Yemen’s Conflict moves into its 5th year amid decreasing peace initiative

People flee clashes near the Aden international airport in Aden, Yemen, on March 25, 2015. The Shiite Houthi group took control over Aden international airport after the retreat of tribal militia on Wednesday evening, a security official told Xinhua. (Xinhua)
People flee clashes near the Aden international airport in Aden, Yemen, on March 25, 2015. The Shiite Houthi group took control over Aden international airport after the retreat of tribal militia on Wednesday evening, a security official told Xinhua. (Xinhua)

War-ravaged Yemen entered the fifth year of the years-long internal military conflict on Tuesday amid an ongoing escalation in fighting and complete absence of peaceful solutions despite the difficult economic and humanitarian conditions caused by the non-stop violence.

Since March 2015, Yemen has been witnessing intense armed confrontations between the government forces loyal to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and the Houthi rebels. After receiving a public request from Hadi, a Saudi-led Arab coalition has been carrying out military operations in Yemen since March 26, 2015, in support of the government forces and confronting the Houthi rebels. The pro-Hadi coalition accuses Iran of supporting the Houthis militarily, a charge repeatedly denied by Tehran. As the war just entered its fifth year, the military operations started to escalate in various parts of the country with no signs of a peaceful solution to end the crisis in the impoverished Arab country, which the United Nations says is suffering “the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.”

No clear prospects for a peaceful solution in Yemen as the fighting continues in escalation day after day as a result of the regional interventions that are fueling the conflict, according to Yemeni analysts who spoke to Xinhua. Nabil al-Bukiri, director of the Arab Forum for Studies and Development, said that “what Yemen is going through today is a war in which foreign powers are largely involved, so it goes on without a horizon and every day grows into more complication.” “Wars in Yemen are often short and fleeting except for this war that is involving foreign powers may take a long and unspecified period,” said al-Bukiri who is also a prominent Yemeni political writer and analyst.

The UN sponsored a series of rounds of peace consultations between the Yemeni-warring parties, the lastest was in last December in Sweden and ended by signing an agreement that called for terminating the military operations in Hodeidah and the withdrawal of warring troops from the strategic city. However, nothing of the agreement’s provisions have been implemented so far. According to the writer and political analyst Ahmed al-Moayyad, there is an “evasion” of implementing Stockholm’s Peace Agreement, and that’s “an indicator that does not call for optimism in the future of the Yemeni crisis.” Al-Moayad, who also was a member of the Houthi media delegation in Sweden’s consultations, said that the Saudi-led Arab coalition and Hadi’s government are trying “to evade the discussions of the political solution.”

They wanted the Houthis and their allied parties based in Sanaa to remain as unrecognized rebels and only the Saudi-backed government to stay as legitimate rulers forever, he added. Undersecretary of the Information Ministry Fayyad Al-Nu’man told Xinhua that the Yemeni government is still committed to the real peace option based on national references and the international resolutions issued by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). “The Houthi group is not looking for a real peace that will end the manifestations of the coup and lead to restoring the occupied institutions of the government, but they are looking for a peace that only serves a foreign power and not the Yemeni society,” said Fayyad. He pointed out that “the Houthis are continuing to obstruct all international conventions and UNSC resolutions in a clear direction aimed at serving Iran’s expansionist project in the region.”

With Yemen’s entering into the fifth year of civil war, the economic and humanitarian conditions are continuing in deterioration, particularly with the salary cuts issue that led millions of Yemenis into the brink of starvation. “The situation is very tragic,” said Mansour Jaradi, head of a development media center in Yemen. “There are no signs of a breakthrough. The ongoing war is doubling its wounds every day, and people are no longer able to withstand,” said Jaradi. He pointed out that hundreds of thousands of employees have lost their jobs and millions of people have spent their savings and have now relied on humanitarian aid that is no longer feasible.

Earlier in the day, the supporters of the Houthi group Tuesday staged a large rally in Sanaa and other northern provinces under the group’s control on the occasion of what they called “four years of steadfastness in the confrontation of the aggression.” The leader of the Houthi group, Abdul-Malik Al-Houthi said in an earlier televised speech addressed his supporters that “the fifth year is coming with all the factors of strength and steadfastness.” The government forces, supported by the coalition, are still battling the Houthis in the Red Sea coast city of Hodeidah and other Yemeni provinces including Taiz, al-Dhalea, al-Bayda, Sanaa, Marib, al-Jawf, and even in Saada province, the main stronghold of the Houthi group in the far north of Yemen.

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