Yemen and the Distant Solution For Peace
06 August 2016
By Abdulrahman Al-Rashed
Hope for a new solution to the Yemeni conflict and an end to the war was short
lived when the United Nations launched its project for peace which was
approved by the legitimate government. Hope quickly evaporated when the former
President Ali Abdullah Saleh's team and the Houthis rejected the project and
set impossible conditions to accept it. Their rejection confirmed that they
want the war to continue.
During the past few months, the Yemeni opposition and governments allied to it
ran a propaganda campaign accusing the legitimate Yemeni government that is in
exile and Gulf countries that are allied to it of rejecting any political
solution and insisting on the continuation of bombing and destroying major
Kuwait hosted negotiations on its soil that brought together the legitimate
government delegation and the Houthi- Saleh delegation. Saudi Arabia has also
hosted the rebel delegation a number of times despite it refusing to recognise
the rebels' legitimacy, and has also communicated with officials from Ali
Abdullah Saleh's camp. When the international envoy presented his project for
peace, the group of Gulf countries and the legitimate government led by Hadi
The war in Yemen has been ongoing for sixteen months now whilst the crisis
there started more than five years ago. Those who believe that the war has
been going on for too long must remember the war in Afghanistan because the
two wars may be similar. The United States entered the war in Afghanistan
fifteen years ago and is still fighting there.
Yemen and Afghanistan are similar countries in terms of their rugged terrain,
the great role of tribes, foreign interventions and the fact that there is no
central authority. Sana'a was like Kabul, the capital does not have much
influence on other parts of the country because the central government has
been weak for decades.
I do not mean that the war in Yemen will last for another fifteen years.
However, there should be no illusion that the solution in Yemen is imminent
unless all power is handed to the Houthis who are allies of Iran, and this is
totally unacceptable. Coalition countries must think and operate on the basis
that the solution is a long way off, and they should look for partial
solutions that enable the Yemeni government to work in liberated areas that
are under its influence.
Coalition forces are just ten kilometres from Sana'a airport on the ground,
and the airport is only eight kilometres from the centre of the capital. The
global intelligence company Stratfor notes that the capital is at risk of
falling now more than ever. However, I do not expect that the forces of the
Saudi-led coalition want to rush into battle because they do not want to turn
Sana'a into a cemetery. Yemen is a neighbouring country and its people are our
neighbours. No one wants to pass grudges on to future generations, and victory
is needed but at the lowest possible price for both warring parties.
The Houthi's increasing military activity including bombing and breaching the
Saudi border with Yemen is propaganda and aims to convince Yemenis and Saudis
that the war in Sana'a and Sa'ada is moving to Saudi Arabia. Houthi artillery
and operations have reached villages on the Saudi border and there are
hundreds of civilian casualties, but the real and important fight remains in
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.