Bright Prospects for Yemen Peace Talks

Bright Prospects for Yemen Peace Talks Bright Prospects for Yemen Peace Talks

The heavy strain on countries involved in the Yemen war, particularly Saudi Arabia, has heightened expectations for the fruitfulness of peace talks that began on Thursday in Sweden between opposing sides in the war-torn country, an analyst said. 

A civil war has been raging in Yemen for nearly four years between the ousted government of Abd-Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and the Houthi movement. 
The violent conflict has killed thousands of people creating the world’s worst ongoing humanitarian crisis. 
The United Nations set up a diplomatic initiative to bring the opposing groups to the negotiating table. The first effort in September failed, as the Houthis refused to take part in the talks due to the lack of security guarantees, but the warring parties finally entered into dialogue thanks to diligent mediation efforts by UN special envoy, Martin Griffiths.
Iran, a long-time advocate of intra-Yemeni talks, welcomed the Sweden talks and is hopeful of a favorable outcome since the conditions are no longer promising for the parties involved to achieve their objectives through fighting. 
Nosratollah Tajik, Iran’s former ambassador to Jordan and a Middle East pundit, enumerated several reasons signaling the potential success of current discussions in an interview with ISNA. 
“The rising costs for the West, especially the United States and Britain whose weapons have been used in this war and have tarnished the West’s reputation” is one such reason, he said.
The Saudi-led coalition, which offers military support to Hadi against the Houthis, makes extensive use of American- and British-made weaponry.  
According to Tajik, the war has caused extensive humanitarian damage due to “the abuse of the arms by Saudis”.
Therefore, he implied that the western countries are likely to push for an end to the war to hush up the scandal. 
"On the other hand, the people of Yemen are putting up a huge, spirited resistance against the Saudis’ criminal acts, dimming the chances of success for Riyadh’s coalition," Tajik pointed out as another reason for the possible end to the devastating war. 


Riyadh Under Pressure

Saudi Arabia, in its miscalculation, expected to win the war in a matter of a few months, but is now suffering heavy material and non-material losses and is highly likely to draw back its forces from Yemen, the former diplomat said. 
“Riyadh’s regional and international relations have been [negatively] affected by its intervention in Yemen, such that it has been isolated and will have to pay a heavy price,” he explained. 
According to Tajik, the war has also disrupted Saudi Arabia’s process of political, social and economic reforms. 
"Besides, Mohammad bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince and leader of the coalition, is in a delicate position following the murder of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which has turned the world public opinion against him," he said.  
The indifference of US President Donald Trump, who initially stood by him in the high-profile case, has further weakened his position, he added, suggesting that he would have to compromise in the case of Yemen to save his reputation. 
Tajik also noted that the spread of violence and terrorism in the region and the persistence of war would have paved the way for the rise of terrorist groups, posing threats to the future of Saudi Arabia and the UAE [a major party to the coalition].
“Riyadh will most probably have to end this crisis to improve its image on the global stage,” he concluded.

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