News Analysis |
The first meeting between all the stakeholders of the Yemen War, including Houthi Rebels and the ousted Hadi government representatives alongside Saudi Arabia, UAE, and other countries, will be held in the first week of December, the U.S defense secretary said. “It looks like very, very early in December up in Sweden we’ll see both the Houthi rebel side and the UN-recognized-President Hadi’s government will be up there,” Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon. “The Saudis and the Emiratis are fully on board,” he added.
The United Nations special representative for Yemen Martin Griffiths, who has arrived in the port city Hodeida, played a crucial role in the breakthrough. Earlier the Houthi rebels announced that they would halt the missile and drone attacks on coalition forces led by Saudi Arabia, following a request from the United Nations.
The purpose of the visit is likely to discuss the plausible outcomes of the peace talks and how the coalition states would be proceeding to curb the Iranian influence in the Arabian Peninsula.
The conflict began in 2015 between President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi and the armed Houthi rebels where both were claiming to have control over the territory and formation of the government. The Houthi rebels started to win territory from the government forces capturing Saada province and finally reaching Sanaa. Because of the Shia background of the Houthi tribes, Saudi Arabia feared the Iranian influence right next to its border and went to war with Houthi rebels by forming a coalition which has several other Arab countries as well.
The conflict has gone from bad to worse over the years and still, there is no clear winner. However, more than 50,000 lives are lost in the process with a great percentage of civilian casualties as well, often termed as “collateral damage”. The United Nations has already declared Yemen as the greatest humanitarian crisis of the contemporary world where millions are prone to hunger due to food shortage, a condition where children are suffering the most.
The United States, UK, and France who have provided the Saudi coalition logistic and intelligence support against the Houthis, are subjected to increased internal and external pressure to push Saudi Arabia negotiations. Lawmakers are calling for the US to stop providing Saudi Arabia with logistical support in Yemen or selling it arms.
The United Nations special representative for Yemen Martin Griffiths, who has arrived in the port city Hodeida, played a crucial role in the breakthrough.
The murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul helped the Yemeni cause where voices inside America echoed to weigh the humanitarian crisis in Yemen with equal importance if not more as the U.S government was concerned about the death of Washington Post contributor. The unfortunate incident at the consulate also weakened the Saudi position and the U.S was successful to tap in and make use of the opportunity to bring the Saudis on the negotiations table.
While the cease-fire, for the time being, has certainly provided the breathing space and the opportunity to work around in the issue via talks, experts believe that it is still uncertain as to whether Saudi Arabia is willing to abide the steps needed for the war to end. Before the peace talks begin in the first week of December, the Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has set out on the official visit to the Arab states.
The purpose of the visit is likely to discuss the plausible outcomes of the peace talks and how the coalition states would be proceeding to curb the Iranian influence in the Arabian Peninsula. The stakes for the United States are too high to coerce Saudi Arabia into bending toward the international pressure for ending the conflict in Yemen. But Khashoggi’s death has provided the requisite manoeuvring ground which might result in something positive for the people of Yemen who are suffering from hunger and diseases.