The conflict in Yemen erupted after Al Houthis, in December 2014, toppled the internationally-recognised government of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi and seized parts of the country, including the capital Sana’a.
On March 26, 2015, an Arab alliance led by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia, intervened in Yemen in response to a request from the government there after Iran-allied Al Houthis advanced on the southern city of Adan, the country’s provisional capital after the rebels’ overrunning of Sana’a.
“Yemenis’ suffering will continue as long as the world and the UN ignore the clear fact that Iran is the real player behind all these miseries.” – Adnan Mansour | Analyst
Iran fuelling the conflict
Four years later, there is no end in sight for the conflict mainly due to the world’s failure to put enough pressure on Iran to stop its support for Yemeni Al Houthi extremists, analysts have said.
“The Iranian regime continues to provide all types of weapons to Al Houthis in order to keep fighting against legitimacy troops and ensure that Tehran’s mullahs will have a strong foothold in Yemen,” said Adnan Mansour, a Yemeni political expert living in Cairo.
The war has pushed the country to the brink of starvation and spawned the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, according to the UN.
The government accuses Al Houthis of systematically destroying the country’s infrastructure facilities, including the public health system.
“This war will continue and Yemenis’ sufferings will continue as long as the world and the UN ignore the clear fact that Iran is the real player behind all these miseries,” Mansour told Gulf News.
“Iran is determined to expand its influence in the Arab region and extend it to Yemen after Syria and Lebanon through its proxies,” he added.
Arab nations have long complained of Iranian inteference in their domestic affairs as well as fomenting sectarian strife in the region.
Focus on Hodeida
Since it entered the war, the coalition was able to win back large swathes of territory from the militants, but main population centers remain under Al Houthi control.
A lightening offensive by Yemeni forces last year was able to liberate much of the Al Houthi-controlled territory along strategic Red Sea, but stopped just short of the Hodeida port, the main conduit for goods and aid.
International pressure was placed on Yemeni forces to pause their assault because of the major humanitarian concerns such a battle would have.
However, the government says Al Houthis are using the port to illegally smuggle in weapons from Iran to sustain their military efforts.
Nonetheless, government forces agreed to a halt their offensive, but reserved their right to resume it if peace talks fail.
However, the Sweden deal has since bogged down over Al Houthis’ refusal to withdraw from Hodeida and its three harbours as the deal stipulates.
“Iran has a hand in aborting the implementation of the Hodeida agreement,” Mansour said.
Al Houthis have recently boasted of their “stock of missiles” and threatened to attack Saudi Arabia if the Yemeni government forces resumed an offensive to liberate Hodeida.
The Red Sea city in west Yemen is strategically important because of its main port, through which most the poor country’s imports and humanitarian aid enter.
“The UN failure to put enough pressure on Al Houthi militias and their Iranian patrons harms credibility of the international organization and the agreements, which it meditates,” Mansour said.
“What is the use of peace agreements if they are not implemented?” he added.
Al Houthis not serious about peace
Over the past four years, UN efforts to end Yemen’s war have gone nowhere.
“Al Houthis have wasted several chances to peacefully settle the crisis, a matter that confirms they pursue a project, which they will not renounce,” said Hassan Abu Taleb, an expert at the Cairo-based Al Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies.
“The international community and the [UN] Security Council appear to have no clear vision about how to deal with Al Houthi movement,” he added.
Abu Taleb points to close links between the militant group and Iran.
“Years ago, Iran began its sectarian, cultural, educational, military and financial engagement in Al Houthi-majority areas. Young Al Houthis in Sa’ada [ the militant stronghold in North Yemen] often go to Iran where they receive training at institutions and camps,” he said.
In recent months, Al Houthis have stepped up their attacks with Iran-made missiles on neighbouring Saudi Arabia, which has announced backing for a peaceful solution to Yemen’s crisis.
Source » gulfnews