The negotiations held in Kuwait for the purpose of a peace settlement in Yemen were interrupted at the end of June, with an arrangement to stop negotiating during the end of Ramadan and the subsequent feasts until July 15th. The delegations of Houthi/Ansar Allah and Moutamar/Saleh returned to Sana´a and the Hadi government party to Ryadh for further discussions. The briefing at the UN-Security Council furnished no progress, small wonder since it is the UNSR 2216 which remains the obstacle for a peace solution. It is now expected on the part of the UNO and interested countries that the fractions will agree to a roadmap during this period. A sub-committee monitoring the ceasefire has been convening in Dharan in Saudi Arabia. The Peace Pact is vehemently urged to be concluded in Saudi Arabia but this is rejected by both the Houthi/Ansar Allah and the Moutamar/Saleh fractions. Saudi Arabia´s primary goal is “to keep face and safeguard the country´s honour“, i.e. to end the war neither as looser nor as culprit.
The acts of war are far from being terminated, though, while hostilities continue at three fronts but with increasingly fewer foreign troops. Soldiers and the “People’s militia“ of Houthi/Saleh fight on one side, primarily Yemeni mercenaries on the other. The mercenaries are, above all, tribal peoples paid and equipped by Saudi Arabia. Focus of the armed disputes is the desert province alJauf, adjoining Saudi Arabia east of Saada, and the area around Nihm, ca 30 km east of Sana´a. This mountainous area represents a gateway to Sana´a and has been a centre of hostilities since the beginning of the war. The third war theatre remains Taizz, where radical Sunni militia, entrenched in the town, fight the Houthi/ Saleh circumvallation. No major areal gains are to be expected on either front.
Only the areas held by Houthi-Saleh militia are governed by Yemeni forces, the South and the East of the country are increasingly ruled by foreigners, with Qatar all of a sudden substantially participating and looking for Yemeni stooges, in addition to Saudi Arabia and the Emirates, in charge since the commencement of hostilities. The Qatari Emir Tamim recently met with Ali Mohsen alAhmar, who, from his exile in Ryadh, is counselling the Saudi troops in attacking Yemen, and has been nominated by Abdrubbah Mansur Hadi as his vice president in a surprise coup this April. As mentioned before, Ali Mohsen had originally been an intimate friend of Ali Abdullah Saleh´s who made him an immensely rich man, but joined the opposition at the 2011 revolution and had to flee the Houthis and lives in exile in Ryadh. He is now considered a protagonist of the Muslim Brothers and, consequently, disavowed by the Emirates. Before Ali Mohsen Emir Tamim had already invited Hussein Mohamed alArab, Hadi´s minister of the interior and also a former party member of Saleh´s, to join him for an information encounter. If the Qataris start considering Ali Mohsen and alArab as their stakeholders in the Yemeni theatre this implies that the tensions and competitions within the GCC escalate and will be redeployed into Yemen.
Convincing proof of the Emirate´s adopted hegemony in the South and their rejection of Hadi´s government since the humiliating dismissal of Khaled Bahah is the recently raised complaint by Ahmed bin Daghr, the newly appointed premier minister, also one of Saleh´s backed out protégés. In May, Bin Daghr arrived with a small sized cabinet in Aden to demonstrate the presence of the government and to ” set about reconstruction“. Since then the supply situation has become worse than ever before and even now during Ramadan power and gasoline are a rare occasion. Many Adanis would go hungry without the religious welfare institutions and international aid supplies. Bin Daghr publicly complained that he and his ministers had been offered three rooms only in the government palace upon arrival and that he and his colleagues together have but these three rooms to sleep, live and work in. To aggravate the situation the Emirati occupation forces do not provide for security officers so that they cannot move around in Aden but in actual fact live miserably and cannot govern.
Bin Daghr´s cry for help fully reveals the situation of “President” Hadi, who for by now 15 months no longer had a leg to stand on in Yemen, is unwelcome all over the country but claims in the peace negotiation to return as a winner after the Houthis have deposited all arms and quit the field.
Many of the Hadi-friendly international observers should have noticed by now that it was a mistake to grant him exclusive support – which he refers to at whatever occasion – and to consider him as the suitable man to consolidate Yemen.
The political status quo in Yemen is much too complex to permit a simple solution. The long standing distress of the population has brought about local conflicts, above all in the South. In Aden it is rumoured that opponents in alDhale´s provincial government are also responsible for the shortage of water and power. The climate between alDhale und the neighbouring provinces of Lahij und Abyan but also Aden had, ever and again, been poisoned for historical reasons. AlDhale´s political forces have been acting ever more hostilely since the beginning of the war and have created a militia of their own.
The situation in the Northern provinces under Houthi rule is relatively stable. Civil rights are limited owing to the present siege and blockade but the Houthi government appears to enjoy quite some backing under their revolutionary council. In particular in Sana´a the atmosphere is quiet and peaceful, with sporadic spells of power after a year of total darkness.
The Sana´ani population is waiting for “lailat alqadr” (the night in which the Koran was revealed) and prepare for “aid alfitr” (the feast of breaking the Ramadan fast), the feast at the end of Ramadan on July 6th, when new dresses, festive meals and sweets for the children should be given. It is hoped that the “Zakat”, the tax requested and expected to be delivered by the believers in kind at the end of Ramadan, will help also poor families and war victims to celebrate.
Yemen remains closed to personal traffic, with no civilian air transport to and from Sana´a and Aden.
Distribution of food ratios during Ramadan by one of the numerous aid organisations active in Yemen
Fitr-Feast at the end of Ramadan: New dresses and lots of sweets