Peace at Last for Yemen?
Ending Yemen's bloody civil war is critical first and foremost for the country's long-suffering people. But a peace deal would also serve as a confidence-building step toward stability in the Middle East, and would send a positive signal at a time of increasing international friction and polarization.
PARIS – The long-running conflict in Yemen is riper for resolution than ever before. Yemenis on all sides are exhausted by the fighting and were quick to embrace the appeal issued in March by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres for a global ceasefire amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The following month, the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen announced a two-week unilateral ceasefire, which it subsequently extended.
The warring parties have already made significant progress toward a ceasefire agreement, in negotiations brokered by the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths. Furthermore, the separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC), which is backed by the United Arab Emirates, agreed in June to resume talks with Yemen’s Saudi-backed government, thereby ending the fighting in Abyan, Shabwa, and Socotra provinces.
Iran, which supports the rebel Houthi movement (formally known as Ansar Allah, or Supporters of God), has no strategic reason to stand in the way of an agreement. Critically, although international powers including the United States, Russia, China, India, and leading European states are struggling to cooperate over Yemen, they are unlikely to obstruct progress toward ending the fighting.