Any potential peace talks in the Yemen conflict are now solely dependent on the Saudi-led coalition after Houthi rebels confirmed its commitment to entering UN resolution talks, according to Yemeni journalist Nasser Arrabyee, based in Sana’a. Rebels have been engaged in a brutal civil-war with forces loyal to President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi since the start of 2015, with both sides claiming to represent the legitimate government of the country. Since the Saudi coalition’s decision to enter the conflict on the side of the pro-Hadi forces, an estimated 4900 people have died as a result of the war.
The Houthi Movement has since written to the UN Secretary General confirming its commitment to talks that could resolve the current situation, although the Hadi government has since dismissed the move, demanding the group hand back all territory it has seized since the breakout of the conflict.
Arrabyee said all prior attempts at peace talks have been rejected by Saudi Arabia, casting some doubt over the possibility of a resolution. However, he suspected the country would show “a little more seriousness” about the current olive branch being extended by the Houthis.
“This time we are a little optimistic, only because of developments in the south of Saudi Arabia where the Yemeni army are occupying small areas on the ground, and also because of what is happening in Syria after the Russian intervention,” he declared.
According to Arrabyee, the Saudi-narrative for its ‘aggression’ on Yemen was as part of a ‘proxy-war’ of sorts against fellow regional powerhouse Iran, who the Saudi’s believe are one of the main supporters of the Houthi rebellion.
“Everybody now knows that Iran hasn’t even given a bottle of water to Yemen or the Houthis. Iran is not in Yemen. Saudi Arabia is attacking Yemen for special reasons, which is that it wants to expand its influence in Yemen because it sees itself as the leader of the region now,” he claimed.
Arrabyee also had a different account in terms of casualties of the conflict, putting the death toll as high as 30 000, mostly civilians killed over the past seven months. In addition, he suggested infrastructure was being bombed to near non-existence.
“Every time the army (Houthis) have advancements in the south of Saudi Arabia they come here with fighters to bomb everyone; mosques, schools, houses and even wedding parties. Yesterday they they killed about 100 people, women and children (included) at a wedding party, and this is the third time they’ve bombed a wedding,” he alleged.
He went further to accuse Saudi Arabia of committing war crimes during the conflict, suggesting that if the international continue to remain silent on such ‘atrocities’, the conflict would soon become a global problem. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)