Despite all the positivity that one can extract from the first ever face-to-face bi-lateral talks between Yemen’s warring parties, the ceasefire agreements reached, and the reported ‘progress’ on peace and prison swap made, there is little hope that peace would eventually triumph. While this may sound ‘pessimistic’, there are multiple reasons for this, and the most important reason for this is that the critical issues remain unresolved and the warring parties continue to have massively divergent views on resolving those issues. On top of it is also the fact that the US war machine is going to continue to support (by selling weapons) the Saudia led coalition in Yemen, which means that Saudi Arabia wouldn’t really be worried about bringing a quick or a negotiated end to the war, although engaging in talks would allow it to demonstrate its ‘commitment’ to peace in the region.
Two developments indicate very strongly that peace has very little change in these talks. First, the US has reaffirmed its continued support to Saudia. Second, the US had also made it clear that war wouldn’t really end unless the ‘Iranian threat’ from Yemen is completely rooted out. In this context, the ceasefire or prisoner swap agreement stand little to no chance of bringing peace.
As such, while Saudi Arabia and the US have been unable to push back Iran from Syria, they seem determined to outmanoeuvre it in Yemen; hence, the high improbability of achieving peace in Yemen. It appears that both the Khashoggi murder and the indiscriminate killing of thousands of civilians haven’t really moved the US administration towards really ending their support for Saudia’s war.
“Obviously there are pressures in our system … to either withdraw from the conflict or discontinue our support of the coalition, which we are strongly opposed to on the administration side,” Timothy Lenderking, the State Department’s deputy assistant secretary for Arabian Gulf affairs, said at a security forum in the United Arab Emirates. But he also made it clear that peace in Yemen wouldn’t be possible unless the “Iranian-backed threat to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and vital international economic quarters” is completely rooted out.
And, there is no gainsaying that the US or its key-regional ally,