The active diplomatic action of Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Nations, and the bilateral discussions that took place in Sana'a last week, abounded with analyzes and leaks about the outcomes of the meetings, which Sana'a described as positive.
Away from analyzes, informed sources say that a Saudi delegation headed by Ambassador Muhammad Al Jaber came to the capital, Sana’a, in conjunction with the arrival of the Omani delegation last week, and a number of humanitarian issues were discussed, most notably the payment of the salaries for all employees from Yemen’s oil revenues, the opening of Sana’a airport and the port of Hodeidah completely, and solving the prisoner issue.
After four days of intense discussions, ideas about what Sana'a described as "positive" on the humanitarian issue were produced. The Saudi delegation, as well as the Omani mediator, carried these ideas and entrusted them with conveying them to their leadership of the US-Saudi aggression, especially the Saudi leadership, and the discussions are still ongoing, awaiting the Saudi response.
Through this information, it is clear that nothing has been decided until now, and that the ideas that Sana’a described as positive are still under study by the countries of aggression, and an agreement has not yet been reached, while the discussion is still ongoing and the possibilities are open, awaiting the Saudi response to be based on what is required. So whether they will agree, and then an agreement announced by the United Nations, or the region will turn into a battlefield.
The Humanitarian Issue: Obligatory Path Towards Peace
It is clear that the Saudi regime at this stage, on the impact of international changes and global crises, is governed by three priorities, and is forced to recalibrate its relations and foreign policies. These priorities are summarized as follows:
- Zeroing problems through dialogue with the Arab and Islamic countries.
- Activating the development of the Saudi economy and internal and external investments.
- Securing energy (its sources and sea routes).
These three priorities, especially the economic ones, require dialogue and zeroing in on problems. The starting point is from Yemen, and not from anywhere else. If Saudi Arabia wants to achieve its priorities, it must respond immediately and quickly to the priorities of the Yemeni People.
We believe that Saudi Arabia no longer has many options at this critical stage, and it is in dire need of calm in Yemen, and "finding a way to restore the UN-sponsored truce in Yemen, and work to turn it into a permanent ceasefire," according to what was revealed by Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan during a meeting, on Wednesday with the UN representative, Hans Grandberg.
Perhaps this provides an explanation for the unannounced diplomatic movement of Saudi delegations back and forth to Sana'a (three times since October of last year). It is positive that Saudi Arabia searches for ways out of its predicament, because the experience of the past eight years does not encourage it to sink in Yemen’s war indefinitely.
One Way to Extend, Expand Truce
It seems that the gap has not been completely closed, although the diplomatic path was characterized by a kind of positivity and cautious optimism, because Saudi Arabia and Washington are keen to freeze the Yemeni military operations and reach a permanent military ceasefire, while continuing their economic and humanitarian war.
And if we assume that there is a relative shift in Riyadh’s approach to resolving the crisis in Yemen in terms of responding to Sana’a’s demands, then Washington, in parallel, deals opportunistically with Yemen, as it wants to freeze it whenever it wants, and ignite it whenever it wants according to the interest in two aspects: the continuation of oil supplies and the sale of arms deals, and the consolidation of the American military presence in the region.
Away from that, Sana’a insists on the priority of making the humanitarian issue a success, as a compulsory path to cross towards a just and comprehensive peace, and this will not be, according to political sources in Sana’a, except by handing over salary revenues from oil and gas for the benefit of salaries and services for all employees, lifting the siege completely on Sana’a airport and the port of Hodeidah.
All these issues are preliminary steps followed by steps to rebuild every stone destroyed by the aggression in Yemen, with reparations and compensation for those affected, so that after that there will be comprehensive political negotiations between the Yemeni parties. And any attempt to end military aggression without the economic and humanitarian issue will push things towards a new blockage.
Obstructions of Understanding between Sanaa and Riyadh
It is expected that the parties will agree to extend and expand the truce, and this is what the Saudi economic interest and the humanitarian interest in Yemen require.
In parallel, there are a number of indicators may abstract this endeavor, the most prominent of which are:
- British forces take over the tasks of Force 151 at sea
- The strengthening of the economic blockade against Yemen by the US-Saudi aggression.
- Challenges of sequencing regarding outstanding issues, as well as concerns about guarantees for implementing the agreement by all parties, according to what the UN representative said in his briefing.
- The continued US incitement of the countries of aggression to continue their military aggression and blockade, and to militarize the humanitarian issue. This matter appeared in the speech of US Deputy Representative Richard Mills at the Security Council session last Monday by his attempt to militarize the humanitarian issue, linking the harnessing of oil and gas revenues and paying the salaries of employees to political dialogue with the pro-aggression government under the auspices of the United Nations. He said: "Only a Yemeni-Yemeni political agreement can reverse the terrible humanitarian crisis in Yemen."
- The White House's inciting statement against Sana'a, coinciding with the anniversary of Yemen's first hurricane operation against the UAE, to implicate the latter again and encourage it to continue aggression and obstruct current peace efforts. Despite the fact that "the security and safety of the UAE and other regional countries is achieved by encouraging peace and ending its military presence and partnership in aggression, not with the American pledge to protect it,” according to the Yemeni Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which considered that “a just and lasting peace is the only option for the security of the region.”
So, there are opportunities and challenges in front of any upcoming agreement, and there is still a paradox and a gap between the regional and international parties, and everyone looks at things from his angle and interest, especially the US. Will Saudi Arabia dare this time, based on what its interest and security necessitate, to get out of its predicament in Yemen and surrender? Or will it remain just a follower awaiting American instructions, orders, and directives? This is what will be revealed in the next few days.
Written by Ali Dhafer translated by Almasirah English website