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Important not to lose sight of the objective in Yemen

What matters amid all this is maintaining focus on the objectives defined for the Operation Decisive Storm

Mashari Althaydi

Published: Updated:

United Nations special envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, announced a 72-hour ceasefire in the country that began shortly before midnight on Wednesday.

The most noticeable thing was its approval by the legitimate government in Yemen. Foreign Minister Abdulmalik Abduljalil al-Mekhlafi informed Ould Cheikh that they approve of a 72-hour ceasefire with the possibility of it being extended, if the other party adheres to it and lifts the siege of Taiz.

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir confirmed that Saudi Arabia is willing to accept the ceasefire if Houthi militias agree to it. Jubeir’s reservations were justified considering the track record of the Houthi militias and supporters of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh and the extent of their commitment to the truce, which they have violated in the past.

What matters amid all this is maintaining focus on the objectives defined for the Operation Decisive Storm. The operation was launched for and continues to tirelessly work to restore international legitimacy as represented by UN Security Resolution 2216.

It is important to keep this in mind considering attempts being made to overlook it. This was also the objective behind the Gulf imitative and national reconciliation in Yemen. The London Quartet on Yemen also adhered to the same objective.

Saudi Arabia is not alone in this fight in Yemen neither did it decide to fight on its own. The country has a legitimate international and regional cover which Saleh continuously seeks to ignore as he sees the entire situation as if it is a personal problem with Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia has a legitimate international and regional cover which Saleh continuously seeks to ignore as he sees the entire situation as if it is a personal problem with the country

Mshari al-Thaydi

Houthis in power

Whether the truce stands or not, and whether the western influence succeeds in bringing coalition air strikes to a halt, and ends the conflict, the objective must remain the same i.e. we must not accept a Houthi state in south of Saudi Arabia as it threatens the Saudi and Gulf security.

The idea is not to neutralize the Houthi identity – which is aided by Ali Abdullah Saleh, the vengeful former president – but to prevent them from imposing tyranny on Yemen as this poses a threat to the region.

Few days ago, Abbas Araghchi, Iran’s deputy foreign minister, reportedly said on state television that Iran’s intervention in Yemen is part of the essence of “Iranian values.”

He was responding to the US Secretary of State John Kerry’s reprimand over Iran’s interference in the region. Araghchi is reported to have said that the nuclear agreement did not include the subject of “interference”.

Whatever the situation may be, it is not possible to co-exist with the Houthis as neighbors and in control of the authority on Yemen. The rest are only matters of detail.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on Oct. 19, 2016.
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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.