What does that mean? It means that United Nations Special Adviser Jamal Benomar said a lot of words:
“Emotions are running extremely high and, unless solutions can be found, the country will fall into further violent confrontations,” Mr. Benomar declared. “Events in Yemen are leading the country away from political settlement and to the edge of civil war.”
Meanwhile, pre-empting criticism of the UN-brokered political talks, the UN envoy also admitted that the international community had no other alternative but to continue in its calls for restraint, de-escalate the situation, and engage all sides, including Yemen’s 12 political parties and the Houthis, in the political process.
“I urge all sides in this time of rising tension and inflammatory rhetoric to appreciate the gravity of the situation and deescalate by exercising maximum restraint,” Mr. Benomar concluded. “Peaceful dialogue is the only way forward.”
I’m not going to sit here at my laptop and pretend that anything the UN did on Sunday even comes close to mattering. It was over the moment Benomar used the word “emotions.” “Emotions” are not “running high.” The US was forced to pull all remaining security forces out of the country amid a growing security disaster—and this happened after our first withdrawal and subsequent loss of half a billion dollars worth of military aid.
Right now, Iranian-backed rebels are in control of key locations in a country once controlled by a western-backed government. The Yemeni al Qaeda cell is making moves internationally. ISIS has claimed responsibility for two suicide bombings that killed over a hundred people, and wounded over three hundred.
Oh, and Iran just did an arms dump benefiting Houthi rebels, and is making moves to seize more control over Yemen’s infrastructure:
The Houthi militias reportedly closed the port and denied entrance to employees there. Al-Saleef port is considered the second most vital in Yemen.
The news follows last week’s economic partnership agreements between Iran and the Houthis, including a deal that promises a year’s worth of oil supply from Iran.
Iran has also agreed to provide Yemen with a 200 megawatt power plant, according to Yemeni news agency Saba.
No, this isn’t “emotions.” This is devolution—but not the same type we’ve seen previously in failed states like Somalia. In Somalia, we had warlords and the clan structure to consider; here, it’s the west vs. (in part) the influence of an independent nation state that fearlessly spits in the face of both diplomacy and military power. Now, that nation state (Iran) is offering up both arms and infrastructure support to the very group that managed to toss aside a sitting government in just a few months.
This is serious. You should be paying attention.
The Security Council did unanimously adopt a statement supporting the legitimacy of the deposed Hadi government, so that’s something:
In a Presidential Statement, the Security Council, for its part, reaffirmed its “strong commitment to the unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity” of Yemen, adding that it supported the “legitimacy” of President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi and condemned the “ongoing unilateral actions” taken by the Houthis which are undermining the country’s political transition.
“The Security Council deplores that the Houthis have not implemented its demands in resolution 2201 (2015) to withdraw their forces from government institutions, including in the capital Sana’a, and normalize the security situation in the capital and other provinces, and relinquish government and security institutions,” the Statement continued while also reiterating the Council’s “concern” at the ability of AQAP “to benefit from the deterioration of the political and security situation” in Yemen.
“The Security Council reiterates that the solution to the situation in Yemen is through a peaceful, inclusive, orderly and Yemeni-led political transition process that meets the legitimate demands and aspirations of the Yemeni people for peaceful change and meaningful political, economic and social reform.”
Meanwhile, the Houthi continued their rampage out of northern Yemen and have seized the city of Taiz. Taiz is important because it lies just over 100 from Aden, Yemen’s port city. The Houthi are expanding their influence—and preparing for a confrontation with other rebel factions in the region:
On Sunday, Houthi leader Abdel-Malek al-Houthi vowed to pursue Islamists militants from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and IS.
Both al-Qaeda and IS are Sunni groups and consider the Shia Muslim Houthis to be heretics.
IS said it was behind the suicide bombings of two Houthi mosques on Friday in Sanaa, which killed 137 worshippers.
Mr Houthi also accused Qatar and Saudi Arabia of “funding all conspiracies in the region” and accused Mr Hadi of “being a puppet in the hands of other actors to implement their agendas in Yemen”.
Someone may want to tell the Security Council that they need to speak up—I don’t think anyone in Yemen—or Iran—is listening.DONATE
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