Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

When will the War in Yemen End? | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page
Media ID: 55370460

Members of the Yemeni army ride on the back of a military truck near the Red Sea coast city of al-Mokha, Yemen January 23, 2017. REUTERS/Fawaz Salman

Two years after the “Decisive Storm” in Yemen began due to the coup of the coalition of Houthis militias and Ali Abdullah Saleh groups, the question remains: When will the war be over in Yemen?

It is a legitimate, natural, and expected question. No one really wants war, let alone an on-going one. But, can we answer that question without a follow up about the possibility of ending the war without eliminating its causes?

Surely, it is impossible for the war to be suddenly over and while the reasons that caused it are still present. All things indicate that Houthi-Saleh militias are still a knot in Yemen’s attempt to achieve peace and get rid of this war.

With a militia which violated 150 ceasefire in Yemen and 30 over the Yemeni-Saudi border and which refuses any initiative since Kuwait talks, there is no solution than the continuation of the coalition operations until they accept a political solution.

It is clear that Houthi-Saleh militias only understand the logic of power even with all the negotiations, initiatives and treaties signed. Based on this, the political and military tracks are parallel. Any political operation needs both parties, something which is not available in the Yemeni crises.

There is one party that represents the legitimate Yemeni government which accepts initiatives and sits alone at the negotiation’s table. The legitimacy can’t find another party to negotiate with and in this case there is no other way than continuing with the military action until militias accept to find a political solution.

So, what is delaying a military resolution?

Houthis deploy their military posts and civil bases in populated areas in Sanaa and other major cities under their control, so it is only natural that military resolution is not achieved as quickly as expected. This exposes the difference between how states and militias deal with the issue.

Military operations conducted by the coalition are done according to strict rules to preserve the lives of civilians as much as possible. Surely, there are some mistakes which no one desires. Yet, and in rare cases, the coalition mistakenly struck civilians while targeting military locations, contrary to the militias that target Saudi border randomly, aiming to target civilians.

During the two years, militias randomly launched over forty thousand missiles, mortars, and other bombs on Saudi cities killing 375 civilians, shutting over 500 schools, and displacing over 17 thousand citizens from 24 villages.

Surely, some might refer to the incident at the Sanaa funeral house in October, which was done based on wrong information. Arab coalition issued a statement back then saying that it had sadly occurred and that a party wrongly passed information.

Earlier last week, an international coalition raid targeted civilians in Mosul which also occurred based on wrong information given by Iraqi troops, according to US Department of Defense.

But the matters were dealt with completely differently. Innocent people are the same whether in this case or that, and so is the military operation. Yet in the first situation, the incident was exaggeratedly used politically as if it was done deliberately, whereas the second was considered a natural military mistake that could happen during such operations.

Two years after the war in Yemen, coalition forces and Yemeni legitimacy are in control of over 80 percent of Yemeni territories. The coalition succeeded in establishing a Yemeni state from scratch with its own government and army, after years without any of that.

We are faced with a legitimate government and an eternal coalition in accordance with the references to reach a peaceful settlement, as opposed to a militia which prefers war to peace and resorts to power instead of negotiations.

As long as the insurgency is persistent and won’t resort to a peaceful solution, there is no way other than continuing the war until its reasons are eliminated.