Save your judgment until after Hodeidah’s liberation
The liberation of Hodeidah from the Houthis by Yemeni government forces backed by the Arab coalition has begun.
For more than three years, the militia has refused to comply with UN Security Council Resolution 2216, which states that it should withdraw from the territory it has occupied, hand over heavy and medium weapons and accept the political process.
Those who emboldened the Houthi leaders have never taken positive steps to stop their coup, prevented the group from looting humanitarian aid, or presented any real plan for solving the crisis of the Yemeni people and its government.
Three UN envoys have tried to find a solution with the Houthis without any success. And paying so much attention to a terrorist group is not right. A terrorist militia should be forced to comply with UN resolutions, but instead it is being appeased. How many times have they asked for a dialogue without any end result? Perhaps more than a dozen.
The Arab coalition has accepted that, to help the Yemeni people after three years of suffering in the city and port of Hodeidah, it had to take action and move to stop the crisis.
The Houthis were, as usual, stalling for time and deceiving UN envoy Martin Griffiths by claiming they were ready to withdraw from Hodeidah, while on other occasions they claimed they would accept Resolution 2216. Previously, the Arab coalition had suggested it should manage the port, under observation by the UN, but that offer was not accepted. Now, after discovering all the Houthi lies, the Yemeni government has started the Hodeidah operation.
We know that this province is 17,500 square kilometers, with 300 kilometers of coastline, and has a population of more than 2 million. A large province like Hodeidah needs urgent liberation to enable its people to resume the peaceful, normal lives they have been deprived of by the Houthi occupation. The Houthis use this port to smuggle weapons along the coastline. They have imposed taxes on fishermen, prevented humanitarian relief from reaching those in need and looted it, then sold the aid to the citizens of the province. They stole everything and forced the people of Hodeidah to fight with them, using their families as human shields, and hiding weapons in their houses, among civilians. They laid mines extensively and the city became a ghost town. The citizens should be enjoying the sea and normal life instead of being victimized by thugs who are stealing and killing people without consequence.
Nobody is better placed to take care of the Yemeni people than its legitimate government and its neighbors, who have supported Yemen for more than 50 years and hosted and provided work for millions of its people.
Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri
While life in Hodeidah and other occupied cities like Sanaa and Saada is so bad, is it wise to let this militia, which represents less than 3 percent of the Yemeni people, carry on day after day and cause more chaos? It is only because of the Arab coalition that many Yemeni territories have already been liberated, including Aden and its port. And there is no comparison between how people are living there and what life is like in Hodeidah.
What we want to say to the whole world is that nobody is better placed to take care of the Yemeni people than its legitimate government and its neighbors, who have supported Yemen for more than 50 years and hosted and provided work for millions of its people. Those neighbors never eyed up Yemeni territory like Iran and the Houthis have. Tehran and the militia group have now started a genocidal war against the whole country, besides targeting Saudi Arabia with more than 150 ballistic missiles. The fact that a terrorist militia has an arsenal of arms and ballistic missiles is a big threat to Saudi Arabia’s stability and a big threat to international navigation.
If we really care about the Yemeni people, we have to liberate them from the Houthi clutches. If we want a future for Yemen and its people, let us get rid of terrorist militias and work together. People should save their judgments until after’s Hodeidah liberation.
• Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri is a political analyst and international relations scholar.