Politics

Saudi-led coalition won’t renew Yemen ceasefire

By Alex Seabrook

Fighting continued in Yemen after a short lived ceasefire on the weekend was breached by Houthi rebels. The Saudi-led alliance also fired missiles during the ceasefire, but claimed they were in retaliation. The Saudis said the ceasefire will not be renewed.

John Kerry had announced that a peace proposal had been agreed to by both the Saudi-led coalition and the Houthi rebels a week before.

The Hadi government rejected the proposal, claiming that they had been bypassed and ignored by Kerry. The Arab coalition, led by Saudi Arabia, have previously been supporting the Hadi government with air strikes.

But this disagreement signals a possible future loss of support, as informed sources say that Kerry plans to ease Hadi out of power.

Both the Houthi rebels and the Saudi coalition had agreed to a ceasefire and to send representatives to a de-escalation and coordinating committee. But Yemeni foreign minister al-Mehkhlafi wrote on Twitter that the U.S. government were coordinating with the Houthis without any involvement from the Yemeni government.

Fighting resumed for a week after the proposal was rejected, until a ceasefire was proposed on the weekend, which lasted less than a day.

Time is running out for Kerry as he is on presumably his last trip to Yemen, before President-Elect Donald Trump’s inauguration in January.

The Houthis have publicly stated after the rejection of the peace proposals that they want to end the fighting in Yemen, and have claimed that the Saudis are ready as well, although this wasn’t confirmed in Riyadh.

The peace proposals weren’t publicly available, although informed sources claimed that the plan was to transfer power from Hadi to the Vice President, who would then appoint a new Prime Minister.

A unity government was to be formed by all parties, including the Houthis, and equal representation was to be given to the North and the South.

The proposals were an explicit departure from the previous UN Security Council resolution 2216, which required the Houthi rebels to withdraw from territory gained since 2014. The new proposals would let the Houthis retain control of some cities gained since the fighting began two years ago.

The Yemeni civil war, which started in March 2014, is a significant security issue for the U.S., as a branch of Al-Qaeda, AQAP, has a strongbase in the war-torn country.

President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi fled to the port city Aden at the beginning of the war, but as Houthi rebels approached he fled to Riyadh, the Saudi capital, where he currently commands the government-in-exile. His government is supported financially and militarily by Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi-led coalition have been accused of intentionally bombing civilian targets, like schools, hopsitals and funerals.

Some critics claim that the UK Government has been complicit in these war crimes, by continuing to allow BAE Systems, a British weapons manufacturer, to supply arms to Riyadh.

The Houthi rebels, who are supported financially by Iran, are suspected of abducting a journalist last month. Yousef Ajlan was abducted in October, and has not been seen since.

A press briefing at the U.S. State Department heard that the peace proposals are still being pursued, although Kerry has not had any direct conversations with President Hadi since.

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