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Daily News Analysis

Dim prospects for Geneva peace talks on Yemen

Crescent International

While unable to directly block UN-brokered peace talks on Yemen in Geneva that started today, the Najdi Bedouins, displaying childish behavior, forced the Egyptian regime to refuse permission for the plane carrying Yemeni representatives from flying over its territory. In the absence of Ansarullah and representatives of the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, the talks are bound to fail.

Geneva, Crescent-online
Monday June 15, 2015, 09:27 DST

As representatives of various political factions in Yemen gather today in Geneva for peace talks, the prospects do not look good. Unlike previously scheduled talks that failed (May 28), this time representatives from various Yemeni political factions were invited, including a delegation representing the Ansarullah movement, and former regime officials.

However, true to their disruptive nature, the Najdi Bedouins (aka as “Saudis”) have reportedly exerted pressure on the Egyptian regime to not allow the plane carrying delegations of various Yemeni parties to fly over its territory. The Yemeni representatives have been held up in Djibouti (planes cannot fly from Sana‘a because the Najdi Bedouins have destroyed much of the airport and its runways are unusable).

Despite the absence of major Yemeni political groups, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened the talks making an impassioned appeal for a two-week humanitarian pause in the war during the fasting month of Ramadan.

“I hope this week starts the beginning of the end of the fighting,” Ban stated today at the opening session of UN-sponsored peace talks in Geneva, Switzerland. Ramadan, the holy Muslim month should be a period for “harmony, peace and reconciliation,” he said. “I have emphasized the importance of another humanitarian pause for two weeks,” Ban added.

While any pause in fighting would help because ordinary Yemenis are suffering greatly, a two-week hiatus will not lead to peace. The UN has said that 12 million Yemenis are food deficient and 16 million do not have access to clean drinking water out of a total population of 23 million. The UN chief also failed to mention that the Najdis’ aggression against Yemen, a sovereign state and member of the UN, is illegal.

The Najdi Bedouins should be put on trial for war crimes. Prior to the start of “preliminary inclusive consultations” in Geneva, the UN peace envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed issued a statement calling on “Yemen’s political actors to participate in these consultations in good faith and without preconditions, and in a climate of trust and mutual respect.”

This may be a tall order as the Saudi-backed fugitive former president Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi continues to cling to the fiction that he is still the president despite resigning in February 2015. The earlier UN-brokered talks scheduled for May 28 collpased because Hadi refused to attend if the Houthis were present.

While this time, that ludicrous condition has been dropped—after all who would he hold the talks with if not one of the most important players (Ansarullah) in Yemen?—the Najdi Bedouins used their clout with the Egyptian Pharaoh, General Abdel Fattah el Sisi. They forced him to deny permission to the plane carrying Yemeni representatives to fly over Egyptian territory.

Unable to defeat the Ansarullah and their allies in battle, the Najdi Bedouins are determined to sabotage any political settlement. One wonders, what do they plan to achieve apart from digging themselves into a deeper hole.


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