Yemen is in the grip of its most severe crisis in years, as a Saudi-led air campaign against the Iranian-backed Houthis enters its third month, with no end to the conflict in sight. Civilian casualties continue to mount, the internally displaced population grows, and Yemen’s already weak infrastructure teeters on the verge of collapse.
Amid the chaos and suffering of the ongoing war, what are the prospects for a political solution to the conflict? Is either side prepared to make concessions in order to end the violence? What role can the international community play in resolving the crisis, and how has the current conflict exacerbated Yemen’s multitude of internal challenges, from a fraught political transition to the al-Qaeda insurgency?
In an analysis of the event on peacefare.net, Eddie Grove discussed the conflicting perspectives on Yemen by panelists Abdul-Ghani Al-Iryani and Fahad Nazer, stating, “Nazer emphasized the Saudi view that the Houthis represent Iranian encroachment into Saudi Arabia’s backyard, while Al-Iryani expressed the view that the Houthis’ concerns are mainly domestic and that links between Iran and the Houthis are tenuous.” Moving forward, Al-Iryani believes that the Saudis should enter into negotiations with the Houthis and stop military intervention immediately. Nazer, on the other hand, does not believe that the Houthis would settle for control only of the historic Zaydi lands, ruling negotiations futile.
The discussion was referenced by Barbara Slavin in her article, “Glimmer of Hope for Yemen, Gloom Elsewhere in the Middle East.”
Moderator: Stephen Seche, Executive Vice President, Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington
Abdul-Ghani Al-Iryani, President of the democracy organization TAWQ; Vice President of the Yemen-based development think tank the Khobara Center
Fahad Nazer, Political Analyst with the intelligence consultants JTG, Inc.