By 2014, when the Houthis’ insurgency surfaced, the Yemeni people had gone through a difficult time in which several things happened such as the long drawn out national dialogue with its unanimous results and the Gulf initiative that resulted in the resignation of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the election of Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi.
When these matters were underway, the Houthis had taken control of several provinces which are well known for their Zaidi majority. Supposedly after the election of Hadi, the army and the security services were to be restructured but that did not happen. What happened was that when Saleh decided to take the Houthis’ side, the army got divided, between the Republican Guard brigades and the new legitimacy.
As such, the Houthis managed to advance on the one hand, and Saleh brigades on the other. Consequently, Amran which used to be the protector of Sanaa fell. Then-international envoy Jamal Benomar convinced President Hadi that not everything has been lost and that a compromise could be reached between Saleh and the Houthis, on the one hand, and the legitimacy on the other. It was then revealed that the Houthis’ and Saleh’s brigades were still advancing towards the central governorates, reaching Aden and beyond, and towards the coasts between Ibb and Taiz and up to Hodeidah.
At the time, International Resolution No. 2216 that adopted the Gulf Initiative and the outcome of the national dialogue and that urged the militias to exit the cities and that called for disarming them and supporting legitimacy was issued.
President Hadi left Sanaa and took shelter in Saudi Arabia. He asked Gulf states to support the legitimacy and help enforce the international resolution to put an end to the rebellion. In addition to the Gulf countries’ interest in keeping the stability of Yemen, the Houthis had started attacking Saudi Arabia from the side of Jawf and Saada. They even thought about attacking from the side of Hadhramaut. Thus, since none of the senior members of the UN Security Council was willing to help legitimacy, the Arab Coalition that brought in both Egypt and Sudan to the Gulf countries, launched a military intervention in Yemen lasting to this day.
It is necessary to save the Yemeni people and to annihilate the Houthi rebellion or else Yemen will follow in the footsteps of Syria, Iraq and Lebanon as a result of Iran’s militiasRadwan al-Sayed
Why have we made this long revision of recent history? It is to highlight the fact that despite international resolutions against the rebellion and the imposition of sanctions against its individuals and entities, international parties, through the representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, have engaged in long discussions that equate between legitimacy and the rebels in terms of the importance of reaching a political solution through negotiations.
Ever since the beginning of the negotiation process in Kuwait until this day, the rebels have infiltrated and hit the Kingdom with rockets and killed, displaced and looted the Yemeni people like all militias do. The international political and humanitarian actors remained preoccupied with Yemenis, not with the Houthis who have besieged the civilians and killed them – they remained preoccupied with what the Houthis allege is happening to them due to the Coalition air force and the legitimacy forces.
The situation today, three years later, is much better. The Coalition forces have liberated all of southern Yemen and are about to liberate all the central provinces and most of the coast and the province of Hajjah. They are moving towards Saada after Al-Jawf governorate was liberated from the side of Al-Jawf and Hajjah.
The international and political uproar rose again when the legitimate forces tried to advance to liberate Hodeidah for these four goals: to expel the Houthis and their forces from Tihamah, to prevent any threat against international navigation in Bab al-Mandab, to restore the important port to the legitimacy and to liberate millions of Yemenis from the violations and exploitation of militias.
This uproar is justified as usual by claiming that civilians are in danger and that this aerial bombardment of the positions of the militias and their brigades is undermining institutions! These fake politicians and humanists did not say one word about Taiz, the home of one million citizens, and which is still besieged and whom thousands of its civilians have fallen.
Each time, when the charade of negotiations resurfaces, the legitimate forces and the Coalition are asked to stop fighting “to build confidence” and to ensure the success of this charade. Indeed, as Griffiths set the dates of September 6 and 7 for new negotiations, military pressure on Hodeidah decreased. The only difference this time is that the Kingdom and the UAE have rebuilt and armed the legitimate army, and the fighting against the rebels on other fronts and the coastal front will not stop, neither now nor during negotiations.
An ‘unfair’ report
Every time the humanists, the British, the French and the Germans complained, the coalition listened and the legitimacy listened and investigated the complaints and allowed delegations to check and investigate. However, the latest report is biased and unfair as it did not mention anything about the rocket attacks on the Kingdom or the tens of thousands of mines and missiles coming from Iran. The report did not shed light on the millions of besieged Yemenis and on the tens of thousands of child soldiers. It did not mention anything about the boastful attitude of Hezbollah’s Nasrallah and his militias and how they received a Houthi delegation.
It is necessary to save the Yemeni people and to annihilate the Houthi rebellion or else Yemen will follow in the footsteps of Syria, Iraq and Lebanon as a result of Iran’s militias. Let us not be fooled by the false cry that excludes the children of Yemen, its women, cities and facilities.
The militias should not have been recognized as a negotiating party, not only because of the serious damage they have caused to Yemen's security and stability, but also because the UN Resolution 2216 calls for their disarmament and for their forced withdrawal from Yemen’s cities and public institutions, and not to please them and encourage them to fight and kill the Yemenis!
This article is also available in Arabic.
Radwan al Sayed is a Lebanese thinker and writer who attained a bachelor degree from the Faculty of Theology at al-Azhar University and a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Tübingen in Germany. He has been a scholar of Islamic studies for decades and is the former editor-in-chief of the quarterly al-Ijtihad magazine. Radwan is also the author of many books and has written for Arab dailies such as al-Ittihad, al-Hayat and ash-Sharq al-Awsat.