The Houthi rebels are responsible for killing more than 10,000 people and have pushed Yemen to the brink of famine and poverty. Though they have been losing their ground due to US and Saudi-led Coalition forces they are continuing to receive tremendous support from Iran in terms of finance, military personnel, and weapons.
In a recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo compared the records of both countries in Yemen. “Iran has no interest in easing Yemeni suffering; the mullahs don’t even care for ordinary Iranians. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has invested billions to relieve suffering in Yemen. Iran has invested zero,” Pompeo wrote.
And in an ironic turn of events, Houthi’s have postured themselves as proponents of peace ahead of talks this week in Sweden. The Houthis will attend U.N.-sponsored peace talks in Sweden this week aimed at ending Yemen’s nearly seven-year-old war.
Prior to the meet, the Houthi’s have demanded that “The UN should make certain preparations by the date [December 6], they are connected with the arrival of the delegation from Sanaa to Sweden in terms of providing the aircraft, permit and guarantees of security for the delegation, transportation of those wounded and other things,” the member of the political bureau of the Ansar Allah Houthi organization Fadl Abu Talib said.
Peace talks are likely to take place in Stockholm in the coming days. Despite Houthi provocations, Saudi Arabia agreed in November to allow the evacuation of 50 wounded Houthi fighters “for humanitarian considerations and as part of confidence-building measures” ahead of the talks, spokesman Turki al-Malki said in a statement. A U.N. commercial plane with three doctors will land in the Houthi-held capital Sanaa on Monday and transport them to Oman.
Experts are sceptical about this meet as a previous round of discussions between Houthis and Yemen had collapsed earlier last year.
Countries in the MENA region will not be convinced by the hypocrisy of either. Short of Iran abandoning its expansionist designs and its use of its Houthi proxies to carry out its destabilising plans, experts believe Yemen’s tragedy could unfortunately continue.