Report: Rebel discord may be Yemen's narrow window for peace

YUSUF SELMAN İNANÇ @yusufsinanc
Istanbul
Published

The deadly conflict in Yemen, which has left thousands dead and millions at risks of deadly diseases, may likely be looking at a narrow opening for peace following an internal rift among the rebels, the International Crisis Group (ICG) has said.

The ICG this week urged Saudi Arabia and its main allies, the U.S. and the U.K., to accelerate efforts to turn the crisis into an opportunity for peace.

Yemen's ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh and Iranian-backed Houthi rebels are currently at odds over leadership issues.

"In a report, the ICG said Saudi Arabia and its allies, including the U.S. and Britain, should move fast to ‘capitalize on a division that they have encouraged.' It said they should turn the political rift between Yemeni strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh and his Houthi allies into a ceasefire and ensure the rebels cut all ties with Shiite Iran," the Agence French Press (AFP) reported.

"The timing is ripe but the opportunity could easily slip away," the report added.

Qatar's Al-Jazeera also reported this week that peace in Yemen was more likely than ever if the actors took timely steps.

Despite an optimistic approach, the U.N. said this week, that the concerning leaders were not interested in finding a solution in the war-torn country.

"Parties of the conflict are eroding the path to peace while the country's people suffer amid a man-made humanitarian catastrophe," a senior U.N. official said, urging the members of the U.N. Security Council to use their political and economic powers to pressure warring sides to commit to a path of peace.

Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the special envoy of the U.N. secretary-general for Yemen, said: "In Yemen, there are no winners on the battlefield. The losers are the Yemeni people who suffer because of this war. The people [of Yemen] are getting poorer while influential leaders get richer. They are not interested in finding any solutions, as they will lose their power and control in a settlement."

The statement comes after the U.N. said it was going to blacklist Saudi Arabia in a resolution over the killing of thousands of children.

In reply, the Saudi government claimed the draft was biased and focused only the pains of Yemenis on the rebels' side and implied that supporting such a resolution will hamper their relations with the signatory countries.

Previously, it was claimed that Saudi Arabia was going to remain under the U.N.'s pressure but Riyadh was blackmailing countries that were going to sign the condemnation document.

Yemen is the scene of one of the most disastrous wars in the region. Thousands of civilians have been killed while thousands more have been internally displaced. Outbreaks of several diseases, including cholera, have affected more than half of its population.

The war between Houthi rebels and the Saudi-backed central government has worsened with the involvement of the Saudi-led coalition.

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