World must unite to defeat Houthis and save Yemen
The brutal and vicious attack by the Houthis against the civilian airport in Aden last month, which killed at least 26 people and injured scores of others, while causing significant damage to that important facility and its surrounding areas, was an act of terrorism. It was a devastating blow to every sincere effort to end the civil war in Yemen by finding a political solution. Calls for the punishment of the Houthis are justified. However, more important for Yemen is the urgent need to eliminate the wicked influence of Iran in the country, which has thrown this nation of almost 30 million into a bloody quagmire of turmoil and instability.
The details of the Dec. 30 attack are horrific. There was an explosion as soon as a plane carrying the war-torn country’s recently formed government from Saudi Arabia landed at the airport. None of the Cabinet members were among the victims, but aid workers were hurt. However, this is just one part of a series of savagely cruel actions that the Houthis have inflicted on Yemen and its people since the beginning of the civil war in 2014.
The Riyadh Agreement of November 2019 carries significant political weight. It promises an end to the fighting and prepares Yemen for a better future. It creates a process of national reconciliation through the establishment of a power-sharing formula, the strengthening of the state’s institutions, the return of a number of politicians and leaders, official recognition of the forces loyal to the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Interior, and in having Saudi Arabia as the sponsor of its implementation. Its effectiveness is manifested in an accord between the government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and the Southern Transitional Council. No country can care for the well-being of Yemen without pointing to the relevance of the Riyadh Agreement, which laid the foundation for peace in the country.
Previously, the Houthis agitated to undermine the Stockholm Agreement that was signed in December 2018. It instituted a mechanism to deliver humanitarian aid to Hodeidah and its port, Taiz, and the ports of Salif and Ras Isa. The Houthis never honored that accord.
The Houthis have brought havoc to Yemen through their murderous acts of terrorism. Their madness has seen them terrify the populations of the areas they control, launch missile attacks against ships off the Yemeni coast, and bomb oil installations in Saudi Arabia.
The authority and wisdom of the Arab countries’ moderation stands clear regarding the strife in Yemen. The Houthis must be beaten back to ensure a better future for Yemen and the entire Middle East. The sanctions regimes on the Houthis have to change. They currently hold accountable only a few officials within this movement by freezing their financial assets and preventing transactions with them.
There will be more attacks similar to the Aden airport incident unless the Houthis’ weapons are confiscated.
But its military capabilities remain intact. This enables the Houthis to kill innocent people. Regrettably, there will be more attacks similar to the Aden airport incident unless the Houthis’ weapons are confiscated.
There is a necessity to initiate a strategic military order in Yemen to bring about conditions unfavorable to the survival of the Houthis. This could contain them and defeat them militarily. This should be followed by their retreat from the provinces they have seized.
While the Trump administration attempts to classify the Houthis as a terror group, the Biden transition team seems hesitant in that critical pursuit. This misrepresents who the Houthis are and denies their inhuman characteristics. The whole world must heed the call for the decisive defeat of the Houthis. Any other alternative would only deepen the agony of the millions of innocent people in Yemen.
- Maria Maalouf is a Lebanese journalist, broadcaster, publisher, and writer. She holds an MA in Political Sociology from the University of Lyon. Twitter: @bilarakib