Giving Yemen a break

Supporters of the Shiite Houthi group shout slogans during a rally in Sanaa, Yemen (File)

Bikram Vohra comments on the situation in Yemen for Asian Lite News

Supporters of the Shiite Houthi group shout slogans during a rally in Sanaa, Yemen (File)
Supporters of the Shiite Houthi group shout slogans during a rally in Sanaa, Yemen (File)

Yemen needs a breather. Let’s just have that 15 day proposed ceasefire. Even the rebels have to see the sense of it. What are you fighting about if there is nothing left to fight over. The systematic destruction of a country leaves no winners, only ruins. However, at this juncture the call by president Hadi that all Houthis should withdraw from government installations and also leave any strongholds they have established in cities and provinces could be a stumbling block.

The same leadership two weeks ago dismissed the five day humanitarian aid gesture initiated by Saudi Arabia to bring succour to the civilian population. One cannot see the Houthi commanders backing off so totally even though they have been pushed out of Aden (except for pockets of resistance) and the pressure is upon them. A dramatic change of heart in so short a time is the realm of a very high hope.

Perhaps it might be more salutary to ensure the ceasefire as a first step and when the guns are silenced and some food and medical supplies allowed to enter the battered country.

The other factor that needs to be taken into consideration is the possibility of booby trapping constructions and leaving behind suicide squads and militant platoons that would use the 15 day truce to their advantage. It also gives a sizeable period for the militants to regroup and replenish their weaponry.

So, just the call for a limited truce is unlikely to reap much benefit with riders that call for a withdrawal but indicate that after two weeks the assaults on the same regions and urban enclaves can begin again.

These calls to the UN should now be raised to the level of a permanent peace and the time element discarded.

Even it was agreed to there would be so many violations in the fifteen days that the truce would most likely collapse.

Perhaps by removing the 15 day clause and demanding a full time peace the Hadi government will get across to Abdullah Saleh and his army a more meaningful message that echoes the UN Security Council resolution to end the fighting and sit down at the table to negotiate.

Over fifty years ago John F Kennedy said let us never negotiate out of fear but let us never fear to negotiate. That statement holds so true now and would give Yemen the break it so richly deserves.

In the final analysis the one good thing that would come out any move towards silencing the guns is the succour that would be made available to the suffering people.