SHAFAQNA – “I ask all the parties and the international community to remain steadfast in support of this cessation of hostilities to be a first in Yemen’s return to peace… Yemen cannot afford the loss of more lives,” declared Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed , the UN Special Envoy to Yemen as he confirmed Yemen had entered into a ceasefire with Saudi Arabia’s grand military coalition.
Only there is nothing peaceful about this ceasefire, and Saudi Arabia is most definitely not a legitimate party to peace – how could it when it is Riyadh’s territorial greed which has decimated Yemen in the first place? But since the United Nations has been only too happy to indulge and rationalize Riyadh’s imperial madness in Southern Arabia, the world has been taught to marvel at the kingdom’s commitment to peace.
Such is the paradox of our time – we praise those who wage war in the name of peace, while we criminalize Resistance for daring oppose Tyranny.
While media have clapped in relief as Yemen ceasefire was confirmed, realities on the ground do not reflect any such giddiness. There is nothing festive, or even hopeful to be gained for such a military respite – not when Riyadh is exploiting such a window of opportunity to introduce a change of the guard.
Peace and political negotiations are not on the agenda, rather a change in military strategy. Under the cover of a conveniently timed ceasefire, the kingdom is working to get fresh troops in Yemen – this time courtesy of Jordan, while the UAE organize its men’s comeback. I suppose the province of Marib proved far more challenging that the UAE ever could have expected.
“Jordanian military forces and advisers will be replacing UAE troops fighting in the Saudi war on Yemen, following reports of serious disputes among the few “coalition” members, Yemen Khabar news agency reported this April 14th.
According to Yemeni officials, King Salman’s recent tour of the Levant: Egypt and Jordan, allowed for a series of military agreements to be signed on by both Cairo and Amman in exchange for financial largess. In true imperial capitalist fashion, Riyadh wielded money to co-opt powers to do its bidding in the Yemen – turning allies into obedient mercenaries.
Khabar confirmed that Prince Muhammad bin Salman al Saud, the now infamous Saudi Defense Minister and Crown Prince, met with King Abdullah of Jordan in the seaport of Aqaba where “a package of agreements, including one related to the development of military cooperation was concluded.”
With the UAE withdrawing from Marib, Riyadh had no choice but to find a replacement to its failed military endeavour … and while a game of military musical chair is unlikely to solve anything I suppose it still offers the resemblance of a dignified withdrawal. Or as they say: tactical!
But Yemen’s latest ceasefire betrays more than just a change of the guard, and fresh reinforcement.
13 months into a conflict which it expected would last no more than a few short weeks, Riyadh is desperately trying to regain its footing. Do not allow for political posing, and princely arrogance to fool you into believing the House of Saud is in control.
Riyadh is barely keeping up with Yemen… never mind dictating the pace. For all the losses Yemen suffered, and both the military and political efforts Saudi Arabia exerted against the impoverished nation Sana’s is still towering over Riyadh by the sheer strength of its Resistance.
If Riyadh only bows to money, and the power it can buy, Yemen is living by a different tune altogether. It is national pride and integrity which move the Highlands, not cowardice and greed – those attributes Yemen leaves to Hadi and Co … those sad politicians who sold out their people to rise their personal fortunes.
But money does not ease all upsets … and grand coalition can often crumble into dust.
Saudi Arabia might have gone one miscalculation too far this February when it dismissed Khaled Bahah – Abdel-Rabbo Mansour Hadi’s so called prime minister in waiting, to replace him with Gen. Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, Yemen’s former top military man, and senior leader of al-Islah – a loose coalition of tribes and political factions which include members of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The mastermind behind former President Saleh’s failed assassination attempt in 2011, Gen. al-Ahmar also led a series of brutal assaults against the Houthis in 2004, and 2009 – all in the name of a covert religious cleansing campaign Riyadh was only too keen to orchestrate, shield and offer its support to.
The once-self-proclaimed protector of the people, Gen. al-Ahmar proved himself a traitor, a renegade and a turn coat. Still Riyadh appointed him to one of Yemen’s highest office, making a mockery of Yemen’s national sovereignty.
Since when are Yemeni officials vetted by Riyadh? In which democratic dystopian reality are kings playing republic?
Interestingly it was the UAE which reacted most of all to Riyadh’s new political appointment … Hadi those days hardly offers more than a whisper. As for the Resistance, it long established that Riyadh’s authority holds NOT a candle to Yemen’s independence.
Appoint al-Saud may, and appoint al-Saud most certainly will, but Yemen will still walk its own political path, heeding not the folly of kings.
Abu Dhabi is not exactly pleased with Riyadh’s newest decision. The return into the scene of a member of the Muslim Brotherhood quite simply infuriated the UAE – especially since it spent so much of its own resources getting rid of it in the first place.
The Saudi crown prince reportedly travelled to the UAE to mend fences with the ruling elite … How Emirates will play this new upset is anyone’s guess, but Abu Dhabi’s distaste for the Brotherhood could prove too much of a betrayal to smooth over.
Or could it be that Saudi Arabia played its last card: abandoning Yemen to the fury of radicalism to better crush those who dared opposed its rule?
There is no real ceasefire in Yemen, only the illusion of a political respite.
By Catherine Shakdam – This article appeared first in the American Herald Tribune