Yemenis mull prospects for peace in 2020

1 / 2
Life has been hard since war first erupted in late 2014 and Yemenis are hoping this year would bring peace and relief from the hardships the conflict has wrought. (AFP)
2 / 2
A Yemeni competes in a local camel race on the outskirts of Yemen’s second city of Aden. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 14 January 2020

Yemenis mull prospects for peace in 2020

  • The majority of Yemenis seek peace and security since they were affected by the war

AL-MUKALLA/YEMEN: Abu Saleh, a 30-year-old barber, has one wish for the new year: That the continuing cycle of violence that started when the Iran-backed Houthis seized power in late 2014 comes to an end, and that peace and stability prevail in Yemen.
“When the war stops, the currency will recover, people will receive their salaries and we’ll work,” Abu Saleh, who prefers to be known by his nickname, told Arab News.
In 2019, fighting largely decreased on major battlefields across Yemen as the UN-brokered Stockholm Agreement between the internationally recognized government and the Houthis managed to defuse a major military offensive aimed at Hodeidah city on the Red Sea.
Saudi Arabia also brokered a power-sharing deal between the Yemeni government and the Southern Transitional Council.
But the economic crisis persisted as the Yemeni riyal continued to plunge, pushing up fuel and food prices. Abu Saleh’s job has been greatly affected by the war, and he has had to work from morning to late evening to make ends meet.
“I’m not educated, but I can tell you that things would be better if peace prevails,” he said with a smile as he was cutting a child’s hair.
When he travels from the city of Al-Mukalla in Hadhramaut governorate, which is under government control, to the Houthi-controlled northern governorate of Ibb, he passes through contested areas where warring factions stop him for questioning.
“We don’t want anyone to give us money or jobs. We want peace. Yemenis are resilient, used to hardships, and don’t depend on their government,” Abu Saleh said.
This year, he hopes to finish building his house in Ibb, where his large family lives. “I’m the breadwinner for 17 people. Life is tough, and people who see me smiling think I’m happy,” he said.
Aisha Al-Juaidy, a Yemeni human rights and peace activist, seems more positive about 2020. This month she will settle in Cairo, where she will pursue her life’s dream of studying political science.
“I hope the war stops, airports reopen and normal life is restored,” she told Arab News. “My generation was raised with this crisis.”

We don’t want anyone to give us money or jobs. We want peace. Yemenis are resilient, used to hardships, and don’t depend on their government.

Abu Saleh, a Yemeni national

Al-Juaidy dreams of seeing her country as peaceful, prosperous and stable as other countries. She blames foreign interference for the exacerbation of violence in Yemen.
“I hope external interventions are directed in the interest of the country. All parties should realize the scale of war losses, and should work together to stop it,” she said. “I hope there will be real opportunities for women and youth for peacemaking.”
In November 2019, the Saudi-led coalition released 200 Houthis to boost peace efforts. The Houthis reciprocated by releasing six Saudis in December.
Qayes Al-Dowani, a teacher from the village of Sah in Hadhramaut, who watched the prisoner exchange, hopes for a wider settlement that could end the war. “It seems there’s a common desire to stop the war, which has exhausted the people,” he told Arab News.
In Switzerland, Nabel Al-Osaidi, a member of the Yemen Union Syndicate Council who left Yemen in 2015, seems less optimistic about an outright halt to hostilities in 2020.
He said the crisis is complicated, and without an agreement between non-Yemeni players, the country will not be stable.
“The war has exhausted Yemenis, raised poverty rates, and spread dangerous diseases and famine. The majority of Yemenis seek peace and security since they were affected by the war,” he added.
In Aden, Yemeni Prime Minister Maeen Abdul Malik Saeed said he hopes 2020 will witness the end of the Houthi coup and the fixing of services in government-controlled areas.
“We are confidently looking forward to 2020 as the year of the great victory for Yemen and its people ending the coup, and the restoration of the state,” he wrote in an op-ed published on Thursday.


Egypt footballer gets harassed for sharing photo with his 3-year-old girl

Updated 37 min 9 sec ago

Egypt footballer gets harassed for sharing photo with his 3-year-old girl

CAIRO: An Egyptian footballer has threatened to sue Instagram users who sent abusive messages this week over photos of himself and his three-year-old daughter.
The incident involving Amre Soulia, a player at Al-Ahly football club, has caused a storm on social media in Egypt after comments on his photos triggered widespread anger over harassment.  
The player publicly called out a number of people who had harassed him and his daughter by sharing screenshots of their comments that mainly targeted what the young girl was wearing - a black T-shirt and jeans.
The player is seen holding his daughter’s hand while she smiles back at him.  

View this post on Instagram

my everything

A post shared by Amrelsoulia Official (@amrelsoulia) on


“May God save her for you … but I hope you make your daughter wear respectable clothes because you’re a respectful player,” one user wrote to Soulia.
Another user said: “Cover up your daughter, son, so that she grows to become one (who’s covered).”
Several other sexually-loaded remarks targeted the little girl, prompting the player to take legal action against them. 
“All legal measures were taken and a lawsuit was filed against anyone who insulted me or any member of my family,” Soulia wrote on his social media account. 
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Amrelsoulia Official (@amrelsoulia) on

The incident is the latest in Egypt, where sexual assault and harassment are deep-seated problems. 
Egyptian actor Sherif Mounir recently hit out at people who insulted his teenage daughters in a picture he shared of them on Instagram.