Houthi attacks targeting Israel and sea shipping lanes “threaten” peace efforts and opportunities in Yemen, which has been suffering from an ongoing civil war for nine years, according to a newspaper analysis. Wall Street Journal.
Mediation efforts between the Houthis and the Saudis resulted in an “unofficial road map” for about three years, which the United Nations hopes will become the basis for a long-term and sustainable solution to the conflict, according to what the newspaper quoted American, Saudi, Yemeni, and United Nations officials.
If successful in ending the conflict, this will allow US President Joe Biden to say that his foreign policy has been successful, especially by appointing a special envoy to lead peace efforts and freezing arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
The newspaper notes that the talks were heading towards greater success this year, but “the war in Gaza threatens to upend the sensitive negotiations between the parties to the conflict.”
In recent weeks, the Houthis, who are supported by Iran, have intensified their attacks near the strategic Bab al-Mandab Strait, which separates the Arabian Peninsula from Africa.
These attacks, which threaten to disrupt global maritime trade flows, prompted the United States to establish a maritime protection force that includes more than 20 countries to protect navigation in the Red Sea.
The US army shoots down Houthi drones and missiles over the Red Sea
The US Department of Defense announced, on Tuesday, that the US military shot down attack drones and missiles launched by the Houthis from Yemen towards cargo ships in the Red Sea.
The Houthis say they are attacking ships heading to Israel or owned by Israel as part of their “support for the Palestinian people,” renewing their position “regarding preventing the passage of all Israeli ships” through the waterway, according to Agence France-Presse.
On Tuesday, the US Army announced that it shot down more than 10 attack drones and missiles launched by the Houthis from Yemen towards cargo ships in the Red Sea, without causing any injuries or damage.
An unnamed American official told the newspaper, “We have long supported efforts to end the conflict in Yemen, and we welcome progress toward a permanent ceasefire under the auspices of the United Nations.”
He added that Washington is “concerned by the reckless and dangerous attacks launched by the Houthis on civilian ships in vital maritime shipping lanes around Yemen.”
Participants in the peace efforts expected that a plan to end the fighting would be announced before the end of the year, but the pressures imposed by the Houthi attacks put the negotiations at risk, as “any peace agreement now may raise criticism of the Biden administration for negotiating with the Houthis… at a time when they are intensifying their attacks.” “On Israel and the main world trade method.”
There are no complete details about the peace agreement between the Houthis and Saudi Arabia, but once it is signed, “the agreement will call on Saudi forces to leave Yemen within six months,” according to what officials familiar with the agreement revealed.
The newspaper indicated that this agreement with Saudi Arabia is unlikely to lead to peace in Yemen, as it is still facing multiple potential divisions.
Government forces, supported since 2015 by a Saudi-led military coalition, have been confronting the Houthis, who control the capital, Sanaa, and vast areas in the north and west of the country.
The United Nations envoy to Yemen, Hans Grundberg, said in his last statement, “The two parties have taken an important step,” referring to moving toward a ceasefire and preparing for a renewed political process.
He did not specify full details, as there may still be “fundamental differences between the combatants and even within the internationally recognized Yemeni government,” including the Southern Transitional Council, a faction supported by the UAE that controls the southwestern coast of the country and wants to establish a separate state there.
The newspaper stated that ending the conflict within the current situation “will lead to the failure of the efforts of the Saudi Crown Prince, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in achieving his goal of removing Houthi fighters allied with Iran from power, and depriving them of their ability to launch deadly air attacks against the kingdom.”
Saudi Arabia and the UAE welcomed the UN envoy’s statements, and Riyadh said, “It is keen for the Yemeni parties to reach a comprehensive end to the conflict,” while the UAE said, “It supports all efforts made to find a political solution.”
The conflict in Yemen, the poorest country in the Arabian Peninsula, has led to one of the worst humanitarian tragedies in the world, the impact of which the truce has somewhat mitigated, according to humanitarian organizations.
The war in Yemen caused the death of more than 377 thousand people directly or indirectly, according to the United Nations, meaning that they died either in bombing and fighting or as a result of the indirect repercussions of the war such as hunger, disease, and lack of drinking water.