Syria and Yemen, the war of negotiations

There have been moments of tension over negotiations between warring parties in Yemen and Syria...

Mashari Althaydi
Mashari Althaydi
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There were moments of tension witnessed this week over negotiations between warring parties in Yemen and Syria. There is a regional and international “season” to launch a political path to address crises, which have escalated into wars.

While analyzing Syria and Yemen’s crises, and the indicators of optimism and pessimism, one sometimes becomes a “pessoptimist,” as late Palestinian author Emile Habibi puts it. The Kuwait peace talks on Yemen are supposed to succeed at renewing political dialogue after more than a year of war.

The Houthis realized that they cannot impose their revolutionary Zaidi “regime” with that Khomeini touch after the international community rejected that and after the Arabs, led by Saudi Arabia, rejected that plan and responded to it via an international authorization and through the Decisive Storm Operation.

The Houthis’ language changed during the Kuwait peace talks as Mohammad Abdelsalam, its spokesman and head of the negotiating delegation to Kuwait, attacked Iran and commended Saudi Arabia via statements made to the press.

While analyzing Syria and Yemen’s crises, and the indicators of optimism and pessimism, one sometimes becomes a “pessoptimist,” as late Palestinian author Emile Habibi puts it

Mshari al-Thaydi

Yemen’s Foreign Affairs Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Abdel Malek al-Mekhlafi said: “If the Houthis hand over their weapons, they will be partners with us in the political process in the country.” Abdelsalam agreed to that and specified agreeing to hand over of heavy weapons.

Of course Houthi militias are committing military and security violations in Yemen, particularly in Taiz. However forces loyal to ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh are committing even more violations sometimes.

The Houthis may be maneuvering politically but this is not important when it comes to the realistic language of politics. Results on the ground and not intentions are what matter. The situation calls for remaining vigilant and providing guarantees.
Perhaps these changes are what made United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed recently say, before the UN Security Council, that Yemen is today closer to peace than any time ever.

On Syria, Special Envoy to the country, Staffan De Mistura, is fighting to build common grounds for negotiations between Assad regime and the opposition. This common ground is originally available through the UN Security Council Resolution 2254. The Assad regime refuses to respond to its content to aid citizens and liberate prisoners, particularly women and children. The regime is stalling via Bashar al-Jaafari’s verbal artillery.

The major problem during the Geneva negotiations is the fate of Bashar al-Assad and his regime. The opposition and its supporters insist that departure of Assad is the minimum condition for the start of discussions on Syria’s future. Meanwhile, Assad and Russia continue to create confusion on this point by resorting to the trick of “leaving this matter to the Syrian people so they can freely decide”.

Verbal wars are sometimes more difficult than wars of the artillery.

This article was first published by Asharq al-Awsat on April 18, 2016.
Saudi journalist Mshari Al Thaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Al Thaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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