The Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen declared the end of Operation Decisive Storm yesterday, to be replaced with Operation Renewal of Hope effective midnight. Although coalition spokesperson General Ahmed Asiri suggested on Sunday that a “next phase” of activities was imminent, yesterday’s developments still caught commentators surprised and scrambling to explain what the multilateral forces would now be seeking to achieve.
Emphasizing how the news caught so many observers off-guard, Yemen’s press attaché in Washington Mohammed Albasha noted soon afterwards on his personal Twitter account: “I will be honest, I have no idea what’s going on.” The editor of the Middle East Journal, Michael Collins Dunn, gave voice to further puzzlement on his blog: “Wait, What? They won? ... Something just happened, but I’m not sure what.”
Part of the confusion was fed by an announcement earlier on Tuesday by Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian that a “halt” to military operations would likely be reached “in the coming hours,” along with reports that former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s faction among the rebels was pushing hard for a ceasefire. Yet General Asiri insisted to the press that “we are not talking about a cease-fire,” pledging that Operation Renewal of Hope would still involve military action to prevent the Houthis “from moving or carrying out any operations inside Yemen.”
Much of the public debate over how to define the new campaign focused on making sense of the prior stage of hostilities. Gulf journalist Jamal Khashoggi suggested that operations would transition from targeting insurgent forces to instead rolling back their transgression against Yemen’s legitimate government.
One outcome that the first phase of operations did achieve was to impose a tight air and sea blockade against further Iranian weapons deliveries into Yemeni territory, something that has proven elusive in other regional conflicts fueled by Iranian support such as in Lebanon, Syria, or Iraq.
Perhaps emphasizing the importance of this development, White House spokesperson Joshua Earnest revealed on Monday that Iran was still seeking to supply weapons to Houthis in Yemen. Moving forward, coalition efforts to maintain the arms embargo may be aided by last week’s passage of U.N. Security Council Resolution 2216. Coalition officials announced on Tuesday that they would use the resolution to elicit greater external participation in the blockade.
نستخدم ملفات الكوكيز لنسهل عليك استخدام مواقعنا الإلكترونية ونكيف المحتوى والإعلانات وفقا لمتطلباتك واحتياجاتك الخاصة، لتوفير ميزات وسائل التواصل الاجتماعية ولتحليل حركة المرور لدينا...اعرف أكثر