After Yemen Intervention, a Negotiated Peace: A Country That Suffers From A Lack Of Resources But Has An Abundance Of Arms On The Verge Of A Civil War
25 March 2015
By Abdulrahman Al-Rashed
The extent of regional and international concern over the war in Yemen has
exceeded expectations. Anxious governments and international institutions
have frankly expressed their views on the events. Most of them have voiced
their understanding of the importance of protecting the Yemeni government,
which has been subjected to a destructive process that would have inevitably
engaged Yemen in a long-term and dangerous civil war, much like what is
happening in Syria and Libya.
There was a lot of patience during past negotiations, and while concessions
were made to those who reject the regime, it was all for the sake of
achieving reconciliation. However when those who oppose the regime resorted
to weapons, seized the capital and a number of governorates, and attempted to
murder President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi—after subjecting him to house arrest
at his presidential palace and detaining high-ranking government
officials—the only option left was foreign military intervention. After all,
the Yemeni government is a legitimate government with no military power to
protect itself as it confronts a gang that has bluntly expressed violent
This is what pushed most regional governments and superpowers to support the
military move in Yemen. Attacks were only launched after meeting all the
required conditions and legal justifications. The operation began after the
establishment of a coalition, which expresses the stance of concerned
countries, including regional institutions, such as the Arab League and the
Organization of Islamic Cooperation. The offensive has attained the support
of the US and Britain, while the United Nations had earlier recognized Hadi's
legitimacy after the rebels chased him to the temporary capital of Aden,
threatening to kill him. Most countries have therefore openly supported the
military campaign, dubbed Operation Decisive Storm.
Some, such as Iran and Hezbollah, opposed the attack. This was expected
considering their ties to the Houthis from the very beginning. However,
generally speaking, this military campaign is one of the few politically,
diplomatically and legally organized campaigns ever, and this is what led the
states that had doubts at the start of the campaign to declare their support
the next day.
Although the fighter jets bombed military posts that had been previously
singled out, and targeted rebel forces, the political solution, as formulated
by the UN envoy to Yemen, was not ruled out. The main aim is not to get rid
of the Houthis or other opposition forces. The aim is to protect the Yemeni
state, its regime, institutions and political figures and to protect the
people and the country from the chaos of fighting and civil war.
The military campaign has a political role as well. It is to push all parties
towards a solution under the UN umbrella and according to what UN Security
Council members have agreed on. The armed rebels must realize that the
transitional Yemeni government, which does not have significant military
power, is in fact legitimate and that there is a large military force that is
willing to protect it if needed.
The second chapter after the military campaign is political and it's about
the return of all parties to negotiations and the search for a political
solution which does not exclude anyone.
Yemen was and still is a matter of concern for the United Nations. UN Special
Envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar, who's been working non-stop since the start of
the crisis, has been regularly submitting his reports to his overseers. He
had supervised the reconciliatory solution by assigning the transitional
government and an interim president to hold elections for Yemenis to choose
whomever they wanted to lead them.
Isolated former president Ali Abdullah Saleh and the Houthi rebels decided to
challenge the reconciliatory plan and resorted to force in order to sabotage
the political process and seize power. They deployed their armed members in
several cities and governorates in order to subjugate the Yemeni people by
force. Those who understand the Yemeni case can understand and support the
efforts of the UN and the need for Saudi Arabia—the largest country
neighboring Yemen— and the rest of the GCC, who are directly affected by
Yemen's security, to militarily intervene to support legitimacy.
Those who try to make the battle look like it's a war with no international
plan and no legitimacy only care about keeping the fighting going in a
country that suffers from a lack of resources but has an abundance of arms
and is on the verge of a civil war.
Al Rashed is the general manager of
Al -Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-
Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine, Al Majalla. He is also a
senior Columnist in the daily newspapers of Al Madina and Al Bilad. He is a
US post-graduate degree in mass communications. He has been a guest on many
TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.