Tuesday, October 18, 2016


"A 72-hour ceasefire in Yemen will go into effect starting Thursday, the United Nations announced on Monday. A cessation of hostilities that first went into effect in April "will re-enter into force at 23:59 Yemen time on 19 October 2016, for an initial period of 72 hours, subject to renewal," the UN's special envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, said in a statement. The ceasefire opens the door for negotiations to find a political solution to the conflict. April's truce was followed by repeated rounds of talks in Kuwait between the warring sides, which did not come to fruition. Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi had agreed to the truce earlier in the day. Foreign Minister Abdulmalek al-Mekhlafi wrote on Twitter that Hadi agreed to the halt in fighting if Houthi rebels adhere to it, activate a UN-backed committee to watch the truce, and lift the siege on the encircled city of Taiz. Cheikh Ahmed said he had been in contact with the Houthis’ lead negotiator and with Hadi's government. The announcement comes after the United States, Britain and Cheikh Ahmed urged the warring parties on Sunday to declare a ceasefire, which they said could start within days. US Secretary of State John Kerry said if Yemen's opposing sides accepted the ceasefire, the UN envoy would work through the details and announce when and how it would take effect. "This is the time to implement a ceasefire unconditionally and then move to the negotiating table," Kerry said. The conflict in Yemen has killed almost 6,900 people, wounded more than 35,000 and displaced at least three million since March last year, according to the United Nations".
Middle East Eye, "UN announces 72-hour ceasefire in Yemen starting Thursday". The Middle East Eye. 17 October 2016, in www.middleeasteye.net
"The White House said it had begun an “immediate review” into its role in assisting the coalition in the wake of the attack, one of the bloodiest since March 2015, when Saudi Arabia led a coalition of neighbouring Sunni states into an air and ground campaign seeking to restore the ousted government of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi. Yemeni officials blamed Saudi Arabia for launching about three air strikes targeting a gathering after the funeral of the father of Yemen’s interior minister, Jalal al-Rowaishan, a close ally of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has been fighting alongside the Houthi rebel movement.... The US has backed Riyadh’s campaign to restore Mr Hadi’s government by providing rearmament and targeting assistance, but has become increasingly concerned about the loss of civilian lives in the 20-month campaign that has killed more than 10,000 people.... The coalition described the bombing as “regrettable and painful”, saying it would investigate the incident. In a statement, it said its pilots have “clear instructions not to target populated areas and to avoid civilians”. Coalition military officials had earlier briefed media that their jets had not struck the funeral hall.... Riyadh and its allies have been struggling to make headway against the Houthi movement, after earlier dislodging the Iran-backed militia and army units allied to Mr Saleh from the southern port city of Aden".
Simeon Kerr, "US reviews support for Saudi-led coalition in Yemen after 140 killed". The Financial Times. 9 October 2016, in www.ft.com
"It is somewhat self-evident that per se, a mere air campaign will not fundamentally change the dynamics on the ground in Yemen. That the recently ousted President, Mr. Abd-Rabbu Hadi, does not himself possess the wherewithal militarily speaking to defeat the Houthi rebels 1. Accordingly, there is much talk of a coalition of ground forces between the Saudis and the Egyptians which will invade Yemen and defeat the Houthis. Which is of course by far the best case scenario. The only issue is that neither Saudi Arabia, its Gulf allies or even the Egyptians have shown themselves in recent years able to perform anything akin to the scenario just outlined above".
Diplomat of the Future. "The Saudi military intervention in Yemen: A comment". 2 April 2015, in www.diplomatofthefuture.blogspot.com.
There is nothing in the situation in Yemen from when I first wrote about it back more than eighteen months ago, which the errata-filled Saudi-lead military intervention has not proven to be true. The military intervention other than preventing the Houthi rebels from completing ousting the government of President Abd-Rabbu Hadi, has not achieved any of its original goals. It has not defeated the Houthi, nor has it restored peace and security to this wretched country and its poor people. Instead the Saudi campaign, especially its military campaign has shown itself both ruthless and incompetent. The image that one is left with is that of Air Chief Marshal 'Bomber' Harris of World War II fame being impersonated by P. G. Woodhouse's 'Bertie Wooster'. Added to which is the sordid fact that the Saudi military intervention has perhaps inevitably resulted in a greater role for Persia in the country, as it has gradually increased its support for the Houthi. In short the Saudis have more than lived up to their previous military reputation as incompetent brutes and blunderers. At this point in time, there is little left to do but to call a complete halt to Riyadh's military campaign in Yemen and hope that the current cease-fire will last long enough to prevent this unfortunate place from becoming another failed state `a la Libya, Syria and Iraq.


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