Experts: no military solution to war in Yemen, proxy war must end

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The Euro-Mediterrnaen Human Rights Monitor hosted a webinar to discuss the EU’s approach to the war in Yemen. The webinar was moderated by Muhammad Shehada, Head of Programs and Communications of Euro-Med Monitor, and was kicked off with remarks from Abdul Galil Shaif, President of Friends of South Yemen. “The war in Yemen is not necessarily a war between Yemenis, it is also a regional and international proxy war on Yemeni soil. There is no military soul to this conflict, otherwise the continuation of the war will only increase the suffering of the Yemeni people.

“The approach should also focus on economic pressure and targeted pressure on elites benefiting from war. It is true that the only beneficiaries of this war were the Houthis. The EU has a vital role to play in the peace process by proposing new initiatives to end the war in Yemen and succeed where others have failed. “

Shaif presented a plan to end the war in Yemen, which has three phases, which ends with a memorandum in which Yemenis decide whether they want a two-region system with the same foreign policy and the same defense policies or a two-state solution as it was. the case before 1990.

The first step (2021-2022), noted Shaif, aims to achieve a permanent ceasefire and should include the imposition of sanctions on anyone who profits from the war. Economic development must replace humanitarian aid in the northern and southern regions.

The second stage (2022-2025) proposes a solution to two regions: one region in the north and the other in the south, each with its own parliament, its political parties, its executives, its ministries, its legislative and judicial powers, its budget. , its internal security forces and police. A central administration will be responsible for defense, foreign policy and the allocation of a fair share of national revenues to the two regions.

As for the third stage (2025-2030), a national referendum, one in the north and one in the south, would be organized to decide whether or not to opt for two independent states (as was the case before 1990) or to continue. with the two-region solution.

Saul J. Takahashi, professor of human rights and peace studies at Osaka Jogakuin University, Osaka, Japan and a former United Nations official, who lived in Palestine for five years in as deputy head of the office of the United Nations Human Rights Agency, joined the discussion. Takahashi noted that the war in Yemen is not a humanitarian crisis, but more than anything a “human rights crisis”. He added that civilian objects should never be targeted and that even when targeting combatants, possible loss of life should be balanced against military advantage. “The solution must be a political solution guaranteeing justice and respect for human rights. The conflict in Yemen has been characterized by these blatant violations of humanitarian law. “

“The EU has provided arms to the parties to the conflict which are used to violate the laws relating to war. These states have a responsibility under international law. The Arms Trade Treaty, which entered into force in 2014 and has been ratified by all EU member states, suggests that the EU should know how the arms it sold to a third country world are used in the biggest crime against humanity on record. . It is no longer possible to deny what is happening in Yemen.

Takahashi also called for ensuring that the laws surrounding war are respected, and how difficult it is to argue that these laws are valued when weapons are used to violate human rights in countries like the Yemen. Takahashi concluded with the need for companies to ensure that no manufactured weapon is used to violate human rights.
François Burgat is a political scientist and Arabist, former director of the French Center for Archeology and Social Sciences in Sanaa (CEFAS 1997-2003). Burgat spoke about the role of the EU in Yemen and the responsibility of EU member states involved in the war.

Burgat noted that the conflict in Yemen has internationalized at regional and global levels. It is known locally in Yemen that the Houthis feel they have not obtained their fair share of power. Saleh suppressed the Houthi rebellion. It is important to say that pre-MBS Saudi Arabia, if not fully supported, has not moved against the Houthis heading for Sana’a. “Because the Houthis were going to diminish the importance of Mansour Hadi’s followers of Islah.”

Internally, more or less, with the activity of the Emiratis, there will be another front called North-South, in addition to Al-Qaeda whose central state is weak.
The internationalization of the conflict occurred in 2015 when the Saudis and Emaratis formed a coalition in Yemen. This was partly linked to MBS, who wanted to appear as a strong man. Saudi influence in Yemen is both financial and religious. The Emirati has joined a strange program. The UAE royal family was originally in Yemen and funded by the Marib Dam. Observers believe the Emiratis want to reclaim their empire which is larger than the tiny desert emirates. There is a kind of imperialist attitude present in the UAE from 2015 to the present day.

He concluded that the EU and the US supported the Saudi-Emirati coalition in Yemen for two reasons; one is that they have money to buy weapons and the second is that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are associated with a regional bloc which was anti-revolutionary after the Arab Spring. It also includes Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, which meets the expectations of some of the regimes in Europe which have right-wing ideology.

“The maritime embargo imposed on the North is the main reason for the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen today.”

Hans Lammerant, is a lawyer and researcher at the Belgian organization for peace Vredesactie (Peace Action). He shed light on the arms trade based on his involvement in strategic litigation against arms exports. “The reality is that Saudi Arabia and other countries began to intervene in Yemen from 2015, and the truth is that these countries would not do so without being able to re-energize their military capacities through international trade” , he noted.

“Saudi Arabia has a military budget similar to that of Russia and the UK, but the big difference is that Russia mainly has an internal military industry, while Saudi Arabia needs to resourcing its military from outside. , which means that the countries that sell them arms have great influence over them and greater responsibility.

Lammerant noted that when looking at arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which are the two main military players in Yemen, their arms come from the UK, France and the United States. In addition, some parts of combat aircraft used during the war are manufactured in France, Spain and the United Kingdom, and the selling countries still play a role in the maintenance of these aircraft. The Saudi pilots were trained in the UK, he added.

He concluded that the current form of the blockade violated international humanitarian law.

There was general agreement among speakers that there is no military solution to the conflict in Yemen and that only Yemenis can achieve a settlement of the ongoing conflict without international intervention.

The webinar is part of Euro-Med Monitors’ efforts to highlight the ongoing conflict in Yemen, which in recent days has claimed the lives of hundreds of Yemenis following the outbreak of fighting around M’arib. This is part of Euro-Med Monitor’s job to denounce parties to the conflict and come up with a plan to bring peace to Yemen, which has been at war for years.

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