Bumpy road ahead to reconcile Yemen warring sides

Yemeni fighters loyal to exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi wait in their pick-up trucks on a road in the Sirwah area, in Marib province on April 9, 2016. [Xinhua]
Yemeni fighters loyal to exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi wait in their pick-up trucks on a road in the Sirwah area, in Marib province on April 9, 2016. [Xinhua]

The internationally recognized government of Yemen has rejected a peace plan proposed by the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shortly after it turned down a UN-proposed peace roadmap.

It is saying both the U.S. and UN plans can’t lay the groundwork for permanent peace or rather they may legitimize the Houthi-Saleh coup. Moreover, the two plans were not based on the Gulf Initiative, the outcomes of the national dialogue conference and the UNSC’s resolution 2216, it says.

The U.S. and UN plans primarily called for an immediate ceasefire and forming a national government from all factions by end of the year. Under the two plans, president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi may transfer his powers to a new vice president that the two plans suggest to be selected consensually.

The government’s rejection of the US and UN plans is a sign of total confusion of all including foreign players, the US in particular.

Observers argued that the US role toward Yemen is based on commitment to back the US biggest ally in the region, Saudi Arabia. Both countries are now seeking any peace deal before US president Barack Obama leaves office.

Moreover, they are facing mounting pressure and criticism over the war and its tragic consequences including the catastrophic humanitarian crisis and that is why they appear confused and showing self-contradiction, observers said.

Yaseen Al-Tamimi, a political writer and analyst, said the US role is actually complicating things.

“The US is talking about a greater role by the Houthis in Yemen in the future and that comes within its suspicious and chaotic policy designed to empower or rather bring ‘sectarian’ minorities to power,” he said.

“Such role exposes self-contradiction of the US which apparently supports the legitimate government. Moreover, the Houthi-Saleh alliance is taking advantage of the US efforts to deepen their coup and then set tough conditions most of which will not serve peace in the end,” he added.

In the context of the US role toward the situation in Yemen, observers said the new US administration under the president-elect Donald Trump is expected to play a different role in Yemen.

Hassan Al-Wareeth, a political writer and analyst, said the republicans’ foreign policy is different from the democrats’, usually featuring direct interventions including military action.

“If it continues, the cost of the Saudi-led war on Yemen will be much higher after Trump takes office. Saudi Arabia has suffered huge economic losses because of its involvement in the wars in Syria, Yemen and maybe other countries and will not accept to lose further,” Al-Wareeth said.

“And that’s why Saudi Arabia backed the Muscat talks between Kerry and Houthis as a groundwork for a peace deal,” he added.

The government and the General People’s Congress GPC, the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s party which allied with the Houthis, did not attend the Muscat talks.

Adil Al-Shuja’a, a politics professor at Sanaa University, said there are attempts to divide the Houthi-Saleh alliance. “The Houthis will accept any deal with Saudi Arabia and through the US. The GPC won’t. The US seems to be taking advantage of this key difference between the Houthis and Saleh,” Al-Shuja’a elaborated.

“Saudi Arabia and the US think that breaking up the Houthi-Saleh alliance will help serve peace their own way. But actually they are wrong. The GPC won’t make any concessions after the Saudi-led aggression on Yemen which is backed by the US,” he added.

Objectively, all developments say there will be no peace in Yemen, not any soon.

It is not impossible but rather we need great and sincere efforts to bring the factions around one table and then unite positions of foreign players, observers said.

Fuad Alsalahi, a professor of political sociology at Sanaa University, said the Yemeni factions have nothing in common and their attitudes are not logical.

Each side’s demands and ambitions are very complicated, he said. “The previous facts besides the failure to achieve a military victory make the road to peace very long”.

“And there is another key fact: the Yemeni factions are obvious proxies and can’t make their own decisions. Being proxies is a big roadblock to peace as well,” Alsalahi said.

“What is happening here is that the factions are mixing cards and deepening the chaos amid their military and political failures,” Alsalahi concluded. Enditem

Source: Fuad Rajeh, Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

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