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Humanitarian Organizations Impede the Liberation of Yemen

Al-Sharq al-Awsat, London, April 14

Last December, the world celebrated the alleged agreement in Stockholm, Sweden, signed between the legitimate Yemeni government and the Houthi rebels. Everyone in the room cheered, but the Yemeni people knew that this agreement was a farce. It achieved nothing other than provide the rebels with control over the port city of Hodeida and enable them to strengthen their defenses and refill their ranks. Although the stated objective of the agreement was to protect civilians in Hodeida, the Yemeni government confirmed that the number of ceasefire violations since December 18 has exceeded 2,085, resulting in some 126 deaths and 636 injuries, including to women and children. The city, which the UN envoy to Yemen and Britain’s foreign secretary described as “destroyed,” has become full of gunpowder and child fighters. The Houthis have used the Stockholm gift to reinforce their men in new areas of control, plant land mines, deploy Iranian-made weapons, dig trenches and bunkers, and chase opponents in the city. Had the original military liberation of Hodeida gone through as planned, the people would have been living in peace. The number of victims of the liberation of Hodeida would have been less than the victims of the Stockholm gift to the Houthis. Western leaders have been duplicitous in their stance on this current crisis. Instead of taking action against the Houthis they simply issued empty statements calling to end the violence. But statements are one thing; action is another. The biggest mistake was to capitulate to the demands of the Houthis instead of fighting them. By accepting one truce after another, the international community enabled the Houthi militias to retain their weapons and establish firm control over large swaths of land. The human rights abuses committed by the Houthis have long exceeded those committed by the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. Yet the international community has been forgiving of these crimes. The only way to end the war in Yemen is to unequivocally block Iran’s expansion into the Gulf and to fight its proxy, the Houthis, with an iron fist.  – Hamdan al-Ali