Failure of a settlement in Hodeidah
Although the US government rejected an Emirati request to support the coalition a few days ago, according to the Washington Post, the airport and outskirts of Hodeidah have been seized by mixed Yemeni and coalition forces that numbered 21,000 fighters. Thousands of mines that were planted on the roads leading to the city and the port to block their advances are being cleared.
Luckily, Washington rejected the coalition’s request for aerial satellite imagery, surveillance and reconnaissance, and minesweeping. Otherwise, the US would have taken credit for the victories, turning them into a political game for the Trump administration.
Anyway, we note that, despite the coalition’s aerial activity, it made sure to spare the port and allowed activity there, even though Houthi fighters were present; and despite the ongoing fighting on the other side of the city, two ships unloaded the relief items they were carrying, and three other ships docked at the port before the eyes of the coalition forces.
So unless the Houthis surrender and hand over the port and what is left of the city — as roads are now open for them to ensure a safe exit — they will face the biggest human loss since the beginning of the war three years ago.
The coalition is determined to fully free the city of Hodeidah, its port and what is left of its province.
A defeat for the Houthis in Hodeidah is inescapable. However, the coalition’s leadership is not looking to win the battle while losing international public opinion, which has long been exposed to propaganda by groups attacking the coalition’s goals, trying to hinder its victories, and imposing a political solution that allows the Houthis to remain in power.
The Hodeidah battle is an opportunity for victory in Yemen. A victory over the rebellion that has ruined the country’s political activity and threatened the security of the region
This is the reason why the coalition accepted the UN special envoy’s request to give the Houthis an opportunity to withdraw before the assault on the airport, and agreed to stop its operations for 48 hours. But, when the militia rejected this opportunity, the airport was seized in about a day.
For this same reason, we see the coalition removing all the pretexts from international organizations and states that support Iran to accept giving the UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths another opportunity to reach a solution in Hodeidah, sparing human losses on all sides. Griffiths went to Sanaa carrying a proposal to the Houthis to withdraw from Hodeidah city, and hand over the port peacefully, in exchange for their safety and the delivery of relief items they receive through the port.
However, we are already aware that the Houthi leadership is very much like the leaderships of terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda and Daesh, which would rather see all their fighters killed than lose one of their locations.
They are ready to sacrifice their people, barricade themselves behind women and children, and to stand for as long as possible. The Houthis are a terrorist group par excellence and what they have done in Yemen is not much different from the things we have seen from Al-Qaeda, except that they do not use social media and television to announce their crimes.
The Hodeidah battle is an opportunity for victory in Yemen. A victory over the rebellion that has ruined the country’s political activity and threatened the security of the region.
We support the coalition in its decision not to give excuses to certain human rights organizations, and to give mediation an opportunity for a limited period to try and do what needs to be done without a fight, or at least abort all the pretexts of those opposing war.
- Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is a veteran columnist. He is the former general manager of Al Arabiya news channel, and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat.Twitter: @aalrashed