Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Ceasefire in Yemen, Welcome! | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Police Officer (AFP Photo/Mahmud Turkia)

U.S. Secretary of State and his British counterpart’s calling for the immediate and unconditional ceasefire in Yemen is a great initiative.

The good news is that no one in his sane mind would want this war to continue. The bad news is that it is unlikely to determine if such a ceasefire is enough to stop the war and bring permanent peace.

Previous experiences with cease of fire proved that the Houthis would agree on it, then breach it and eventually don’t abide by it at all. They are, then, not expected to contribute to the peace that the Yemeni people look forward to and the international community wants according to international resolutions, prominently Resolution 2216.

So, it is no surprise that the announced ceasefire will meet the same destiny of its precedents, one of which the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced by himself in Jeddah last May.

In case the suspension of hostilities was achieved, it will be the fifth. The first was in May 2015, the second in July 2015, and both were announced by the U.N. The third ceasefire was announced by the Arab coalition on July 25, 2015. While the forth was declared by the U.N. also in April following the inter-Yemeni peace talks in Kuwait.

The common thing among all those ceasefires was that they were welcomed by the coalition that committed fully to them, while Houthis blatantly violated each and every one of them.

We can say that with Washington and London setting such a ceasefire as their goal, without pressuring the return of Houthis to the political negotiations, renders the ceasefire useless and ultimately leads to its end. Thus, the ceasefire remains nothing but a reliever that eases the pain and wears off as soon as the insurgents commit their first violation.

He who thinks that the Saudi-led Arab coalition is not seeking to end the war in Yemen is wrong. The coalition’s welcoming and commitment to any conditioned and unconditioned ceasefire is enough evidence to its intentions.

The thing is there is a party that is managing matters from the perspective of a militia and never from that of a state. This is shown by actions and not words.

Insurgents, both Houthis and Saleh, are heading towards escalating the situation and continuing their military operations, not halt them.

The call for a ceasefire to end such a war could be used by the British Foreign Ministry and the U.S. State Department to mislead their public and show that they have done a positive initiative. In reality, there is a party that insists on violating international resolutions and that is using war to serve its interests.

Dozens of statements confirm that stopping the war doesn’t do the insurgents, and Iran, any good. It suffices to look at the latest dangerous development of targeting the U.S. Navy Destroyer Mason in the Red Sea. Republican Senator John McCain said the missiles “likely” came from the Iranian regime.

This is just an episode of an ongoing series of the insurgents’ escalation extending from the Saudi border to the international waters in Bab El-Mandeb. It indicates the gravity of underestimation and recklessness in destabilizing the region and an extension of Iran’s strategy aiming at continuing with the war.

Ceasefire in Yemen: Welcome! Saudi Arabia is capable of respecting it while defending its border at the same time against Houthis’ futile attacks. Surely, no one can blame the Kingdom for that.

But, if the war ended without reaching a political settlement, can the international community handle the repercussions of Houthis’ continuous threats to the regional security?