Wed 25-04-2018 09:42 AM

UAE Press: Al Houthis should choose peace now

ABU DHABI, 25th April, 2018 (WAM) -- Just more than three years ago, Al Houthi militias overthrew the legitimate government of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi in Yemen, throwing the country into deep crisis and conflict, one that has necessitated UN intervention through an international coalition led by Saudi Arabia and in which the UAE is playing a key part.

In an editorial today, Dubai-based newspaper Gulf News said that over these past three years, "Al Houthis have failed to take advantage of opportunities to negotiate a settlement to this crisis to spare our Arab brothers there from further suffering."

"Despite rounds of peace talks in Kuwait City and elsewhere, Al Houthis have resisted peace overtures and have continued their campaign that has left Yemen teetering on an abyss and its people in distress," it explained.

It added, "Late last Thursday, Saleh Al Sammad, president of the Al Houthi regime’s Supreme Political Council, was killed in the eastern province of Hodeida. Al Sammad was the second-highest Al Houthi official and his death is a huge blow to the leadership and ranks of the rebel militias, one that leaves a void that will be difficult to fill, given the weight of the international coalition aligned against it. He was an influential figure and was largely perceived as being the group’s president. His death effectively means that there is now a serious void in the senior leadership of the militias, and given the divisions and opposing factions that exist within, it is only a matter of time before the group becomes rudderless."

The paper went on to say that for the international coalition, which is acting on UN Security Council resolutions, and seeking to restore the legitimate government of President Hadi, Al Sammad’s demise is welcome news and a clear sign that this conflict will soon enter its final and decisive stage. "On the contrary, for Al Houthis, the killing of Al Sammad is a devastating blow, weakening their cause, exposing the divisions within and is a harbinger of their future. The air strike that targeted Al Sammad could have been based on key intelligence provided from within Al Houthi ranks, showing that disgruntlement is growing, doubts have arisen about their course and that the ranks are more divided than ever," it noted.

The editorial suggested that Al Sammad’s death marks a turning point and it is a time when what’s left of the Al Houthi leadership needs to plot its future carefully. "Now will be an opportune time to return to the negotiating table and begin a dialogue about Yemen’s future; or it can continue to be erased while inflicting more suffering on all Yemenis. The choice is obvious," it concluded.

WAM/Rasha Abubaker