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Yemen From Ceasefire to Peace Talks?

by Oui Fri Sep 15th, 2023 at 07:19:04 AM EST

A major development worthy of some attention with a bit of a very long history going back to the Cold War and split between Northern Yemen and the South.

Yemen: Why is the war there getting more violent? | BBC News - 14 April 2023 |

Analysis: Fighting recedes, but peace in Yemen remains distant | Al Jazeera |

Despite relative quiet on the front lines and negotiations between the Saudis and the Houthis, peace isn't a given.

There has been a heavy focus on diplomatic efforts to seal an agreement between Saudi Arabia and Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels. But any deal between those two parties is unlikely to solve the Yemeni civil war. Instead, experts say, that outcome would require reconciliation between a host of various Yemeni groups.

Saudi Arabia and Iran signed a Chinese-brokered agreement on March 10 to renormalise diplomatic ties. This détente has also helped cool tensions between the Saudis and Houthis.

Riyadh appears determined to find a dignified exit to the conflict in Yemen, so it can focus more on its internal development. This de-escalation with Tehran has advanced its interests in preventing the Saudi-Houthi conflict from returning to all-out war in the aftermath of the expiration of a ceasefire in October.

Saudi and Houthi negotiators have been discussing a deal consisting of three phases: humanitarian issues, military arrangements and talks between Yemeni factions. According to Ali-Khan, the two sides have thus far failed to move beyond the first phase.

"The Houthis want an agreement that sees a slice of the government's oil wealth go to their central bank. They do not want a deal that leaves them financially beholden to Riyadh, which explains their hard line on a wealth-sharing agreement before they will entertain intra-Yemeni talks. The Houthis also want the Saudis to stop supporting their Yemeni rivals and to foot the bill for reconstruction payments on their side," Ali-Khan said.

This week's development ...

Yemen's Houthis heading to Riyadh for ceasefire talks with Saudi Arabia | Al Jazeera |

The Omani-mediated talks in the Saudi capital increase chances of a Saudi-Houthi deal.

Yemen's Houthi rebels will head to Saudi Arabia amid efforts to negotiate a permanent ceasefire to end the long-running war in Yemen, according to the Saudi state news agency, a Houthi official and reports quoting diplomatic and government sources.


Ali al-Qhoom, a member of the Houthi political council, had earlier said the rebels' delegation would fly to Saudi Arabia's capital, Riyadh, on an Omani plane. A delegation from Oman, which has played the role of mediator, arrived in Yemen's Houthi-held capital, Sanaa, on Thursday, according to Yemeni government officials.

The visit comes five months after Saudi officials held talks in Sanaa and as a UN-brokered ceasefire continues to largely hold despite officially lapsing in October.

"There are preparations for a Houthi delegation to visit Riyadh within the next 72 hours," a Yemeni government official familiar with the situation told the AFP news agency on condition of anonymity.

Yemen was plunged into war when the Houthis seized control of Sanaa, in September 2014, prompting a military intervention led by Saudi Arabia the following March in an attempt to restore the country's recognised government.

Fear among Yemenis despite optimism

The head of the Sana'a Center for Strategic Studies think tank, Majed al-Madhaji told AFP the Houthis' visit "is like moving the relationship between the Houthis and Saudi Arabia from the back rooms to the living room".

By organising talks in Riyadh, both sides are "legitimising this relationship and giving it an additional impetus", he said.

"On the political level, it is an advanced step to end Saudi Arabia's direct role in Yemen and for the Houthis to acknowledge its role as a mediator," in addition to being one of the parties to the conflict.

According to London-based Yemen analyst Baraa Shiban, there has been a clear desire by Saudi officials to end what they feel is a long and exhausting conflict.

But for many Yemenis, the Saudi approach to end the war in Yemen is "a repetition of what the US did with the Taliban [in Afghanistan] - negotiating with one party to end the conflict rather than with all political factions", said Shiban.

Excellent read ...

Yemen: the Sixty Year War by Gerald M. Feierstein

From the diary archives ...

Drone Strikes Cause Fierce Blowback In Yemen | Aug 11th, 2013 |

In Yemen lies the roots of Al Qaeda, the Base, and a long history of militancy and Saudi Arabia intervention. BBC reporter Yalda Hakim in an Our World documentary: Yemen, America's New Front Line. She went undercover in an AQ invested region inside Yemen. With a local team she talked to the Yemeni people living under constant fear of a helicopter or drone strike. The area was extremely dangerous and she had to move swiftly without staying in one location for more than ten minutes. Her story in a BBC article ...

  • Houthi Rebellion In Yemen - US and the Shia/Sunni Divide | Posted by Oui @BooMan on Sep 22, 2014 |
  • U.S. Meddling in Yemen offered opportunity to Northern Shiite Huthi rebels, a new truce signed | Jordan Times - AFP |

    SANAA (AFP) -  Yemen's Shiite Huthi rebels, who signed a UN-brokered peace deal Sunday after seizing key institutions, only recently began extending their influence beyond their northern highland stronghold.

    The rebels belong to the Zaidi sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam which makes up approximately a third of the Sunni-majority country's population.  Zaidis are the majority in the northern provinces bordering Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia, and are widely accused of receiving support from Shiite-dominated Iran.

    The north was a Zaidi imamate until a 1962 coup turned Yemen into a republic ruled by a government long considered illegitimate by the rebels.
As an Arab Spring-inspired uprising against then president Ali Abdullah Saleh swept through Yemen in 2011, the Huthis reached out to the opposition in Sanaa and joined protest camps there. It was their first major show of influence outside their strongholds in Saada and Amran provinces.

    However, the rebels rejected a Gulf deal brokered by Saudi Arabia, which fought them between 2009 and 2010 after a border incursion. Under the deal, Saleh, himself a Zaidi who ruled Yemen since 1978, was replaced as president by Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi in 2012 and a consensus government was formed.

    The rebels rejected the new government and repeatedly accused it of corruption.

    Drones over Yemen: Weighing Military Benefits Over Political Costs | US Army War College - Spring 2013 |

    One cannot run foreign policy as a scavenger enterprise of American Capitalism ... you will fail in the long run. A form of slavery and masters ... humans will not be shackled w/o resistance, rebellion or a revolution.

    The hard lessons learned by the Saudi Kingdom should have been understood by Volodymyr Zelenskyy ... to be America's mercenary is not a win-win option.

    Addendum from my BooMan diaries …

    Yemeni AQAP Threat May Have Targeted Egypt’s President Sisi | Aug 5, 2013 |

    Muslim Brotherhood is aligned to the Hamas terror group in Gaza. The accusation stands that Hamas fighters attacked the prison in Egypt in January 2011 to free imprisoned Muslim Brothers including Mohammed Morsi. Another ally Erdogan in Turkey is furious with the US and Western countries for its “hypocrisy” with the overthrow of President Morsi. Yemeni Al Qaeda fighters have joined forces with local terror groups in the Sinai.


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