September 19, 2021


Yemeni factions have warily welcomed the U.S. initiative to salvage the peace process.

The Saudi-backed government said, it will deal with any effort to end the conflict, if it is in line with the GCC-drafted power transfer deal in 2011, the outcome of the national dialogue conference and the UN Security Council's resolution 2216.

And the Houthi-Saleh alliance, represented by the lately formed supreme political council said, it will deal positively with any peace effort, if it guarantees an end to Saudi-led military campaign and blockade on Yemen.

Actually their wariness is not a good sign, observers said, while expecting Kerry's initiative, revealed on Thursday, is likely to be a waste of time like previous efforts.

In content, the initiative had nothing new and did not say how controversial issues would be solved practically, observers said. On the other hand, it appears to be a response to growing criticism of the U.S. involvement in the Saudi-led military operation, either through providing logistic support or arms sales, they said.

Moreover, observers argued that the U.S. effort comes, to help Saudi Arabia out of a catastrophic intervention in Yemen, as signs indicate the war will not end at short- and medium-terms.

Hasan Al-Warith, a political analyst, said, the U.S. initiative is a sign the UN has failed to help Yemenis find a solution to the conflict, which means the U.S., which is complicit in the war on Yemen, wants to pull Saudi Arabia out of Yemen swamp.

"The U.S. is seeking to help Saudi Arabia to escape criminal and moral responsibilities after its intervention in Yemen, a goal which Saudi Arabia failed to achieve at peace talks in Geneva and Kuwait," said Al-Warith.

"Saying that Houthis will be given a share in the government is very smart, as if the U.S. wants to picture the conflict as being with the Houthis alone and then break the Houthi-Saleh political council," he added.

Yaseen Al-Tamimi, a political analyst and writer, said, "The U.S. initiative gives priority to Saudi Arabia's security, as it insists any peaceful solution to the conflict in Yemen should guarantee no more attacks on Saudi border."

"Moreover, U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, focused on the Houthi minority in Yemen, reminding us with the U.S. tradition of destabilising states in the region, under pretexts of empowering minorities and spreading democracy," he added.

Observers said, peace in Yemen first requires the international community, either through collective approaches or individual initiatives, like the U.S., one to guarantee implementation of the UN Security Council's resolution 2216 and the consensual outcomes of the national dialogue conference in 2013.

Fuad Alsalahi, a political sociology professor at Sanaa University, said, peace in Yemen requires not to give priority to power quotas but rather to building a true state with effective authorities dedicated to development goals, a constitution and a united army.

"International peace efforts have proved to be unhelpful or rather problematic creating more conflicts," Alsalahi said.

"The U.S. is now talking abut the Houthi minority. It seems Yemen will be divided on sectarian bases and that means the U.S. initiative will be counterproductive," he added.

Observers also said any peaceful solution to the conflict in Yemen should take into account regional developments, particularly bringing key players such as Saudi Arabia and Iran into the table.

In this context, some observers said the long equation of West's hegemony here should be broken through engaging Russia effectively in all conflicts here.

Saudi Arabia led a coalition of nine Arab countries and launched a bombing campaign in Yemen in Mar, 2015.

The aim was to restore the government's legitimacy after the Houthi militants, with support from the former president forces had carried out a coup. More than 3,900 civilians have been killed, mostly by Saudi-led air strikes.

The campaign, along with ground battles have left the country on the brink of total collapse. All basic services have deteriorated alarmingly because of shortages of supplies, primarily due to the embargo by the Saudi-led coalition.

Also, the conflict has left Yemen to face the worst humanitarian catastrophe in its modern history.

The UN says, 85 percent of total population, around 22 million, now need basic aid.

Moreover, an estimated 14.4 million Yemenis are food insecure, 7.6 million are severely food insecure, 19.4 million lack access to clean water and sanitation, 14.1 million lack access to adequate healthcare, and more than three million have been displaced.