AGL 23.81 Decreased By ▼ -0.54 (-2.22%)
AIRLINK 103.60 Increased By ▲ 0.60 (0.58%)
BOP 5.66 Decreased By ▼ -0.05 (-0.88%)
CNERGY 3.93 Decreased By ▼ -0.03 (-0.76%)
DCL 8.36 Decreased By ▼ -0.14 (-1.65%)
DFML 41.70 Decreased By ▼ -1.29 (-3%)
DGKC 88.30 Decreased By ▼ -0.60 (-0.67%)
FCCL 22.70 No Change ▼ 0.00 (0%)
FFBL 40.88 Increased By ▲ 2.68 (7.02%)
FFL 8.96 Decreased By ▼ -0.15 (-1.65%)
HUBC 160.49 Decreased By ▼ -3.21 (-1.96%)
HUMNL 11.46 Decreased By ▼ -0.34 (-2.88%)
KEL 4.82 Decreased By ▼ -0.03 (-0.62%)
KOSM 4.09 Decreased By ▼ -0.04 (-0.97%)
MLCF 38.60 Increased By ▲ 0.19 (0.49%)
NBP 53.60 Increased By ▲ 0.75 (1.42%)
OGDC 130.60 Decreased By ▼ -2.29 (-1.72%)
PAEL 25.36 Decreased By ▼ -0.29 (-1.13%)
PIBTL 6.25 Decreased By ▼ -0.13 (-2.04%)
PPL 118.90 Decreased By ▼ -0.60 (-0.5%)
PRL 23.95 Decreased By ▼ -0.65 (-2.64%)
PTC 12.92 Increased By ▲ 0.28 (2.22%)
SEARL 59.11 Decreased By ▼ -0.49 (-0.82%)
TELE 7.43 Decreased By ▼ -0.06 (-0.8%)
TOMCL 34.99 Decreased By ▼ -0.16 (-0.46%)
TPLP 8.72 Decreased By ▼ -0.13 (-1.47%)
TREET 15.90 Increased By ▲ 0.10 (0.63%)
TRG 55.95 Decreased By ▼ -1.95 (-3.37%)
UNITY 34.95 Increased By ▲ 0.06 (0.17%)
WTL 1.20 Decreased By ▼ -0.02 (-1.64%)
BR100 8,536 Decreased By -8.5 (-0.1%)
BR30 27,187 Decreased By -204 (-0.74%)
KSE100 79,944 Decreased By -48.3 (-0.06%)
KSE30 25,500 Decreased By -43.9 (-0.17%)

DUBAI: As Houthi attacks roil the Red Sea and Western air raids target the rebels, moves to end Yemen’s long-running war are at a standstill, threatening further woe for a country on its knees.

As recently as December, painstaking negotiations were gaining ground and the United Nations said the warring parties had agreed to work towards “the resumption of an inclusive political process”.

The Iran-backed Houthis have been fighting a Saudi-led coalition since March 2015, months after they seized the capital Sanaa and most of Yemen’s population centres, forcing the internationally recognised government south to Aden.

Hundreds of thousands of people have died in the fighting and from indirect causes such as disease and malnutrition. More than 18 million Yemenis need “urgent support”, according to the UN’s humanitarian agency OCHA.

Hostilities slowed considerably in April 2022, when a six-month, UN-brokered ceasefire came into effect, and they have remained at a low level since.

But Houthi attacks on Red Sea shipping and American and British retaliation have thrown the peace process “up in the air”, said Farea Al-Muslimi, a research fellow at Chatham House’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

The Houthis, who say they are acting in solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza, have launched dozens of attacks on ships in the vital maritime route since November.

Seventeen of their fighters were killed in recent reprisal strikes, according to the insurgents.

“Peace in Yemen requires international and regional commitments different than those that exist now,” Muslimi said. “The path to war had been closed, but now the door to hell has reopened.”

Top Houthi official Hussein al-Ezzi this month acknowledged “obstacles” on the path to peace, which he blamed on the US, Britain, and the Yemeni government.

But “Riyadh and Sanaa have the courage to overcome these difficulties”, he told a press conference, without elaborating.

However, Majid Al-Madhaji, of the Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies think-tank, said that with the flare up in the Red Sea, “a peace plan no longer has a place on the discussion table”.

In December, the UN special envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, said there was progress towards a roadmap that would resolve key issues such as agreeing to pay civil servants working under the Huthis, and resuming oil exports.

However, the Saudi-backed Yemeni government is now angling for an “opportunity to reverse the balance of power” in its favour, said Madhaji.

Last month, the deputy leader of the government’s presidential council even called for foreign backing for a ground offensive to back up the US-British air strikes against the Houthis.

In mid-January, Washington redesignated the Houthis a terror group, having lifted the designation in 2021 to aid humanitarian efforts and promote diplomatic endeavours.

But “the idea that we (the US) would now build up the anti-Houthi forces to the point where they could renew the fighting, I think is simply not in the cards”, said Gerald Feierstein, a former US ambassador to Yemen.

“We’re not going to go down that route,” he told AFP.

The US is “under a great deal of pressure not to do anything that’s going to undermine the (peace) negotiations,” Feierstein added.

General Joseph Votel, former head of US Central Command, also downplayed the possibility of “a major fight”, saying Washington has more pressing issues, not least the Israel-Hamas war.


Comments are closed.