The Yemen quagmire

 04 Jan 2016 - 2:21

By Dr Mohamed Al Rumaihi


The new year has begun and there is no more hope, especially for the eastern part of the Arab region, which is riven by conflicts. The international community doesn’t want to settle them, either the Competing Powers want to benefit from them, to achieve their goals like the wars in Iraq, Syria and Libya.
There is a war or wars, the international community wants to forget it, especially the Yemen war.
So, the new year opens on wars no one wants to solve, and wars wanted to be forgotten, and the last one can be called the Yemen trap. Why trap? Because the great nations like United States and Russia consider this war not necessary.
The war in Yemen must be transferred to war between tribes, and some of them can be fight each other for decades without that affect that on the countries’ general strategies, or make any risks on their interests.
Houthis project became known for all, it has two phases, the first one to become “kings’ maker” in Sanaa by letting Ali Abdullah Saleh to become a president, and he is a person and regime expelled by Yemeni people.
And after that step, Houthis becomes like Hizbullah in Lebanon, which means to become control the country without to govern it directly. Through this situation it becomes weapon can be use for Iranian interests, just when Iran decided that and in the place they choose. And the negotiations in Switzerland during last month has showed that clearly.
The legitimate government delegation brought a project commenting on the paper named “Neutral”, which provided by The United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, while delegations of (Houthis – Saleh) have no clear attitude or position about the points that they have to discuss, except to ask ceasefire and to release Ali Saleh’s money!
Negotiations sessions in Switzerland showed that the real negotiator is Houthis, while Ali Saleh delegation was mostly repeating what Houthis saying, and has one thing to release Saleh’s funds. Houthis didn’t pay attention to that important point to Saleh, because their leader has no account banks outside Yemen, or interests outside Yemen, he is there in Cave in Saada.
The most discussion in the first (round) tour restricted on the minor things and not the main issues, in order get a reasonable solution in Yemen, which most of its people suffers today from poverty.
The steps provided by legitimate delegation didn’t matched by positives ones from Houthis and Saleh, even they didn’t reply on one simple humanitarian question “Are Detainees that you have, and among them Defense Minister and a number of politicians, dead or alive?.. even this humanitarian question didn’t reply. The international community is hypocritical about what Arab people face in their daily lives. At the same time, he admits the legitimate government, it issued UN resolution 2216 included all punishments and under the chapter seven, which is the possibility of intervention by force in case the causing of all humanitarian disasters not responding (in this case Al Houthis and Saleh).
Under the excuse of factors on the ground, the international community does not want to give much attention to the UN resolution 2216 making the Yemeni government responsible for finding solution for the problem. The government went to Geneva negotiation in order not miss the chance of finding solution and to avoid creating further confusion in the international community, in addition to showing the Houthis and Saleh’s incredibility and end the bloodshed in Yemen.
The new development is about Yemeni-Yemeni dialogue which expected to take place in the coming days. But the coming negotiation will not be better than the previous ones because it is serious attempt by the Houthis and Saleh to distract attention from the core issue saying “it is Yemeni war against foreign hostility” and this finally will lead to failure of the negotiation. The strategy adopted by the Houthis and Saleh is not far from the view of Iran and perhaps Russia which seeks to drag Arab countries into this war and then make them give up on other issues such as the Syrian case. The war then is not on the battle field rather it is diplomacy and this needs unified view from the Arab Alliance supporting the legitimate government in Yemen.
So there is need for counter strategy based on the fact that the war in Yemen is to defend legitimacy in Yemen, and to meet the demands of Yemenis to get rid from the old regime and his elements. Secondly the negotiators must not accept to change the war into endless and forgotten or war for exhaustion. Perhaps this is the first time to see international law changing rapidly. UN decision No 2216 considered the Houthis and Saleh as outlaw groups and now they are trying to make the resolution meaningless by accepting them as partner in the coming negations.
The upcoming meeting on January 14 will be meaningless and waste of time unless the legitimate government refuse changing the war in Yemen into a trap.
The writer is an academician and researcher in GCC affairs.