A new turn of Yemen's war makes peace seems possible

A new turn of Yemen's war makes peace seems possible

The war in Yemen has entered a new turning point with the al-Houthi group announcing an initiative to stop the firing of ballistic missiles and drones on Saudi Arabia, demonstrating its readiness to freeze and halt military operations.

In response to the efforts of UN envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths, the group said by the leader of the Supreme Revolutionary Committee Mohamed Ali al-Houthi in a bid to stop the war and reach peace between the parties to the conflict.

Since the start of the Saudi-Emirati coalition’s intervention in Yemen in late March 2015, the Houthis have fired more than 200 rockets into Saudi cities, resulting in 112 deaths, according to Statistics of Coalition spokesman Col. Turki al-Maliki earlier.

Only hours, the government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi had announced its consent to participate in the consultations, calling on the United Nations and the international community to take a firm stand against any disruption that the Houthis might make.

Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz said at a session of the Shura Council on Tuesday that he supported a political solution in Yemen.

The United Nations is seeking to revive the peace talks in Sweden late this year to end the three-year-old war in Yemen, which has claimed more than 10,000 lives and pushed millions to the brink of famine.

Announcement timing

The evolving positions in the Yemeni crisis have been preceded by mounting voices denouncing the continued military operations of the Saudi-Emirati coalition, and the widening circle of rejection of the escalating civilian casualties, including children, as a result of coalition air attacks.

Washington has halted the supply of US fuel to the Saudi-Emirati coalition fighters by air, in a move that seeks to reduce the number of civilian casualties, as demands from US Republican and Democratic Party lawmakers to stop arms sales to Riyadh have increased.

According to a military source in the forces loyal to the Yemeni government fighting in the city of Hodeidah, the raids of the coalition fighters are no longer intense, and their overflights of the skies in Yemen have declined significantly.

The source told Al-Jazeera net--preferring anonymity--that Washington's suspension of supplying the fighters was clearly reflected in the overflights, confirming the premise that Washington was pressuring Saudi Arabia to stop the war.

"The cessation of the supply of fighters came in conjunction with the orders we received from the Coalition to stop the battle in Hodeidah," he said.

The coalition is weaker.

However, the al-Houthi group believes that the timing of the announcement of its willingness to stop fighting comes in the context of the "Declaration of argument" on the Saudi-Emirati coalition and the goodwill to reach peace.

According to the senior leader of the group, the Minister of information in her Government (not recognized), the Dhifallah Al-Shami, the coalition of "aggression" has reached a stage of weakness to instruct the United Nations to demand the Yemeni people to stop firing rockets.

The group's announcement came after "we received a request from the UN envoy to stop firing rockets to support his UN efforts," Al-Shami told Al Jazeera net.

"We have the initiative on the ground, and our declaration of a ceasefire comes in the context of our eagerness to reach peace, and we wish the aggression to take this initiative, which comes in the context of the initiatives launched by the leader of the group, Mr. Abdulmalik Badreddine al-Houthi."

"If the coalition of aggression breaches its commitments made in exchange for the cessation of missile strikes, we have sufficient response to reach any military objective either in Saudi Arabia or the UAE, and then the response will be aggressive," he said.

Speaking about the group's offer of concessions related to the handover of the strategic port of Hodeidah (western Yemen), Al-Shami said his group has not and will not make any concessions on this side, and that its pursuit of peace comes in response to Griffith's efforts and the binding of the argument.

Peace is closer

"If the Saudi-Emirati coalition is committed to stopping the fighting and ceasing to support the forces loyal to them in Hodeidah, the achievement of peace may be possible," Dhaifallah La-Shami said.

Yemenis have high hopes for the move announced by the Houthis but fear the failure of those efforts, which could herald a new round of conflict, according to political analyst Tawfiq Ali.

"The United Nations and Britain, which appear to be the main player in the Yemeni crisis, have exerted great pressure on both sides to reach peace, otherwise the situation will explode again in Hodeidah and other areas," Ali told Al-Jazeera.

He added, "It is always the Houthis who fail the international efforts to reach peace, but this time they seem more vulnerable and in return, Saudi Arabia is determined to emerge from the quagmire of the Yemeni crisis,".

Warrior's rest

However, Sanaa University's professor of communication and Information Amin Sultan says the prospect of a political settlement in Yemen is unlikely.

He points out that what is happening is the mere renewal of the armistice activity. What is seen to this moment is a Warrior's restof the beneficiaries from the continuation of this war, especially since they are unlikely to make concessions.

Sultan added :"It is also clear that this lull or truce is the title of a more aggressive and extended war continuum, because the militias will not surrender arms and will not deliver the port, and once the truce is announced days ago in Hodeidah, Scud missiles were fired toward the port of Hodeidah and Marib,".


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