Hadi's presidency was supposed to be transitional, lasting for a year and a half, but it lasted ten years, as a result of the Houthis seizing power. During the Riyadh Conference for Yemeni Dialogue, President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi announced, at dawn yesterday, a presidential council with a new president.
The step marks an important development; first, because it is not a formality, nor is it one of the verbal outcomes of the dialogue. The president has handed over, practically, all his powers, and the government now includes most of the Yemeni parties.
Perhaps it is the spirit of the recent developments, the battles in which fighters from different Yemeni parties participated, and achieved victories that surprised al-Houthi, who thought he was about to deal the final blow and seize vital areas. The change also reflects acclimatizing to the conditions within the camp.
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It is true that Yemen has been under the control of the Houthi coup militia since 2015, but we can also say that the Yemenis, despite everything, continue to oppose the Houthis and take up arms against them. And if the legitimate government lacks capabilities, and is distant, on its own territory, we must not forget that the Houthi group, in spite of the violence and abuse it practices against the population, is incapable of creating a Yemeni state.
It is a force without legitimacy, and a besieged territory by land, sea and air, that still requires United Nations permission for every incoming ship and plane.
Certainly, the goal of the Yemenis is not merely to prevent the establishment of the “Houthi Yemeni state,” but to get rid of the Iranian proxy and restore the state.
The seven bloody years have taught us that only Yemenis will liberate Yemen, and they, together, are capable of defeating the Iranian-backed militia. The new step remedies the wounds of Yemenis in the opposition, and achieves necessary consensus. The eight-member presidential leadership council, along with its 50 fifty advisors, reflect the Yemeni spectrum that has always been present and not represented.
This consensus between the Yemenis in Riyadh, and the major concessions made by President Hadi, give a clear message in the face of regional changes, even in the event that an Iranian agreement was reached with the West that Yemen will only be for all Yemenis and not for the Iranian camp.
This broad conference, impressively engineered, was witnessed and attended by envoys from the UN, the United States, Britain, France and other concerned powers. It is important to remember that it took place after a long journey last year in pursuit of a peaceful solution.
The Houthis were offered an opportunity for a long truce, and they rejected it, and an invitation was extended to them to participate in the negotiations in Saudi Arabia, and they rejected it. Riyadh proposed a peaceful solution recognizing the Houthis and their role as a Yemeni component participating in government, but they refused and demanded full control of the government.
When they were again approached to lift their blockade on sea and airports in return for parallel peaceful gestures, they responded by firing missiles at Saudi Arabia. Even at this conference, an invitation was sent to them and they declined. The peaceful attempts proved to the world that the war was not the choice of the Yemeni legitimacy and the coalition, except because the Iranian proxy rejects all other options.
As for the war front, the torrent of drones, Iranian cross-border ballistic missiles, the battles of Marib and Taiz, the threat to international shipping, and the detention of Western hostages, have all failed in imposing concessions on the Yemenis, the Saudis, and the coalition. The Yemenis did not surrender, nor did they despair, nor did any of them raise the white flag or withdraw. The Saudi-led coalition did not abandon them, despite Western pressures, Iranian threats, and obstruction of the military supplies.
Yes, al-Houthi has been in Sanaa for seven years, but he is isolated from the world. Today, he watches from afar the representatives of the overwhelming majority of the Yemeni people, united and in agreement, and he is unable to stop the war on him, or lift the siege on him, and he is also unable to advance politically by an iota, because the decision is not in the hands of its leader, Abd al-Malik or his comrades, but rather in Tehran, which considers Yemen among its regional bargains.
The development that was born in the Riyadh dialogue between Yemenis and its outcomes, and the new formulation of Yemen’s collective presidency, means the opposition’s rejection of the “Houthi reality” and the resumption of the task of liberating Yemen. The war in Yemen remains a case of sad and painful from the repercussions of the 2011 chaos that led to collapses and wars in Syria, Libya and Yemen, all of which are not over yet. The recent broad Yemeni consensus gives new hope that it will lead to an outcome that restores peace to the country.
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