Written by: Issac Ali
Yemen has been under a Saudi-led military campaign since March 2015, where thousands of Yemenis have been killed or injured, mainly by Saudi bombs that have struck schools, markets, hospitals, funerals, and infrastructure. In addition, millions of Yemenis have been forced to leave their homes due to clashes near or within residential areas. The war has also triggered epidemics, such as cholera and diphtheria, which has killed thousands of civilians. However, what now threatens the impoverished country the most is starvations. According to the United Nations, the country is now on the brink of famine and that about 14 million Yemeni is in a vital need for humanitarian aid, or they might starve to death!
On Thursday, two major events occurred regarding the Yemeni case, one is the conclusion day Yemen peace talks in Sweden, which is considered to be the most progressive talks Yemen has ever had since the beginning of the war. The second is the US declaration of ending its support for the Saudi-led aggression over Yemen.
Outcomes of Yemen peace talks in Sweden
Last Thursday, after seven days of consultations, was the results day of the talks held in Sweden between the warring parties, which was participated by the secretary general of the UN, António Guterres and many official figures from different parts of the world.
Antonio Guterres declared an agreement between both rivals regarding the port city of Yemen’s Hodeidah, which states a ceasefire on the province, which the Houthis now control.
“There is a ceasefire declared for the whole governorate of Hudaydah in the agreement and there will be both from the city and the harbor a withdrawal of all forces,” Guterres said, adding that after the pullout, the UN would begin facilitating aid access to the civilian population.
The port within Hodeidah is considered the most vital source of imports for the country, where more than %70 of all imports go through. However, the province has been under full siege since June by the Saudi-led coalition, who launched an offensive operation against the port city and has been trying to take control of for over a year but failed to do so.
Within the first days of the consultations, the Riyadh-backed side demanded the withdrawal of Houthis (Ansar Allah) from the city so it can take control of it; however, the head of Ansar Allah delegation said that Hodeidah must be kept neutral from any hostilities.
Griffiths, for his part, said on Thursday that the pullout of all forces should take place “within days.” He is due to brief the UN Security Council on Yemen on Friday.
The international airport of Sanaa was a tough issue during peace talks. Houthis control the airport, but it went out of service for over three years because the Saudi-led coalition controls Yemen’s maritime border and airspace.
The issue regarding Sanaa airport will be discussed within the next consultations that are expected to be held at the end of January 2019, according to the UN chief.
“It’s clear and it’s public knowledge that starting point is opening up to commercial flights, maybe domestic at first, and eventually (international),” he added.
There have been other breakthroughs during Sweden’s consultations, including an agreement to a prisoner swap and “mutual understanding” on Yemen’s third city of Ta’izz, another hotspot in the war-ravaged country and the scene of some of the most intense clashes between the rivals.
The Senate votes to halt US support over the Saudi-led war on Yemen
US senates voted on Thursday to end Trump administration military aid for Saudi Arabia over the war on Yemen.
The outcomes of the Senate vote were 60-39 to advance a resolution for further debate and a later vote in the chamber.
This is one of the strongest moments of bipartisan defiance against President Trump’s defense of the kingdom over the killing of a dissident journalist, in which Republican senators joined the Democrats to provide the 60 votes needed for the resolution to advance.
The joint resolution, which was introduced by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Chris Murphy (D-CT), calls on Trump to stop US armed forces from supporting Saudi Arabia in its military campaign in Yemen.
Majority leader Mitch McConnell’s was against this vote and cheered other to block this measure for he argues that it is ”too broad”. However, the resolution passed.
The Senate has gone against Trump’s desires for defending the de facto ruler of the kingdom Mohammed bin Salman, even though he is now officially responsible, according to passed resolution by the Senate for the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi and its military adventurism in Yemen.
The Saudi -led coalition intervention on Yemen initially consisted of an aerial campaign but was later coupled with a naval and aerial blockade, in addition to deploying ground mercenaries on the ground. Furthermore, armed militia forces loyal to Hadi, in line with invaders, launch frequent attacks against Yemeni people in regions held by Houthis.
Since the onset of the Saudi-led aggression on Yemen, the Yemeni army, backed by fighters from Houthi Ansarullah movement, has been defending the impoverished nation against the invaders. The coalition is also resolute to crush the movement as another goal in its war on Yemen, which is teetering on the edge of famine.
According to a report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, the Saudi war has left 56,000 Yemenis dead.
Riyadh had declared at the start of the invasion that the war would take no more than a couple of weeks, but it on the way of entering its fourth year.
The Saudi-led war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN has said that a record 22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4 million threatened by severe hunger. According to the world body, Yemen is suffering from the most severe famine in more than 100 years.
A number of Western countries, the US and Britain in particular, are also accused of being complicit in the ongoing aggression as they supply the Riyadh regime with advanced weapons and military equipment as well as logistical and intelligence assistance.