich durch Bidens Kurswechsel ermutigt, weil Riad dadurch militärisch geschwächt wird. Genau darauf haben die Huthis gewartet. Sie wollen den Preis für eine Einigung auf dem Schlachtfeld in die Höhe treiben und sehen jetzt eine gute Chance, dass ihr Kriegsgegner sich als Verlierer zurückzieht.

https://www.tagesspiegel.de/politik/friedensplan-fuer-den-jemen-warum-die-saudis-eine-waffenruhe-vorschlagen/27032620.html

(* B P)

Scheinheiliges Angebot

Ein landesweiter Waffenstillstand, Öffnung des Flughafens Sanaa und die Einfuhr von Treibstoff und Lebensmitteln über den Hafen von Hodeida: Dieses »Friedensangebot« unterbreitete am Montag Prinz Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, Außenminister Saudi-Arabiens, das durch Kriegs- und Blockadepolitik sowie die regelmäßige Bombardierung von Schulen und Krankenhäusern im Jemen die größte humanitäre Krise unserer Zeit verursacht hat, via Pressekonferenz den Ansarollah.
Völlig zu Recht konterte Mohammed Abdulsalam, Sprecher und Chefunterhändler der Ansarollah, die Öffnung von Häfen und Flughäfen sei ein Menschenrecht, das nicht als Druckmittel missbraucht werden dürfe. Obwohl es den Vorschlägen Riads an »neuen Aspekten« fehle, sei man zu weiteren Gesprächen bereit.
Aber Riad, das einen einseitig ausgerufenen Waffenstillstand im vergangenen Frühjahr bereits am ersten Tag brach, geht es genauso wenig um Frieden oder das Leben von Millionen Jemeniten wie Washington, das den Krieg von Anbeginn aktiv unterstützt hat. Wären ihre scheinheiligen Angebote ernst gemeint, würde die gesamte Blockade sofort aufgehoben und den 14 Schiffen mit Treibstoff vor der jemenitischen Küste freies Geleit gewährt, damit Hunderte Medikamenten- und Lebensmitteltransporte für die Weiterfahrt betankt werden können.
Allerdings sucht man einen gesichtswahrenden Ausweg
aus dem jemenitischen Kriegsdesaster, ohne die Kontrolle komplett zu verlieren…

https://www.jungewelt.de/artikel/399245.scheinheiliges-angebot.html

(A P)

Iran kritisiert Fortsetzung des saudischen Krieges im Jemen und erklärt Unterstützung für jeden Friedensplan

Zu Beginn des siebten Jahres der Militäroffensive der saudisch geführten Koalition gegen den Jemen teilte das iranische Außenministerium in einer Erklärung mit, dass es jeden Friedensplan auf der Grundlage der Beendigung der Angriffe, eines landesweiten Waffenstillstands, der Beendigung der Besatzung, der Aufhebung der Wirtschaftsblockade und der Aufnahme politischer Gespräche sowie letztendlich der Übergabe der Angelegenheiten an die Jemeniten zur Bestimmung ihres politischen Schicksals, unterstütze.

Weiter heißt es in der Erklärung, dass Iran hiermit seine Abscheu über die Fortsetzung dieses großen Verbrechens gegen die unschuldigen Menschen im Jemen zum Ausdruck bringe.

"Die Blockade und die Militäroffensive zielen auf 24 Millionen Menschen im Jemen ab, und täglich sterben Dutzende Menschen durch Bombenangriffe oder durch Hunger, Krankheit sowie Mangel an Medikamenten und Treibstoffen in medizinischen Zentren", heißt es.

https://parstoday.com/de/news/iran-i57024-iran_kritisiert_fortsetzung_des_saudischen_krieges_im_jemen_und_erkl%C3%A4rt_unterst%C3%BCtzung_f%C3%BCr_jeden_friedensplan

(? B P)

Steiniger Weg zum Frieden im Jemen

Die Saudis wollen endlich den brutalen Krieg im Jemen beenden. Doch ihr Friedensplan reicht dafür nicht.

Nun schlagen die Saudis eine sofortige Waffenruhe vor – überwacht von den Vereinten Nationen. Denn sie wissen: Dieser Krieg ist nicht zu gewinnen (nur im Abo)

https://www.badische-zeitung.de/steiniger-weg-zum-frieden-im-jemen

(* A P)

Jemen-Konflikt: Erdöltanker sollen laut saudischem Friedensvorschlag wieder in Jemen anlegen dürfen

Treibstoffschiffe sollen bald wieder in Jemen anlegen dürfen.

Das sieht ein Vorschlag zur Beendigung des Konflikts vor, den der saudische Spitzendiplomat Prinz Faisal bin Farhan vorgelegt hat und der von den Vereinten Nationen unterstützt wird. Dies berichtet der Nachrichtensender CNN am Dienstag (23. 3.). Es ist demnach das erste Mal, dass Saudiarabien offiziell zugibt, die Ankunft von Erdöltankern im Hafen von Hodeidah zu verhindern. Laut CNN folgte der Vorschlag auf eine kürzliche Investigativrecherche des Senders, die enthüllte, dass in diesem Jahr aufgrund der Blockade nicht ein einziger Tanker in dem von den Huthi kontrollierten Hafen Hodeidah anlegen konnte. Der CNN-Bericht rief demnach den Uno-Sondergesandten für Jemen, Martin Griffiths, sowie den Chef Welternährungsprogramms der Vereinten Nationen, Chef David Beasley auf den Plan, die Druck auf die Saudis ausübten, damit die Blockade aufgehoben und wieder Treibstoffe ins Land gelassen werden.

https://www.nzz.ch/international/jemen-die-hintergruende-des-buergerkriegs-ld.1556197

(** B P)

Mohammed bin Salman has lost the war in Yemen. It's time to end the humanitarian disaster

Six years on, the Saudi crown prince, who failed to score a quick victory, is left alone to beg the Houthis to accept his peace proposal

Saudi Arabia’s announcement is triggered by its weak position following the collapse of the Arab coalition that supported its campaign and the vanishing international consent over this treacherous war on its southern borders.

This weak and lonely Saudi position contrasts with that of the empowered Houthis, no longer designated as a terrorist organisation in Washington. The Houthis intensified their drone attacks at the heart of Saudi economic facilities over recent months, targeting oil installations and airports. They were quick to understand the weak Saudi position. The initial Saudi offensive strategy in the pursuit of securing its southern borders and pushing out Iranian influence remains unfulfilled.

The Salman 'doctrine'

The 2015 so-called Salman’s Doctrine, a flexing of muscles aimed at Saudi domestic audiences who are sceptical about the rise of King Salman's son, Mohammad, to the highest positions in government, has stumbled in Yemen.

The then Saudi deputy crown prince and minister of defence needed a quick victory in Yemen that would grant him a new legitimacy as the saviour and military commander.

MBS failed to achieve this. Instead, he is left alone to beg the Houthis to accept his peace proposal, which falls short of alleviating the plight of the Yemenis and their aspiration to end the civil war.

This civil war was not inevitable but foreign military intervention by both Saudi Arabia and the UAE did not revive the project of a unified and democratic Yemen, nor affirmed the prospects for two stable Yemens - one in the north and one in the south - as historically has been the case.

Foreign intervention and air strikes gave rise to several cantons and militias controlling vast regions, competing and cooperating at the same time to render any unified Yemen almost impossible, let alone a meaningful future of coexistence under the umbrella of a democratic government.

Historically, Saudi Arabia favoured maintaining patronage networks with the northern Yemeni tribes whose sheikhs regularly received subsidies and handouts to keep them loyal to the Saudi royal family. In Sanaa, the Saudis supported the late President Ali Abdullah Saleh but he turned against them and forged a new alliance with the Houthis, his previous arch enemies.

Mohammed bin Salman stopped the old patronage network and opted for outright war, believing that he would become the master of Yemen and its diverse population. Consequently, in addition to Saleh, most of the northern tribes shifted their allegiance to the Houthis.

King Salman and his son will go down in history as the destroyers of a country, people and resources. Without serious effort to contribute to the reconstruction of Yemen, the country will be drawn into several decades of upheaval and misery.

Like in all foreign-sponsored civil wars that lead to extreme economic hardship, Yemenis had taken up arms and received financial rewards in return for pursuing agendas that may not correspond to their own national interest. When all economic activity and employment opportunities vanish, feeding your own children is only possible if one becomes a fighter on the payroll of one or more foreign sponsors.

If the war stops without a detailed reconstruction programme, there is a risk of many losing their livelihood and income. Local actors may not see an immediate benefit from a ceasefire in the absence of real alternatives that would allow them to survive in a destroyed country.

The Saudi offer fails to detail how peace and economic reconstruction can resume once the air strikes stop. Today, the Yemen war has generated new forces that seem to be beyond the capacity of Saudi Arabia, which contributed to this destruction, to contain or reverse.

With the international community cutting its overseas aid and development programmes - the British government is one of them - the prospect for peace in Yemen does not look imminent.

The United Nations should be given an international mandate to launch a fresh peace initiative whose main objectives should be political and economic. Politically, Yemenis should be encouraged to revive that historical moment in 2011 when all factions and groups sought democracy in the "Change Squares" of most Yemeni cities.

Economically, the international community, including above all Saudi Arabia, should pledge to contribute to a fund that starts the long and arduous journey towards recovery – by Madawi al-Rasheed

https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/saudi-arabia-yemen-mbs-lost-war-end-humanitarian-disaster

(** B P)

Saudi ceasefire proposal clearly designed to appease the US

The Saudis proposed conditions for a ceasefire to the Houthi movement on Monday but the conditions closely resembled what had been previously offered. More importantly, the Houthis are winning Yemen’s civil war, so without sufficient incentive, they are likely to continue their push to seize the strategic city of Marib anyway.

If the Saudis and the United States are serious about implementing a ceasefire, they will have to significantly alter their approach, namely, by lifting the blockade that is starving Yemen.

Unsurprisingly, the Houthis rejected the proposal, stating that it offered “nothing new.”

The ceasefire terms resembled those recently proposed by U.S. Special Envoy to Yemen Tim Lenderking, as well as a proposal put forward by the U.N. in April 2020. The U.N. initiative came after a unilateral Saudi ceasefire announced on April 8, 2020, which immediately broke down. The Houthis rejected all of these, and instead continue to insist that the Saudi and U.S.-imposed blockade must be lifted before they will agree to a ceasefire, while the Saudis and the Yemeni government demand a ceasefire prior to granting concessions.

However, given the Houthis’ recent gains in their ongoing effort to capture the strategically significant city of Marib, even a unilateral lifting of the blockade might not convince them to pause their assault now.

If the Houthis take Marib, they will consolidate control over much of the former north Yemen, and effectively neutralize the Hadi government. They will then be in a position to rule the north while the Southern Transitional Council, with the backing of the UAE, governs the former south Yemen.

This narrative resonates with many Yemenis, who are frustrated by decades of Saudi interference in their affairs as well as U.S. drone strikes intended to kill members of al-Qaida but that also kill civilians. Six years of devastating air strikes and the Saudi/U.S. blockade reinforce the Houthis’ account: that they defend Yemen against foreign aggression. Lifting the blockade and ending Saudi bombardment would undermine the Houthis’ legitimating narrative, prompting further discontent with their inability to govern effectively and their many abuses of civilians.

Given that the recent ceasefire proposal largely reasserts offers that were already on the table, it is likely that the Saudis’ primary objective was to demonstrate that they are trying to resolve the conflict, therefore shifting blame for ongoing hostilities to the Houthis. Using his State Department Twitter account, Lenderking tweeted support for the Saudi ceasefire. Yet if the Saudis and the United States were actually dedicated to ending the war and “easing the suffering of the Yemeni people,” as Lenderking’s tweet stated, they would lift the blockade that continues to starve Yemenis of food and fuel. Instead, the Saudis have escalated air strikes on Yemen, striking Sana’a as well as the grain port of Salif, further exacerbating food insecurity.

In general, the Saudis and the Hadi government continue to act as if they have the upper hand. The United States buys into this fiction while also pretending to be a neutral arbiter, rather than acknowledging that it overtly supports one side in the conflict and lacks all credibility with the other. If the Biden administration is serious about trying to resolve the conflict in Yemen, the United States cannot so blatantly support the Saudis.

The longer the war goes on, the weaker the Hadi government’s position becomes, while the Houthis grow stronger. Although the Saudis seem to hope that this dynamic will shift, all parties must recognize that the Houthis continue to improve their position. Similar to the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Houthis have a stronger interest in their homeland than any foreign invader will.

Yemen’s situation demonstrates, yet again, that foreign military interventions are generally more lengthy and costly than the intervener anticipated. Furthermore, that foreign intervention can actually undermine the initial objective. In the Saudis’ case, they feared Iranian involvement in Yemen. When the Saudis launched Operation Decisive Storm against the Houthis six years ago, Iranian support for the Houthis was negligible, yet as the Iranians discovered, supporting the Houthis offered a golden opportunity to goad the Saudis into spending more resources and attention on Yemen. Now Iranian support for the Houthis is significantly more robust.

Hopefully Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman may have learned not to emulate America’s willingness to launch unnecessary foreign military interventions. But the entire population of Yemen has had to pay for this hard lesson, many with their lives – by Annelle Sheline

https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2021/03/23/saudi-ceasefire-proposal-clearly-designed-to-appease-the-us-not-the-houthis/

(* B P)

'Saudi Arabia has lost the war in Yemen'

Saudi Arabia is one of the primary belligerents in Yemen's six-year civil war. Now, the Saudi government has presented a peace initiative. But that does not automatically mean an end to the conflict.

But it has become clear that the Houthis have been steadily gaining ground since the conflict started on March 26, 2015. Saudi Arabia can no longer win the war.

The plan is clearly Saudi Arabia's exit strategy.

The Houthis initially rejected Saudi Arabia's peace initiative, saying it offered nothing new.

Nevertheless, officials from the United States, the UN and Oman do believe that negotiations have a chance. For weeks now, Oman has been hosting talks between the Houthis and the US special envoy for Yemen, Timothy Lenderking. Yet, at the moment, no one is counting on a swift ceasefire and a speedy end to the war.

"Saudi Arabia has lost the war in Yemen — and that is chiefly because the Biden administration has made clear that it no longer supports the Saudi operations there," said Guido Steinberg a senior associate at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs who specializes ub tge Middle East. He said this meant that the Saudis would have to deescalate the situation in Yemen. The Houthi offensive on Marib could cause the pro-Saudi forces — in particular, the internationally recognized government of Yemen — to lose one of their last strategically important regions.

The Houthis believe that they now have the upper hand thanks to their advances and Biden's stacce, Steinberg said. He added that they could be banking on their opponents' capitulating. Officials in Iran, too, would be happy to see Saudi Arabia defeated.

Steinberg said this could lead to the formation of two large opposing camps: "the Houthis in the north, on the one hand, and the separatist forces and their allies in the south — that could definitely culminate in the division of Yemen."

https://www.dw.com/en/saudi-arabia-has-lost-the-war-in-yemen/a-57007568 = https://egyptindependent.com/saudi-arabia-has-lost-the-war-in-yemen/

(* B P)

New hopes to end 6 years of war in Yemen

"This initiative shows that the Saudis realize the determination of the Joe Biden administration to launch a political process in Yemen to devote itself to confronting China," Adel Dashela, a Yemeni researcher and political analyst, told Anadolu Agency.

"This Saudi initiative is similar to the initiative of the Riyadh Agreement between the Yemeni government and armed groups affiliated with the separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC)," he said.

Peter Salisbury, a senior Yemen analyst at The International Crisis Group, said the Saudi initiative was not new.

Dashela argues that the Houthi rejection of the Saudi initiative means they "want Saudi Arabia to make more concessions, which is likely to happen."

"They might reach a political agreement without resolving the military and security issues, which is going to lead the country into more violence and chaos than before," he said.

Considering previous fragile cease-fire agreements and the increasing Houthi rocket and drone attacks on Saudi territories, future expectations become more complicated and unpredictable.

Salisbury expects "More talk and probably more cross-border airstrikes, missile/drone attacks and fighting on the ground."

Dashela seemed pessimistic about the Saudi initiative as it has "a weak chance of success, like previous Saudi initiatives."

"If the Saudis continue to make more concessions, this will harm the legitimate government and the Yemeni people in general," he said.

The rebel rejection of the initiative could "lift the international pressure on Saudi Arabia," Dashela said, which consequently pushes Riyadh to "provide more support to the legitimate government to end the war militarily or liberate more lands, especially in Al-Hudaydah, then force the Houthis to take part in a more solid political process."

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/new-hopes-to-end-6-years-of-war-in-yemen/2188798

(* B P)

Will the Houthis accept the Saudi ceasefire offer to end the Yemen war?

Experts have different opinions on how the Houthis would react to the Saudi proposal.

“From the initial responses of the Houthi leaders, it seems that the Houthis will not accept the initiative in its current form, but rather will request amendments to it,” says Najat Sayim Khalil, a Yemeni expert and a former academic at the Sanaa University.

Like Khalil, Bulent Aras, professor of international relations in the Gulf Studies Center at Qatar University, also thinks that the Houthis will seek more concessions from Riyadh.

“The Saudi peace plan has no new items compared to last year’s plan. The Houthis want to see all seaports and airports of the country to be reopened. They also demand to get back their ships seized by the Saudi-led coalition,” Aras tells TRT World.

“As a result, the Saudi offer does not meet the Houthi expectations clearly,” Aras says.

But experts like Mahjoob Zweiri, Professor of Contemporary History at Qatar University, thinks that the Houthis might also feel as though they are being cornered under the Saudi offer, which is backed by the UN.

“They feel that this will put pressure on them,” Zweiri tells TRT World. The professor, who is one of the prominent experts on the Yemen war, points out that the Saudi initiative comes at a crucial time, when the Houthis are trying to clear Saudi-backed forces from Marib, a gas-rich city. On Sunday, Riyadh was bombing the Houthis around Marib to prevent their takeover of the city.

“This [Saudi peace offer] will complicate their efforts to control Marib, in particular. So, the [Houthi] reaction will be a sort of concern. They may create doubts about the initiative and this is what they do now. They raise more doubts about the seriousness of Saudi Arabia in doing this,” Zweiri says.

But Zweiri thinks that the international community’s positive reactions to the Saudi initiative “do not help the Houthis in that direction” and will eventually increase political pressure over them.

Iranian reaction

Experts also think Shia-powered Iran, which is the regional, political and ideological nemesis of the Saudis, could also play a critical role in persuading the Houthis to sit at the negotiating table with Riyadh.

“I think Iran will try to push not necessarily for the initiative to succeed, but they try to be positive, assuming this would be helpful even to the Houthis, because it will reduce political pressure on the Houthis,” Zweiri says.

Khalil, the Yemeni academic, also thinks that Tehran might react in a positive manner to the Saudi initiative if the process ensures to protect its political gains there. “Certainly Iran will support everything that preserves gains it has achieved through the material and logistical support provided to the Houthis,” she tells TRT World.

Iran’s political advocacy of Yemeni sovereignty pretty much means Houthi control of the government and the country, according to Aras, the Gulf analyst.

“Iran will approach plans involving Saudi-UAE bloc skeptically if those plans will not strengthen the Houthis,” Aras says.

Why the Saudis sue for peace

Experts point out different motives for the recent Saudi peace initiative - from the military failure of Riyadh’s intervention in Yemen, to the Biden administration’s end of its support of the Saudi-led coalition and desire to break up the Houthis from Iranians.

“Two days from now, the war launched by Saudi Arabia and the Arab coalition enters its seventh year, and on the ground it has not made any progress for them. On the contrary, the Houthis are the ones who advanced on all military fronts and have become threatening Saudi lands with missiles and drones,” says Khalil.

“Saudi Arabia has been in a difficult situation, being unable to continue this war, due to its material costs and political damage given to Saudi Arabia as Yemeni citizens are suffering from the biggest humanitarian crisis in history,” she adds.

Zweiri sees the new political direction in Washington behind the Saudi initiative. “The new administration does not seem to be friendly to Saudi Arabia,” the professor says.

Coming under heavy criticism from both the international community and Washington on humanitarian grounds, Riyadh has been pushed to engage with a solution in the Yemen war. As a result, the Saudis wanted to make a political “gesture” to both the Americans and the world, Zweiri says.

With the initiative, the Saudis also want to transfer the burden of the war’s terrible consequences to the Houthis, “accusing them of being responsible for the continuity of the war,” Zweiri adds.

According to Aras, the main motive behind Riyad’s ceasefire proposal is to reduce Tehran’s influence over the Houthis, “offering some privileges to them and ending the conflict incrementally by bringing peace to the country.”

https://www.trtworld.com/magazine/will-the-houthis-accept-the-saudi-ceasefire-offer-to-end-the-yemen-war-45275

(? B P)

Saudi Arabia is struggling to end its war in Yemen

The kingdom knows it cannot win. So does the enemy

The Houthis barely paused to consider the offer. Muhammad Abdulsalam, the chief Houthi negotiator, said the Saudi proposal contained nothing “serious or new”. He was half right: it was serious, but also a warmed-up version of a plan that had failed to win agreement during a year of negotiations. In case the verbal rejection was unclear, the Houthis then sent a drone across the border to attack the airport in Abha in southern Saudi Arabia. The kingdom remains stuck with an intractable dilemma: how do you convince your enemies to end a war they are winning? (paywalled)

https://www.economist.com/middle-east-and-africa/2021/03/27/saudi-arabia-is-struggling-to-end-its-war-in-yemen

(* B P)

Why Yemen’s Houthis turned down Saudi Arabia’s ceasefire offer

For the Houthis, “the devil is in the details”, Peter Salisbury, a Yemen specialist at the Brussels-based International Crisis Group, wrote on Twitter. “The Saudis, the government and the Huthis [an alternative spelling] all say they support the initiative in concept terms but have quibbled incessantly over timing, sequencing and the details of each aspect.”

But whereas the Houthis want Hodeidah port and Sana’a airport to be completely open to all international traffic, the Saudi proposal envisages a role for the Yemeni government in regulating both – and for a ceasefire to come before any economic or humanitarian assistance. The proposal also suggests the sharing of revenues on trade in oil through Hodeidah.

The Saudis’ overture “appears to double down on the idea that it is the Huthis who have to make concessions here”, Salisbury wrote. “And indeed the Huthi response has been clear: they say this is an old offer, and that they’ve been clear in their position. Completely lift barriers to movement on Hodeida [an alternative spelling] and Sana’a airport. They accuse the Saudis of using the humanitarian crisis as leverage.”

Seeing as revenue-sharing at Hodeidah and the reopening of Sana’a airport are longstanding Houthi demands, it is clear that “Riyadh believes it is calling their bluff in front of the US and UN to show they don’t want peace in Yemen”, Cinzia Bianco, a research fellow on the Gulf at the European Council on Foreign Relations, wrote on Twitter.

The Houthis appear to think they are in a strong enough position to turn down the Saudis’ proposals.

“Riyadh and Washington are trying to impose through negotiation what they failed to achieve through the use of force – and that’s unacceptable to us,” al-Hanash said.

“The Biden administration seems a bit confused,” he continued. “Some officials are calling for an end to fighting in Yemen – as if the US is just a neutral, innocent intermediary. But in fact Washington is still giving significant support to the Saudis, which never just amounted to logistical military backing. That’s why we’re still on guard and why we’re waiting to see if they intend to do anything concrete to end this aggression against us. Any negotiations will come after that.”

“More talk and probably more crossborder airstrikes, missile/drone attacks and fighting on the ground” are all likely to follow, as Yemen enters “a period where the parties are using all tools at their disposal to improve their bargaining position”, Salisbury wrote.

“The good news: this means they are negotiating,” he continued. “The bad news: a lot could go wrong. An errant air or missile strike could blow the whole process up.”

https://www.france24.com/en/middle-east/20210324-why-yemen-s-houthis-turned-down-saudi-arabia-s-ceasefire-offer

(* B P)

In Yemen’s War, the Rebels, Not the Saudis, Hold All the Cards

Hours after Saudi Arabia proposed a cease-fire to end Yemen’s six-year war, jets from the Saudi-led coalition bombed military positions in the capital of Sana’a belonging to the Iran-backed Houthi rebels. We shouldn’t be surprised. It is not unusual in long-running wars for a truce to be followed by a spasm of fighting, as the belligerents try to gain some advantage they can use at the negotiating table.

But if that is what the coalition was seeking, it is certain to be disappointed. The rebels, having dismissed the Saudi offer as “not serious and [containing] nothing new,” are working toward a more ambitious goal: the capture of Marib in the eponymous hydrocarbon-rich governorate east of Sana’a.

The Houthis are determined to take the town, which would consolidate their control of northern and central Yemen. The Saudis and their allies appear just as keen to prevent Marib from falling into rebel hands. Discussions about ending what the United Nations calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis may have to wait until the outcome of this battle.

It might be a long wait, though, as the rebels are in no rush.

Under the circumstances, the Houthis will likely interpret the Saudi offer of parley as a sign of weakness, and press for much more than a UN-supervised cessation of hostilities. They will recognize that much has changed, mostly to their advantage, since the short-lived, UN-brokered peace deal in Stockholm over two years ago.

The Houthis, in short, already have the stronger hand for any future negotiations, and the capture of Marib would make it stronger still. The Saudis shouldn’t expect them at the negotiating table anytime soon.

https://www.bloombergquint.com/opinion/in-yemen-s-war-the-houthi-rebels-not-the-saudis-hold-all-the-cards

(* B P)

Saudi peace plan.. golden opportunity or new trap

The plan, observers say, pushed the Houthi group into a corner before the international community that is more determined than ever to put an end to the 6-year-old war, as Yemen is increasingly feared to slide into the worst humanitarian disaster seen by the world for decades.
For others, Riyadh seeks – by this initiative – to lessen the US and European pressures on the Kingdom, to show willingness for peace and disclose the Houthi obduracy toward cessation efforts.
Saudi proposal makes Houthis in direct confrontation with international community
"It's not easy to pretend a kind of optimism," Yemeni former diplomat commented on "the Saudi dodging proposal" which "is closer to an illusion."
This can be taken as "a part of the Saudi series of truces known during the years of war, as a kind of brief rests clearly aimed to mislead the international public opinion so that it [Riyadh] can receive arms shipments," Abdullah al-Hanki added in remarks to Debriefer.
Among reasons why its plan may be different this time, Saudi Arabia is in urgent need to minimize its grave losses, including the recently declared 45% decline in Aramco profits, the former ambassador said.
The Kingdom is not in a position to craft a solution for a crisis plaguing the whole region, unless the "illusive initiative is seen as a way out of the most-needed inclusive cessation of the war, blockade and custody.
"Saudi Arabia is not a party to war on Yemen, but rather the aggressor that raged a war, imagining that Yemen's political weakness and rift following the Islah's coup against February Revolution along with the notorious Gulf Initiative would help it win the war swiftly."
The world needs to know that greed for Saudi billions would only provide the human civilization with accelerated full collapse, the diplomat concluded.

https://debriefer.net/en/news-24027.html

(A P)

Any peace initiative for Yemen should lead to comprehensive political settlement, says former minister

Former Yemeni Minister of Foreign Affairs Abu Baker Al-Qirbi said on Wednesday the war will not stop in Yemen with an initiative from any of the warring parties.

Any peace initiative should include an integrated plan for a comprehensive political solution which can guarantee Yemen's sovereignty and unity and an end to foreign interference in its affairs, he said.

The success of any peace initiative lies in how it achieves the minimum ambitions of each party, he said.

https://debriefer.net/en/news-24028.html

(A P)

Iran says it supports ceasefire in Yemen

Iran said yesterday that it supports any peace plan in Yemen that declares a nationwide ceasefire, a day after Saudi Arabia offered to end nearly six years of war in the Arab country.

"Since the beginning of this war, the Islamic Republic of Iran has emphasised that the Yemen crisis has no military solution," Iran's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"Iran supports all kinds of peace initiatives that will end the occupation, pave the way for the lifting of the economic blockade, initiate political negotiations and enable the transfer of power to Yemeni people without foreign intervention."

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20210324-iran-says-it-supports-ceasefire-in-yemen/

(A P)

Mohammed Abdulsalam: The war was imposed on Yemen, and must be lifted by those who started it

The head of the [Sanaa gov.] national negotiationg delegation, Mohammad Abdulsalam, confirmed on Wednesday that the humanitarian situation in Yemen should not be subject to bargaining or auctioning.

On the sixth anniversary of the Saudi invasion, Abdulsalam explained that “the military, moral and humane failure of the US-Saudi invasion forces is the result of the steadfastness of the Yemeni people.” He pointed out that the political efforts were able to keep pace negotiations going along demonstrating our concern for peace.

“The obstacles the political negotiations have overcome are related to the absence of a real American-Saudi desire to stop the war and lift the siege. Instead, they pass many attempts to buy time and divide the agreements,” he added.

He said that “the position of US, British and French is linked to their vision of the war on Yemen as a market for selling weapons.”

He indicated that “the failure of the aggression to achieve their goals makes them see stopping the war and lifting the siege as a loss for them.”

https://hodhodyemennews.net/2021/03/25/mohammed-abdulsalam-the-war-was-imposed-on-yemen-and-must-be-lifted-by-those-who-started-it/

(* A P)

Mohammed al-Houthi: No direct Saudi peace initiative has been offered so far

Member of the Supreme Political Council, Mohammed Ali Al-Houthi, has said on Wednesday that Yemen has still not received any official initiative from Saudi Arabia, and that what had been announced was “a media call” only.

“If Saudi Arabia was serious about the issue, it would send the initiative in order to be approved by the parties as a real initiative,” Al-Houthi told the Russian Sputnik news agency in an exclusive interview.

He continued: “The fact that they put it to the media without us are being officially informed of it, suggests that there is a lack of seriousness on the part of the Saudis to stop their aggression against Yemen.”

Al-Houthi added that Sana’a government does want a ceasefire, an end to the aggression and a lifting of the siege through practical actions, but does not want to rely on media statements alone.

https://hodhodyemennews.net/2021/03/24/mohammed-al-houthi-no-direct-saudi-peace-initiative-has-been-offered-so-far/

(* A P)

Yemen’s Houthis Say Ready for Peace But Won’t Bargain Over Siege

Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels are ready for an “honorable peace” but Saudi Arabia must end its attacks and lift its siege, group leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi said on Thursday.

“We’re ready for peace, but we cannot compromise on our people’s right to freedom, independence, dignity or their legitimate rights to the delivery of fuel products and humanitarian needs,” he said in a speech to mark the sixth anniversary of the start of a Saudi-led coalition’s bombing campaign in Yemen. “We’re not the attackers. We’re being attacked.”

The speech was al-Houthi’s first official statement after a peace plan proposed by Saudi Arabia on Monday. The kingdom intervened in Yemen’s civil war in 2015 in an attempt to restore the internationally-recognized Yemeni government and counter the influence of regional rival Iran.

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/yemen-s-houthis-say-ready-for-peace-but-won-t-bargain-over-siege-1.1582292 = https://www.worldoil.com/news/2021/3/25/yemen-s-rebels-are-ready-for-peace-with-saudis-with-a-few-conditions

(A P)

US-amerikanische, europäische Waffenfirmen profitieren vom Jemen-Krieg

Der Sprecher der Ansarullah-Bewegung im Jemen gab an, dass US-amerikanische und europäische Waffenhersteller Kriegsverbrechen im Jemen unterstützen und begünstigen, da ihre an Saudi-Arabien und seine Koalitionspartner verkauften Waffen nur dazu beigetragen haben, den Konflikt im verarmten arabischen Land zu verlängern.

"Die Positionen der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika, Großbritanniens, Frankreichs und anderer zur Jemen-Krise haben damit zu tun, dass sie das Land als Markt für den Verkauf von Waffen betrachten", sagte Mohammed Abdul-Salam in einem Interview mit al -Masirah Fernsehsender am Mittwochabend.

Er sagte, dem Riad-Regime und seinen Verbündeten fehle die Entschlossenheit, den Jemen-Krieg zu stoppen und die Luft- und Seeblockade aufzuheben, die die Jemeniten in den letzten sechs Jahren erdrückt habe.

"Das Versäumnis der Parteien der Aggressionskoalition, ihre Ziele zu erreichen, hat die Beendigung des [Jemen-] Krieges und die Aufhebung der Belagerung zu einem völligen Fiasko für sie gemacht", betonte Abdul-Salam.

Der Ansarullah-Sprecher sagte weiter, dass die Politik der Regierung des neuen US-Präsidenten Joe Biden und die seines Vorgängers Donald Trump zwei Seiten derselben Medaille seien.

„Washingtons Positionen unterscheiden sich von Regierung zu Regierung in Bezug auf Medienberichterstattung und Wortwahl. An den Inhalten der Aussagen ändert sich nichts“, sagte er.

Abdul-Salam fügte hinzu, dass seine Gruppe über den Vermittler Oman mit den Vereinigten Staaten in Kontakt stehe und dass Ansarullah keine Probleme darin sehe, mit den Amerikanern am Verhandlungstisch zu sitzen, da sie die von Saudi-Arabien angeführte militärische Aggression gegen den Jemen leiten.

"Wir haben jedoch Vorbehalte, da Verhandlungen in Worten enden und nicht zu Taten führen", unterstrich er.

https://parstoday.com/de/news/middle_east-i57070-us_amerikanische_europ%C3%A4ische_waffenfirmen_profitieren_vom_jemen_krieg

(A P)

US, European weapons companies profit from Yemen war: Sana’a

The spokesman for Yemen’s Ansarullah movement says US and European arms manufactures are aiding and abetting war crimes in Yemen as their weapons sold to Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners have served only to prolong the conflict in the impoverished Arab country.

“The positions of [the United States of] America, Britain, France and others on the Yemen crisis has to do with the fact that they view the country as a market for selling weapons,” Mohammed Abdul-Salam said in an interview with al-Masirah television network on Wednesday evening.

He said the Riyadh regime and its allies lack the determination to stop the Yemen war, and lift the air and sea blockade that has strangled Yemenis for the past six years.

“The failure of parties to the coalition of aggression to attain their goals has rendered stopping the [Yemen] war and lifting the siege a complete fiasco for them,” Abdul-Salam pointed out.

The Ansarullah spokesman went on to say that policies of the administration of new US President Joe Biden and those of his predecessor Donald Trump are two sides of the same coin.

https://parstoday.com/en/news/west_asia-i137706-us_european_weapons_companies_profit_from_yemen_war_sana%E2%80%99a

and also https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14000105000221/Ansarllah-Spkesman-US-Erpean-Weapns-Cmpanies-Prfi-frm-Yemen-War

(A P)

Ansarullah: Saudi Arabia Misleads World Public Opinion Through Its Initiative

Saudi initiative aims at circumventing peace and imposing tutelage on Yemen, member of the political council of Ansarullah Mohammad Al-Bukhaiti said.

During his meeting with Al-Mayadeen, Al-Bukhiti asserted that "the conflict cannot be stopped while one of its parties claims that it is outside this conflict," saying that "Saudi Arabia wants to mislead world public opinion through the initiative."

According to Al-Bukhaiti, "Saudi Arabia requires our acceptance of imposing tutelage on Yemen, but this is not a peace initiative". He affirms that the Saudi initiative is rejected given the conditions it was proposed.

“Yemeni forces have, therefore, no option to break the blockade but to hit targets in the depths of Saudi Arabia,” he added.

https://english.almasirah.net/post/18482/Ansarullah-Saudi-Arabia-Misleads-World-Public-Opinion-Through-Its-Initiative

(A P)

the-southern-transitional-council-welcomes-the-saudi-initiative-to-end-yemeni-crisis

https://en.smanews.org/south-arabia/the-southern-transitional-council-welcomes-the-saudi-initiative-to-end-yemeni-crisis/

(A P)

Judiciary's Human Rights chief slams US claim on Yemen ceasefire

Secretary of the Iranian Judiciary's Human Rights Headquarters Ali Baqeri Kani here on Wednesday slammed American officials’ claims about Saudi-proposed ceasefire plan in Yemen war.

Kani wrote in twitter message that: In order to prove that this ceasefire plan is not merely a means for supporting the butchers of the Yemeni people from Yemen quagmire, the Americans need to ensure the forwarding of food and medical items to the victims of the Saudi air raids so that no more Yemeni women and children will lose their lives of hunger and lack of access to proper medicines.

https://en.irna.ir/news/84273874/Judiciary-s-Human-Rights-chief-slams-US-claim-on-Yemen-ceasefire

(* A P)

Iran downplays Saudi peace plan for Yemen conflict

Iranian authorities continue to cast doubt on the latest Saudi peace proposal for Yemen, where Tehran and Riyadh have been locking horns for more than six years in a deadly proxy war.

“The Saudi initiative for Yemen is a project to perpetuate the war, and to continue the occupation and war crimes,” tweeted Hasan Irlu, Iran's ambassador to Sanaa.

Irlu was one of a number of Iranian officials who have dismissed the peace plan unveiled by Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan March 23.

https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2021/03/iran-downplays-saudi-peace-plan-yemen-conflict

(* A P)

Iran envoy to Sana’a: Saudi ‘peace’ plan only perpetuates war, occupation in Yemen

Iranian Ambassador to Sana’a Hassan Irlu has dismissed Saudi Arabia’s so-called peace initiative on the Yemen conflict, saying the plan would only perpetuate military aggression, occupation and war crimes in the Arab country.

“The Saudi initiative for Yemen is a project of permanent war; it will keep up occupation and war crimes there, and will not put an end to the war,” Irlu wrote in a post published on his Twitter page early on Wednesday.

He added, “A true initiative means that the war is completely stopped, the blockade is fully lifted, the occupation ends, Saudi military forces are withdrawn, mercenaries and Takfiris are no longer supported by [large sums of] money and weapons, and political dialogue is held between Yemenis without any foreign interference.”

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2021/03/24/647950/Saudi-initiative-will-perpetuate-war-in-Yemen,-incite-more-occupation-war-crimes-Iran-envoy

and also https://english.almasirah.net/post/18480/Iran-Envoy-to-Sana-a-Saudi-%98Peace-Plan-Only-Perpetuates-War%2C-Occupation-in-Yemen

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14000104000174/Iranian-Envy-Rejecs-Sadi-Peace-Plan

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20210324-yemen-iranian-envoy-says-saudi-peace-plan-prolongs-war-and-occupation/

https://english.almasirah.net/post/18485/Iran-Envoy-to-Sana-a-Saudi-Peace-Plan-Only-Perpetuates-War%2C-Occupation-in-Yemen

and

(A P)

Former Houthi leader slams Iranian envoy over tweet on Saudi offer to end Yemen war

Political activist and writer Ali Al-Bukhaiti has slammed the Iranian envoy to Yemen's Houthi-controlled capital Sanaa Hassan Irlu over his tweet on the latest Saudi initiative to end Yemen war.

He expressed his shock over Irlu's rudeness and audacity, saying the Iranian envoy's description of the opponents of the Houthis as Takfiri people lacks political wisdom.

https://debriefer.net/en/news-24017.html

(A P)

Peace initiative reflects Saudi Arabia’s concern for Yemen’s security and stability, notes Cabinet

Saudi Arabia’s initiative to end the crisis in Yemen demonstrates its continued concern for the security and stability of the war-hit country as well as the region, the Cabinet noted on Tuesday.
During a virtual session chaired by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, the Cabinet added that the initiative comes as serious and practical support for peace and political efforts made at the global level, stressing that the Kingdom reserves all rights to defend its territories, citizens and residents against the systematic attacks being carried out by the Iran-backed Houthi militias targeting civilian facilities and vital installations.
The Cabinet expressed absolute rejection of Iranian interventions in the region, a behavior that has resulted in prolonging the Yemeni crisis through supporting the Houthis with missiles and weapons in addition to contributing to developing all kinds of weapons and violating the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

https://saudigazette.com.sa/article/604730/SAUDI-ARABIA/Peace-initiative-reflects-Saudi-Arabias-concern-for-Yemens-security-and-stability-notes-Cabinet

My comment: Really???????

(A P)

Russia Stresses Need to Completely Lift Naval, Air, Land Blockade on Yemen

The Russian Foreign Ministry said, in a statement issued Tuesday: “The Saudi Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan, announced during a special press conference held on March 22, an initiative by the Kingdom for a peaceful settlement of the crisis in Yemen, Moscow welcomes these proposals,"according to Russia Today.

The ministry added, "We have been and continue to call for an end to the ongoing military confrontation in Yemen as soon as possible while ensuring sustainable stability and national consensus in this country. We proceed from the fact that achieving a comprehensive and long-term settlement of this conflict is possible based on taking the interests of all prominent political forces in Yemen into consideration."

The Russian Foreign Ministry stated: "This matter includes the complete lifting of the sea, air and land blockade on the country's lands, as well as taking other urgent practical steps aimed at addressing the critical socio-economic and humanitarian conditions in Yemen."

https://english.almasirah.net/post/18473/Russia-Stresses-Need-to-Completely-Lift-Naval%2C-Air%2C-Land-Blockade-on-Yemen

and also https://hodhodyemennews.net/2021/03/24/russia-demands-full-end-of-saudi-blockade-on-yemen/

(A P)

Ball in Houthis court, says Saudi Arabia’s UN envoy Al-Mouallimi

Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the UN, Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, on Tuesday welcomed the “overwhelmingly positive” international reaction to the Kingdom’s plan to end the war in Yemen and said the “ball is in the Houthis’ court.”
“We have had statements of support from numerous countries and from their missions here in New York,” Al-Mouallimi said during an interview with Arab News.
“We’ve had a statement of support from the (UN) secretary-general (Antonio Guterres) personally, and we have been receiving more and more indications of support from all concerned parties.
“So it has been overwhelmingly positive and we are looking forward to being able to translate that momentum into action on the ground, and into steps that the Houthis will be willing to take in response to the international call for peace.”

Al-Mouallimi said his country expects the international community to send a clear message to the Houthi rebels that they must avoid “procrastination and looking for excuses.”

“The ball is in the Houthis’ court. They need to come out clearly and accept the Saudi initiative. They need to come clean and not give priority to the interests of outside parties, but rather to the interest of the Yemeni people. That’s where the ball lies and that’s where we are waiting to see if we have a partner for peace or not.”
Al-Mouallimi declined to speculate about possible options should the Houthis fail to respond in good faith

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1830826/saudi-arabia

and

(A P)

Film: Saudi ambassador to UN makes case for ongoing Yemen war

Saudi Arabia has proposed a ceasefire plan in war-torn Yemen in hopes of putting a stop to the country's bloody civil war after more than six years. The carnage, malnutrition and suffering in Yemen have led the situation to be deemed the world's worst humanitarian crisis. But Houthi rebels say the peace proposal doesn't go far enough. His Excellency Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, Permanent Representative of Saudi Arabia to the UN, shares his insights.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcJW1Q-cStw&t

(B P)

A new route to peace in Yemen

In a conflict long plagued by diplomatic disappointment, this initiative will seem ambitious. But momentum is strong, particularly as a result of determination among the Saudi-led coalition, GCC countries, the Biden administration and the UN. This confluence of determination dares the Houthis to participate in a re-invigorated peace process

Clearly defining an enduring framework for Yemen's stability will sustain any potential peace into the future, providing an incentive to stay politically engaged for even the most belligerent parties. The Saudi deal puts on the table the many benefits all sides stand to win if they enter the process with good faith. These include a constructive political process between the internationally-recognised Hadi government and the Houthis, and the more practical necessities of re-opening both Houthi-controlled Sanaa International Airport and the port of Hodeidah, vital entry points for much needed-food and fuel imports.

The Houthis have, in the first instance, rejected the proposal, describing it as "nothing new". But this round of negotiations is merely beginning. Saudi Arabia has acknowledged ongoing communications with the Houthis via the government of Oman, indicating some commitment from both sides to find a solution.

A federal structure, in which strong local governance counterbalances the power of the central government, is likely to prove the best way forward. It recognises the aspirations of Yemen's firmly ingrained regional identity groups while safeguarding a unified state. It would also diminish the appeal of separatism. But in the end it will be for the Yemenis to decide.

https://www.thenationalnews.com/opinion/editorial/a-new-route-to-peace-in-yemen-1.1189938

My remark: By an UAE news site.

(A P)

STATEMENT ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE SPOKESPERSON OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL - ON THE SUPPORT OF THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA TO A NEGOTIATED POLITICAL SETTLEMENT TO THE YEMEN CONFLICT

The Secretary-General welcomes the announcement by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on steps to help end the fighting and restart the political process in Yemen. He expresses his thanks to the Kingdom for its support for the United Nations efforts.

The Secretary-General welcomes all steps aimed at bringing the parties closer to a resolution in line with the efforts by his Special Envoy, Martin Griffiths, to secure a nationwide ceasefire, the re-opening of Sana’a airport, the regular flow of fuel and other commodities into Yemen through Hudaydah port and move to an inclusive political process to reach a comprehensive negotiated settlement to end the conflict.

https://osesgy.unmissions.org/statement-attributable-spokesperson-secretary-general-support-kingdom-saudi-arabia-negotiated = https://www.un.org/press/en/2021/sgsm20647.doc.htm

and also https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/03/1088102

(* B P)

Saudi Arabia’s Cease-Fire Offer Leaves the Houthis Isolated

A shifting international dynamic may now move the balance within the Houthi movement toward those who favor negotiations.

Saudi Arabia's announcement that it has offered to the Houthis a cease-fire arrangement, along with its quick endorsement by the government of Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Manour Hadi, has left the Houthi rejectionist position exposed and increasingly difficult to maintain.

While the initial response from the Houthi side that the Saudis "had not offered anything new" is correct, the fact is that it incorporated consistent Houthi demands for reopening the airport at Yemen's capital of Sana'a and lifting the blockade of the port at Hodeidah. In that regard, the Saudi offer parallels the key planks of the Joint Declaration initiative that UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths has been tabling with the parties since last year, as well as the proposal that U.S. Special Envoy Tim Lenderking has offered to the parties in his two recent visits to the region. Thus, the Saudis have now firmly aligned their policy on ending the Yemen conflict with that of the broader international community.

The Saudi initiative potentially changes the Houthi international environment dramatically.

With the Saudis now joining the international consensus on ending the conflict, the days of the Houthi "free pass" may be drawing rapidly to a close, as attention pivots to consider their continued rejection of cease-fire proposals as the last remaining obstacle to ending Yemen's humanitarian catastrophe.

The Houthi movement, known as Ansar Allah, has long been factionalized between those who favored seeking a negotiated end to the conflict and those who believed they could achieve a military victory in the conflict. Over the course of the conflict, both sides have appeared to enjoy the upper hand. The Houthi inner circle will now need to address conditions that contrast starkly from where they rested in the immediate preceding period.

In the weeks since President Joe Biden's dramatic announcement that the United States would withdraw support from the Saudi-led coalition's intervention and emphasize a diplomatic initiative to end the fighting, the Houthi militarists appeared energized. They insisted that their military campaign in Yemen's strategic Marib governorate, along with their intensified drone and missile attacks into Saudi territory, would force a resolution of the conflict on terms favorable to them.

Whether their campaign was designed to improve their negotiating position once political talks resumed or whether they believed that they could actually secure a comprehensive victory on the battlefield, those advocating a continuation of the fighting appeared to have the ear of Houthi leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi.

The shifting international dynamic may now move the balance within the Houthi movement toward those who favor negotiations – by Gerald Feierstein, ex-US ambassador to Yemen

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/articles/2021-03-23/saudi-arabias-cease-fire-offer-leaves-the-houthis-isolated

(** B P)

Saudi ceasefire plan unlikely to pause Yemen war: analysts

Here are some key questions on the Saudi proposal:

Is it a game changer?

Not unless the Huthis accept the deal and halt their expanding offensive.

The rebels have already brushed off the proposal as "nothing new", with a Huthi spokesman reiterating their demand that a Saudi-led air and sea blockade on Yemen be completely lifted first.

The Saudis have only offered to partially ease their naval and air blockade, which they say is necessary to prevent the smuggling of weapons to the rebels from their arch-enemy Iran.

Their proposal includes a plan to reopen Sanaa airport to some international flights and a revenue-sharing deal for oil shipments to Hodeida, a contested Red Sea port that is a key conduit for humanitarian aid.

"The Saudi proposal appears to double down on the idea that it is the Huthis who have to make concessions here," said International Crisis Group analyst Peter Salisbury. "That won't sit well with negotiators in Sanaa.

"The Huthi response has been clear: they say this is an old offer, and that they've been clear in their position -- completely lift barriers to movement on Hodeida and Sanaa airport."

Why now?

Saudi Arabia, which led a military coalition into Yemen in 2015 to support the internationally recognised government, is under growing military pressure.

"Saudi is losing the war; it wants out," said Thomas Juneau, an assistant professor at the University of Ottawa. "Huthis are now dominant on the ground, so expect no flexibility on their part."

"Like its 2020 ceasefire, (Saudi) is framing itself as the peace-seeker (without) giving in to Huthi demands," said Casey Coombs, a researcher at the Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies.

"Knowing full well the Huthis will continue fighting for Marib and firing rockets into (the kingdom), Saudi is betting this move will portray Huthis as the aggressors."

Will it affect the humanitarian situation?

The Saudi offer is unlikely to "move the needle much in Yemen" in terms of the fighting, said Gregory Johnsen, who has written widely on US policy in the country.

If there is no letup in the fighting, aid groups warn the humanitarian crisis gripping Yemen could worsen and hasten its slide into a famine.

In particular, the loss of Marib would spell catastrophe for civilians, including at least one million displaced people sheltering in the region.

What's next?

"More talk and probably more cross-border air strikes, missile, drone attacks and fighting on the ground," said Salisbury.

"We're in a period where the parties are using all tools at their disposal to improve their bargaining position."

Saudi officials have acknowledged they are engaged in back-channel communications with the rebels.

https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20210323-saudi-ceasefire-plan-unlikely-to-pause-yemen-war-analysts = https://www.barrons.com/news/saudi-ceasefire-plan-unlikely-to-pause-yemen-war-analysts-01616502027

(* B P)

Saudi peace offer vindicates Biden strategy

Other than the tens of thousands of Houthi fighters that have been killed (and easily replaced), the Yemen quagmire is all pain, no gain for Saudi Arabia.

That said, after years of insisting military victory could be accomplished, Salman is finally making peace with reality. Not only are the Houthis unlikely to be defeated on the battlefield, but the continuation of Saudi operations will probably empower hardliners in the movement who were never particularly interested in negotiating a way out of this conflict. The Saudis appear to have come to a simple conclusion: The drone and missile attacks on Saudi cities and oil refineries will remain a fact of life as long as the war goes on.

Enter Riyadh’s ceasefire proposal to the Houthis.

The Saudi peace initiative is a straightforward one. A

Unfortunately, the Houthis don’t have a clear reason to say "yes" at the moment (a Houthi spokesman immediately downplayed the initiative). While the Saudi peace proposal is a good step in the right direction and demonstrates Riyadh’s renewed interest in getting out of a mess it helped create, Houthi officials aren’t blind to the realities on the ground. They look at the present state of affairs in Yemen and see themselves on the upswing against an anti-Houthi coalition that is as wobbly as an old rocking chair. Houthi forces are pressing on with their offensive in gas-rich Marib.

The war in Yemen is likely to go on until one of two things happens.

First, one side becomes strong enough to defeat the other militarily. Or second, the main parties to the conflict burn themselves out and come to the conclusion that they can get more by talking than fighting.

If there is any winner here, it's the United States — not because the ceasefire offer will produce peace or even be implemented, but rather because the mere act of Riyadh formally presenting it vindicates the Biden administration’s decision to remove the U.S. from the civil war – by Daniel DePetris

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/saudi-peace-offer-vindicates-biden-strategy

(B P)

What’s behind the Saudi ceasefire proposal in Yemen?

Ceasefire agreements between Houthis and Saudi coalition have rarely held up in deadlocked six-year conflict in Yemen.

“The Saudi proposal appears to double down on the idea that it is the Houthis who have to make concessions here,” International Crisis Group analyst Peter Salisbury told the AFP news agency. “That won’t sit well with negotiators in Sanaa.

“The Houthi response has been clear: they say this is an old offer, and that they’ve been clear in their position – completely lift barriers to movement on Hodeidah and Sanaa airport.”

Casey Coombs, a researcher at the Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies, said Saudi Arabia “is framing itself as the peace-seeker”.

“Knowing full well the Houthis will continue fighting for Marib and firing rockets into [the kingdom], Saudi is betting this move will portray Houthis as the aggressors.”

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/3/23/yemens-ceasefire-attempts-between-houthis-and-saudi-coalition

(A P)

Oman welcomes Saudi Arabia’s Yemen peace initiative

https://fm.gov.om/oman-welcomes-saudi-arabias-yemen-peace-initiative/

(* A P)

Iran joins Houthis in dismissing Saudi Arabia's Yemen ceasefire proposal

Iran appears to have dismissed Saudi Arabia's ceasefire proposal to Yemen's Tehran-backed Houthi rebels, state media reported on Tuesday.

Semi-official Tasnim news agency carried a statement by the Iranian foreign ministry marking the start of the "seventh year" of the Saudi-led coalition's "continued aggression" in Yemen.
The statement described the intervention - widely seen as the beginning of a proxy war between Riyadh and Tehran - as a "terrible crime" against the "innocent people of Yemen".

The statement did not name the ceasefire offer but appeared to indirectly attack it - bringing into question the current Saudi-led blockade on the country and arms sales to Riyadh.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran has maintained from the beginning of this conflict that Yemen's crisis has no military solution," it said.

"Iran supports any peace plan founded on ending the aggression, a comprehensive ceasefire, ending the occupation, lifting the economic blockade, launching of political negotiations and finally, leaving the matter - without foreign interference - to Yemeni hands who are responsible for planning their future".

https://english.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2021/3/23/iran-joins-houthis-in-dismissing-saudi-yemen-ceasefire-proposal

(* A P)

Al-Jaber: UN Envoy Decides on Arrangements to Reopen Sanaa Airport

Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Yemen, Mohammed Al-Jaber, said Monday that UN envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths would be responsible for all the arrangements to reopen Sanaa’s airport.

“The initiative of opening the airport is comprehensive and once the Yemeni government and the Houthi militias accept it, the UN envoy will get involved with the parties to set the necessary arrangements and mechanism whether for the ceasefire or the airport opening process and proceed with the Stockholm agreement, according to the agreed upon arrangements,” the Ambassador said.

Al-Jaber was speaking during a press conference held by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan to announce the Kingdom’s new peace initiative on the war in Yemen.

https://english.aawsat.com/home/article/2876476/al-jaber-un-envoy-decides-arrangements-reopen-sanaa-airport

(B P)

Saudis Offer Ceasefire to Yemen’s Houthis as Conflict Escalates

“Coming out publicly with a ceasefire plan — as the Saudis have done unsuccessfully in the past as well — is meant to force the Houthis to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ publicly,” Elana DeLozier, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told AFP.

“Their rejection of the proposal allows the Saudi-led coalition to claim the Houthis are the problem. In that sense, this plan may be Saudi public messaging to Washington to try to make the pitch that they are serious about peace and it is the Houthis who are not,” DeLozier added.

https://www.thedefensepost.com/2021/03/23/saudi-offer-houthis-ceasefire/

(B P)

#Saudi #peace proposal for #Yemen takes ownership of the 4 priorities already set out by UN & US -Nationwide #ceasefire -Deposit Hodeidah oil revenues in joint account (UN plan was broader) -Open Sanaa airport -Political talks Also note the recognition of #Oman's positive role

#Saudi has seized the initiative on #Yemen & won international praise (see pic). But don't under-estimate the obstacles -War economy disincentivizes powerful elements from peace -Sticking points are many, e.g. blockade, UN res.2216 -Houthis are on a roll; war is a way of life

https://twitter.com/Dr_E_Kendall/status/1374323805158526982

(B P)

Saudi Arabia wants guns to fall silent in Yemen

Al Houthis need to come out of this militaristic mindset if Yemen is to attain any semblance of stability. There is no military solution in Yemen; the country’s fundamental problem is a political one and it requires a political solution. For any solution to take hold, the guns need to fall silent first.

True to form, Al Houthis have so far not made any encouraging statement about the latest Saudi offer. That’s a pity, as the Saudi announcement is a golden opportunity for the militia, which can end the suffering of the Yemeni people and uphold the interests of Yemen in the face of Iranian expansionist goals. The initiative will take effect as soon as the militia agrees to it. The ball is in Al Houthis’ court.

https://gulfnews.com/opinion/editorials/saudi-arabia-wants-guns-to-fall-silent-in-yemen-1.78040994

(A P)

More Countries Welcome Saudi Initiative to End Yemen Crisis

https://english.aawsat.com/home/article/2878536/more-countries-welcome-saudi-initiative-end-yemen-crisis

Fortsetzung / Sequel: cp2 – cp19

https://www.freitag.de/autoren/dklose/jemenkrieg-mosaik-730b-yemen-war-mosaic-730b

https://www.freitag.de/autoren/dklose/jemenkrieg-mosaik-730c-yemen-war-mosaic-730c

Vorige / Previous:

https://www.freitag.de/autoren/dklose/jemenkrieg-mosaik-729-yemen-war-mosaic-729

Jemenkrieg-Mosaik 1-729 / Yemen War Mosaic 1-729:

https://www.freitag.de/autoren/dklose oder / or http://poorworld.net/YemenWar.htm

Der saudische Luftkrieg im Bild / Saudi aerial war images:

(18 +, Nichts für Sensible!) / (18 +; Graphic!)

http://poorworld.net/YemenWar.htm

http://yemenwarcrimes.blogspot.de/

http://www.yemenwar.info/

Liste aller Luftangriffe / and list of all air raids:

http://yemendataproject.org/data/

Untersuchung ausgewählter Luftangriffe durch Bellingcat / Bellingcat investigations of selected air raids:

https://yemen.bellingcat.com/

Untersuchungen von Angriffen, hunderte von Filmen / Investigations of attacks, hundreds of films:

https://yemeniarchive.org/en

10:29 27.03.2021
Dieser Beitrag gibt die Meinung des Autors wieder, nicht notwendigerweise die der Redaktion des Freitag.
Geschrieben von

Dietrich Klose

Vielfältig interessiert am aktuellen Geschehen, zur Zeit besonders: Ukraine, Russland, Jemen, Rolle der USA, Neoliberalismus, Ausbeutung der 3. Welt
Schreiber 0 Leser 22
Dietrich Klose

Kommentare