Yemeni Truce Negotiated in Bad Faith: UK-Based Analyst
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A senior political commentator based in London said the Saudi regime only aimed to quell the international outrage over its crimes by accepting a UN-brokered truce in Yemen’s Hudaydah and hence, the ceasefire was negotiated in bad faith.
“We must not forget that the ceasefire in Hudaydah has been violated hundreds of times already by Saudi bombardment of civilian areas, and this will continue,” Riaz Karim said in an interview with the Tasnim News Agency.
“Don’t forget that the Saudis will stand in defiance of this ceasefire because this is to cover up and soften the outrage regarding (Saudi journalist Jamal) Khashoggi's brutal Murder, hence it is a ceasefire negotiated in bad faith and for a specific reason,” the analyst added.
Dr. Riaz Karim holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University. He is also the Director of Veritas Centre for Strategic Studies in London. He is also an analyst and commentator for a number of media outlets around the world.
Following is the full text of the interview:
Tasnim: Recently, the United Nations brokered a truce deal between the Yemeni warring sides as part of confidence-building measures at peace talks in Sweden to avert a full-scale assault on the port city of Hudaydah that is vital for urgent aid supplies for millions facing starvation. However, the Saudi-led coalition and their mercenaries have violated the ongoing ceasefire in Hudaydah many times, by attacking residential areas there. What is your opinion about the truce violations and continued crimes committed by the Saudis and its allies?
Karim: October proved to be a decisive month for the Yemeni Civil War. Not because of any battlefield related developments, but by the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The murder, which took place inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, has received unprecedented media attention. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, commonly known as MBS, opened a Pandora’s box: Western governments were deeply disturbed by the brutal murder of the journalist and decided to hurt MBS where it’s painful: arms sales.
Germany, Norway, Denmark, and Finland suspended arms export to the Kingdom. While these are welcome developments, the biggest players are still reluctant to put any halt to the lucrative arms business. The US accounts for more than 60% of major arms sales, followed by the UK (23%), and France (4%) and there are no signs that these countries would be willing to say goodbye to the Saudi’s money. A tangible effect of Khashoggi’s murder was November’s US Senate vote. It put in motion a resolution which would end US support for the bombing campaign. The very same resolution was rejected earlier this year in March.
Just don’t forget it’s not just Saudi Arabia which is waging war in Yemen. The UAE is also a major actor that managed to secure strategic positions in Aden and is currently backing the Southern Separatists in their fights against the Yemeni branch of Al-Qaeda, the Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). To complicate matters further: The UAE-backed Southern forces are the ones who are calling for independence from Yemen and who waged a bloody civil war against the central government in 1994, just four years after the unification of South and North Yemen.
Bringing the parties together, in itself, is a success. The previous attempt for talks in September did not bring any results simply because the parties couldn’t meet. The Houthi delegation’s leader accused the Saudis of making travel impossible for them. This explains why the Houthis wanted Griffiths to travel with them on the same plane to the current talks in Sweden.
The current talks are unlikely to end the war; this is not even the aim. Confidence building measures such as prisoner swaps, a ceasefire in the strategic port of Hudaydah, the reopening of Sana’a airport, and the payment of salaries for public employees in the Houthi-held areas – which has not happened since 2016 – is a promising first step.
However, we must not forget that the ceasefire in Hudaydah has been violated hundreds of times already by Saudi bombardment of civilian areas, and this will continue, don't forget that the Saudis will stand in defiance of this ceasefire because this is to cover up and soften the outrage regarding Khashoggi's brutal Murder hence it is a ceasefire negotiated in bad faith and for a specific reason.
Tasnim: The United Nations welcomed on Sunday any redeployment of Yemen’s Houthi forces away from the port city of Hudaydah as part of the Stockholm cease-fire agreement. What is your assessment of the role of the UN and its forces in monitoring the ceasefire in Hudaydah?
Karim: The blame game has already begun before the dust has even settled, the UN blaming the Houthis for taking aid food, the Saudi media outlets blaming the Houthis for violating the ceasefire terms while continuing to bombard Yemen.
Let's not forget that the very countries that called for this ceasefire also hold the UN purse strings, as such the UN and its forces will be there in a monitoring role and nothing more. However, the propaganda machine will be churning in full force and the Houthis will be blamed for everything including squeezing the toothpaste from the wrong side of the tube while violations will continue in spite of the monitoring presence and the blame game will get even harsher.
Tasnim: What do you think about the international pressures on Saudi Arabia and their influence on the protracted war in Yemen and how do you predict the future of the conflict?
Karim: We live in a world where Hollywood stars get much more coverage than 26 million starving people in some corner of the world, the international pressures and future of such conflicts is directly tied to monitory profits. Wars make money; if there was money in peace, the world would be a better place but unfortunately it is not so. With money one can literally get away with murder as we have all seen, and the trend will continue with more sophisticated spins, an arms race and suffering people. The price of a human life is now equal to that of a bullet.