The Houthis in Yemen have reportedly written a letter to UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon expressing commitment to a Muscat-brokered seven-point peace plan which includes a ceasefire, the withdrawal of militias from occupied cities, as well as the return of the capital Sana’a to government control.
The letter comes amidst continued fighting in Taiz and Ma’rib as the Arab coalition continues its campaign to restore President Abd Rabo Mansour Hadi’s government. Reports have been conflicted with resistance fighters claiming victory in Taiz whilst the Houthis have claimed that they have opened new fronts. Regardless, this letter may well be a major step in resolving the Yemen crisis.
Rumours have been circulating of decreasing support for the movement from Iran which has irked many Houthi supporters on social media. Nevertheless, skepticism remains as analysts suggest this may well be a PR campaign to present to the world that it is the government that refuses peace talks, an argument that has been constantly repeated by Houthi spokesmen.
Attack on the government
The Yemeni government led by Prime Minister Khaled Bahah were subject to an attack which the UAE claimed was conducted by the Houthis. ISIS however have since claimed that they perpetrated the attack using suicide bombers.
Brief: Why is Yemen in a state of war?
- The Houthis are a tribe in the North of Yemen. They have a history of warring with the government, with the latter engaging the former six times under the previous regime.
- Despite these wars, the Houthis are in alliance with the very President who led these campaigns against them; Ali Abdullah Saleh.
- The Houthis entered the Northern cities of Jawf and Amran under the pretext of fighting terrorism. This, they claimed, meant defeating the Islah Party, seen as the Yemeni equivalent of the Muslim Brotherhood and staunch political opponents of the Houthis.
- The Houthis marched on Sana’a, declaring support for the large protests against President Hadi over fuel prices and living costs.
- The Houthis entered the capital and placed the president under house arrest. The President later fled to Aden.
- The Houthis continued to expand to Taiz and Al-Daali’ in the South. Fighter planes were sent to bombard the presidential palace in Aden.
- President Hadi subsequently fled and an Arab alliance was declared under Operation ‘Decisive Storm’ as Arab forces began bombarding Houthi positions to prevent the fall of Aden, seen as the last bastion of defence.
- Saudi Arabia states that it wants to force the Houthis into genuine discussions with the government. They believe that the group are backed by Iran and fear an establishing of a pow
(Picture courtesy of Abu Bakr al-Shamahi)