Even though many areas are free from bombing the blockade has led to shortages of everything. Meanwhile, the government-in-exile is safe away from it all in Ryadh, Saudi Arabia. One historic site has been hit and a UN compound also bombed injuring a guard and causing considerable damage. Some residential areas containing homes of relatives of former president Saleh who supports the Houthis have been bombed killing civilians.
Rebel Houthi leader Zeifullah al-Shami told the Associated Press that the Hadi conditions were unacceptable and they do not address the country's humanitarian crisis. Perhaps, the Saudis will force Hadi to accept a cease fire without his conditions. Otherwise, the slaughter will continue. Al-Shami noted that talks sponsored by the UN were still ongoing in the capital Sanaa. A pro-Houthi activist said: "Those conditions are actually silly from the so-called President Hadi government. Those are the same conditions that were presented at Geneva talks and now here again.I know Houthi won’t accept any condition for withdrawal and there cannot be any precondition for ceasefire." The problem is that a UN resolution has been passed that demands that the Houthis withdraw from the areas that they have taken and lay down their arms. The power brokers that tell the UN what to do thought that they could just pass this resolution and run some bombing missions and the Houthis would fold. Now they are stuck with a hopeless client who will never get back into power and a resolution that stands in the way of any sort of rational agreement with the Houthis. Given the ability of the powerful to be inconsistent and hypocritical when it suits them the Saudis, the Gulf Cooperation Council, and the US may decide to more or less ignore the UN resolution. After all, countries such as Israel regularly ignore UN resolutions and no one pays much attention.
If the parties want to help solve the humanitarian crisis which their actions have produced, they should agree to a ceasefire without setting conditions that would block a successful agreement. A Houthi activist Bukhaiti claimed that "the main source of the humanitarian crisis is the blockade by the Saudi-led coalition. He said that about 90 percent of aid is lying in Djibouti and the Saudis are not letting it enter Yemen." Since March estimates are that more than 3,000 people have been killed. AQAP has gained control of considerable territory including Mukalla the capital of Hadrahmut province. In the south local militia fighting against the Houthis are from the Southern Movement that wants an independent South Yemen or at least more autonomy. Direct support for Hadi is minimal.
The Houthis have always wanted to be key players in forming a government but realize that they themselves as a Shia minority in a predominantly Sunni Yemen cannot rule by themselves. They could not have captured the territory they have without the support of ex-president Saleh and those loyal to him within the Yemeni army. Iran, which supports the Houthis, realizes this as well. It would like a political solution with a government that would give more power to the Houthis but composed of many different groups. If the Saudis and other Gulf States were willing to allow the Yemenis somewhat more independence a unity government might be possible. A unity government could deal with the increasing power not only of AQAP in Yemen but the Islamic State as well. It is in the interests of all the other parties to combine against this extremist threat and to end the disastrous civil conflict. If the Hadi government-in-exile refuses to cooperate the Saudis and other supporters should inform them that they will not receive any support.
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Ken is a retired philosophy professor living in the boondocks of Manitoba, Canada, with his Filipina wife. He enjoys reading the news and writing articles. Politically Ken is on the far left of the political spectrum on many issues.
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