Column: Yemen and the elusive peace

Hope for a solution to Yemen crisis and war faded away when the United Nations presented its new peace plan, which was approved by the legitimate government and Gulf countries.

Hope evaporated when the Houthis and former President Ali Abdullah Saleh set impossible conditions to accept the plan.

During the past few months, they and their foreign allies have accused the government and Gulf countries of rejecting any political solution and insisting on continuing the war. This despite Kuwait hosting negotiations between the Yemeni government, Saleh and the Houthis, and Saudi Arabia welcoming Houthi delegations several times and communicating with Saleh officials.

The Yemeni war started 16 months ago, but the crisis started more than five years ago. Whoever thinks the war has lasted a long time should recall that the United States started a war in Afghanistan 15 years ago and is still fighting there.

Yemen and Afghanistan are alike in terms of rugged terrain, the great role of tribes, foreign interference and the absence of central authority. That is not to say that the war in Yemen will last 15 years, but there should be no illusion.

Members of the Saudi-led coalition must continue their work while keeping in mind that a solution will not be reached soon. They should also look for partial solutions that enable Yemen’s government to work in liberated areas.
Coalition forces are only 10 kilometers from Sanaa airport, which is only 8 kilometers from the center of the capital.

Intelligence company Stratfor says Sanaa is now more vulnerable than ever, but I do not think that the coalition wants to be part of the battle because it does not want to turn the capital into a cemetery. Yemen and its people are our neighbors, and no one wants to pass along grudges to future generations. Victory is required, but at the lowest price for all parties.

The Houthis’ increased shelling and breaches of the Saudi border are a propaganda effort to delude Yemenis and Saudis into thinking that the war has spilled over from Yemen into Saudi Arabia. It is true that Houthi artillery and operations have reached Saudi border villages, and that there are hundreds of civilian victims, but the real and important fight remains in Yemen.