The course of events in Yemen: eggs in the coalition basket

The Riyadh Agreement a stalemate at the boiling point
Dr. Ahmed Sinan
February 2, 2022

The course of events in Yemen: eggs in the coalition basket

The Riyadh Agreement a stalemate at the boiling point
Dr. Ahmed Sinan
February 2, 2022
Photo by: Hamza Mustafa © Khuyut

The Riyadh Agreement has turned into a political marathon with no end in sight. Since the agreement on a mechanism to speed up the implementation of its provisions, we have not seen any seriousness from the sponsors in providing the conditions for its success in order to turn it into a model that can be built upon in reaching a formula for a comprehensive solution in the country.

Saudi Arabia wanted its ambassador, Al Jaber, to turn this agreement into a new nail (of famous Juha), but it is an experimental nail to the extent of its ability to exercise lethal hegemony towards the areas surrounded by its forces or play by its proxies who nurtured them for decades. A nail must deepen and strengthen its old doctrine in its relationship based on preventing the stability of its neighbors. The Jaber family is nothing but a continuation of the appendix Salih al-Hedyan, the architect of the “political assassination.” Perhaps he combines al-Hedyan and Paul Bremer, who set Iraq on fire and murdered and corrupted.

Therefore, we see Al Jaber acting as a caricatured military ruler rather than an ambassador. The strange thing is that it is he who determines who should remain in the country, who must leave it, and who returns home from exile, and the strangest thing is that among the Yemenis are those who float on their pontoons and consider the ambassador’s orders, in words, to be enforceable. 

So, why should we expect Saudi Arabia to change its hostile approach towards our country?! There is no single indicator that reinforces this prediction promoted by some calcified politicians. Why should we fool our minds and think that Saudi Arabia is looking and working for our benefit?! Since when was that?

Even when it supported the royalists after the September 26 revolution, it was also supporting the tribal sheikhs - while the Al Saud state itself eliminated the influence of the tribal sheikhs in Najd and Hijaz - these sheikhs who were working in the service of the Imam and then rebelled against him while heedless, but they were not supportive of the change revolution which is the essence of September. Rather, it wanted to formulate another parallel system that was emptied of national and liberating content, as Al-Bardouni believed, in contradiction with the concept of the state. A system operated by trusted agents.

This situation reflects the obstruction in the horizon of a political solution for the coalition in laying the foundations for a comprehensive solution to the Yemeni dilemma, and even attempts to solve through fragmentation have not been in vain. These attempts seemed inconsistent with reality and did not have real guarantees of success to achieve the declared goal. In many aspects, the Yemeni political scene has become more complex.

Saudi Arabia has resisted the implementation of Security Council Resolution No. 2216 of 2016, even though the resolution did not explicitly stipulate waging war, nor did the UN Security Council conclude any agreements with any international party to do so. Nevertheless, Saudi Arabia has placed itself in the position of the de facto guardian of the course of the Yemeni crisis and has confiscated the (legitimacy) resolution that it claims to support.

However, it failed to perform that declared role, and neglected its moral and legal duties resulting from that guardianship of protecting and developing the country's resources and its economic and human capabilities. During the war, it practiced a policy of destroying the infrastructure out of destruction to exhaust the country, and not out of deterring the Houthis and forcing them to stop the fighting, and the passage of time it became clear that it had undeclared goals in the war in Yemen.

In March 2021, demonstrations erupted denouncing the inability of the "parity" government that Saudi Arabia brought out to carry out its duties in providing public and basic services. The demonstrators arrived at the Ma'ashiq Palace. At that time, the outgoing British ambassador, Michael Aaron, stated on his "Twitter page", after the mass demonstration against the weak government performance and the deteriorating living conditions at various levels, that "the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement is the key to the solution," adding that "the government needs resources to achieve reform and improve living conditions." However, However, His Excellency the Ambassador missed that none of the governments that were formed under the supervision of Ambassador Al Jaber did not say that they would implement reforms, and no one talked about a reform program of any kind.

On the other hand, Aaron's words confirm that the government, no matter how understanding and harmony it reaches, will not be able to carry out its duties without the availability of resources that the coalition is reluctant to provide to all governments that followed the Houthi exit. Instead of facing the repercussions of the situation, the government fled to Riyadh, as did the governments that preceded it. Why is all this happening? Because Saudi Arabia is not interested in providing an atmosphere of political, economic and security stability; because the availability of these elements will negate the need for their survival, it will have to go out one way or the other. Just as the United States did when it pulled out of Japan after a seven-year occupation following World War II and the success of the Marshall Legislature. But Saudi Arabia does not have a Marshall Plan in Yemen.

In terms of the financial resources necessary to cover the expenses of implementing the provisions of the Riyadh Agreement, its sponsors did not provide the required funds for the execution process and the start of normalizing life through the application of investment programs within the reconstruction plans. The coalition also continued to monitor the astronomical rates of the deterioration of the national currency without moving a finger.

Between failure and the desire to make it, the difference is not vast. From the beginning, the coalition "led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE" wanted the situation to be from one failure to another. This would feed the inter-social contradictions, and the conflicts between the various components would grow due to the unequal benefits created by the warlords. It means no stability, no state, no development, conflict and more conflict in a region where stability was an exception.

The war in southern Yemen in particular created its own economy, and created parallel financial vessels outside the banking sector (of the state); which cut off the flow of the monetary cycle to and from the Central Bank, and instead of addressing this serious dilemma by the coalition and the internationally recognized government, cash printing was resorted to on the “blank” which led to an accelerated collapse of the national currency until the dollar reached 1500 riyals against the USD. We do not believe that the circulation of the new editions throughout the country can improve their value. The coalition, as exercising the trusteeship of the country under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, should have exercised rational management of financial resources in order to protect the currency from collapse, but it did not.

Saudi Arabia summoned the two sides of the "Riyadh Agreement" again to the meeting to complete the implementation of its provisions. However, no significant progress occurred, despite the issuance of a statement by the Transitional Council stating that there was consensus on many matters, and the return of the "government" to Aden, without addressing the necessity of providing conditions for the success of this agreement.

Accompanied by that, the escalation between the STC and the internationally recognized government has increased since the acceleration mechanism was signed. On the media front, the websites of the two sides launched extensive campaigns against each other and against the coalition itself.

The parties affiliated with the framework of (legitimacy), as well as the Southern Transitional Council, put all their eggs in the coalition basket; which makes it vulnerable to breaking at any moment when the priorities and desires of the coalition change, and they did not take into account the dynamics of changes in international politics.

This is, of course, before the recent dramatic developments on the ground in the battles of Marib and the fall of some areas of Shabwa, and then the subsequent withdrawals in Hodeidah, under the pretext of redeployment, all of which, in general, go to reveal unexpected turns for some of the war’s parties towards reformulating the map of alliances, either tactics, deceptions, or a strategic direction.

The mutual escalation was not limited to the media only, but was accompanied by a military and political escalation, starting with the internationally recognized president’s issuance on January 15, 2021, of a series of decisions and appointments that sparked widespread controversy. The most important observation that emerges in this context is that none of the persons appointed in violation of explicit legislative texts did not advocate for these legislations on the grounds that they would be involved in one way or another in implementing the law, and none of them apologized for accepting the position. 

Saudi Arabia has deliberately kept silent about all forms of escalation that have occurred since the first day of the Riyadh negotiations, as if it is pushing towards creating more contradictions and conflicts between its allies. It did not stand a serious stand in front of it, which prompted the parties to further escalate.

However, as usual, on July 2, 2021, Saudi Arabia issued a statement calling on the parties to the conflict in Aden to respond urgently to what was agreed upon, in reference to the mechanism for accelerating the implementation of the agreement. The statement said: “The appointments made by the transitional are not consistent with what has been agreed between the two parties. However, the STC believes that the military and security appointments that it made fall within the context of rearranging its forces and preparing them to implement the agreement, and that the appointments made by the governor of Aden fall within the framework of his powers, like the rest of the other governors.

From the beginning, the internationally recognized government did not appear in the Riyadh Agreement as a single, harmonious party with a specific goal. Some media outlets affiliated with a party to the internationally recognized government have published lengthy analyzes of the agreement, describing it as a secret agreement between "Abu Dhabi and Riyadh" and the Yemeni parties have no presence in it. Rather, these parties did not meet face to face, and this opinion reflects the desire to thwart the agreement.

This situation reflects the obstruction in the horizon of a political solution for the coalition in laying the foundations for a comprehensive solution to the Yemeni dilemma, and even attempts to solve through fragmentation have not been in vain. These attempts seemed inconsistent with reality, and did not have real guarantees of success (literary and political courage, and financial-political-military resources) to achieve the declared goal. In many aspects, the Yemeni political scene has become more complex.

Tsunami of international variables:

The parties affiliated with the internationally recognized government, as well as the Southern Transitional Council, put all their eggs in the coalition basket; which makes it vulnerable to fracture at any moment when the priorities and desires of the alliance change, and they did not take into account the dynamics of changes in international politics. It was very logical for these parties to open up to all the international and influential parties in the issues of the region in general, and Yemen in particular. While both Saudi Arabia and the UAE are open to the Houthi movement (Ansar Allah), the Islamic Republic of Iran and the rest of the international parties in marathons of dialogue through the back doors in Muscat and Baghdad, and perhaps in other countries, the parties to the internationally recognized government remain trapped in its cocoon, and did not even open on each other even as to shirking responsibility.

Many facts have changed on the global and regional stage, from which Iran has achieved impressive strategic and geopolitical gains that have strengthened its position as a regional power, and the Houthis (Ansar Allah) have also made tangible political achievements. These variables stirred up many waters in international politics, at a time when the Riyadh Agreement turned into mere shuttle tours between Aden and Riyadh without leading to a breakthrough in the relationship between its two parties based on the rules of regional competition and the results of the 1994 war. It can be noted here for some of these variables as follows:

First: On March 27, 2021, China and Iran signed what is known as the 25-year strategic agreement. The most important content of this agreement is that it achieves significant interests for both parties. On the one hand, China has obtained important advantages with this agreement, including:

  • Safe passage through Iranian territory to the Gulf region, the Middle East and Africa.
  • Securing its imports from Iranian energy resources, although there are those who say that China may lose Saudi oil as a result of this agreement, although Saudi oil does not constitute a high number of Chinese imports if we consider the double objective of the agreement.
  • China's use of Iranian ports enhanced the influence of its long network of facilities and military and commercial relations along the sea lines of communication extending from mainland China to Port Sudan in the Somali peninsula (Horn of Africa). And the intervention of Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Somalia.
  • The strategic and geopolitical breakthrough that China will achieve with this agreement will cause a Chinese dispute or balance for American influence in the region.
  • The launch of implementing what is known as the Silk Road.

In return, Iran will achieve ambitious gains:

  • Providing a political and strategic cover that constitutes protection in the face of both the United States and Israel.
  • Obtaining modern or updated Chinese military technologies, especially in the areas of micro and fifth generation technologies.
  • Attracting Chinese investments towards infrastructure in Iran.
  • Modernization of Iranian ports and transportation lines.
  • And most important of all, confronting the influence of the United States with a strong Chinese political cover, which actually means reformulating alliances in the region and creating new rules of balance.

Second: The US elections brought about a certain revolution in the rearrangement of US foreign policy priorities, the results of which were:

  • The return of the United States to the international agreements that former President Trump decided to withdraw from, such as the climate agreement.
  • The United States retracted the classification of the Houthis as a (terrorist group), and the US President appointed on February 04, 2021, a special envoy to Yemen, Tim Linder King. On June 24, 2021, Linder King announced that Washington “recognizes the Houthi movement as a legitimate party.” In Yemen". At that time, the internationally recognized government, through its Minister of Information, was quick to warn of what it called international laxity with the Houthis.

 As a result, the US State Department replied that "the United States, like the rest of the international community, recognizes the government of Yemen, and it is the only internationally recognized legitimate government in Yemen."

But the American message sent by Linder King seems to have reached the concerned party, and the State Department's justification is nothing but a reparation for thoughts that did not comprehend what is happening on the international scene.

The organization of the US-Russian summit in Geneva on June 16, 2021, and the two parties' acceptance of the extension of the New start Treaty between the United States and Russia for the control of arms for the next five years, which indicates an attempt to improve relations between the two parties.

The Vienna talks on the return of the United States and Iran to commitment to the 2015 nuclear agreement, on the basis of (5 + 1), in addition to the mitigating steps that the United States has begun to provide to Iran.

  • Withdrawal of US and NATO forces from Afghanistan.

All these variables had to be carefully recited and to build positions and orientations that would help to reach a satisfactory settlement for all Yemeni parties and preventing further blood shedding. Because these variables will affect in one way or another the positions of the international players about what is happening in Yemen, and this may lead to strengthening the position of the United Nations and pushes it to formulate an acceptable solution by these players, but painful for the coalition and the conflicting local parties.

The rush towards normalization:

After the Gulf states pushed the Palestinians toward Oslo in the early 1990s, they were relieved of the heavy burden of the Palestinian case, as if they were actually suffering from a human or financial costs. After leaving the Palestinians alone and face to face with the occupying Zionist state and the United States, Gulf states freed themselves for flirting with the occupying state.

At the time, Israel managed to make a worrying penetration in the Gulf region at the expense of the geostrategic hegemony of the countries in the region. Israeli diplomacy has reached the depths of the Gulf and has completely ruled out any political presence for Palestine, Israel pushed economic and security relations with the Gulf states towards distant courses under a thick veil of secrecy. However, the successive developments on the Arab arena and the preoccupation of the republican Arab states, in particular, with their internal wars that were generously fueled by oil money, in addition to the cracking of Arab-Arab relations, to the point of a real rupture, have allowed the United States to counterattack to empower Israel in this region as a possible alternative to it in the future.

The “hidden virginity” between the Gulf states and Israel has turned to a legal marriage completed with a contract signed and sealed by the American judge, and the matter did not stop here. Rather, these countries dragged Sudan towards the same sin, and the Kingdom of Morocco did not lag behind the Zionist conquest with motives of illusion that The United States will return to Morocco the Western Sahara by recognizing the sovereignty of the benevolent over it. In practice, only Saudi Arabia was left with reservations about the nature of the special relationship with Israel, but "normalization between Saudi Arabia and Israel is looming," according to Kushner, the godfather of the deal of the century.

Recently, a delegation of American Jewish leaders visited Saudi Arabia and met key figures from the royal family and a number of ministers who informed the delegation that Saudi Arabia is one of the guarantors of “normalization agreements.” American-Jewish businessman Phil Rosen says, “The Saudis are preparing their people for normalization with Israel. They see in Israel a superpower, and exasperated with its ability to defend itself in the region: “I don't think the Saudis will condition peace with Israel on progress with the Palestinians; they are waiting for the right time for them.” Therefore, there are speed up changes that cannot be faced with bare hands, without a corresponding project. Of course, the acceleration of the attack of normalization has affected and will affect the mood of the Arab and Yemeni citizens in the future, and this must cast a shadow over the course of the war and alliances and settlement files.

The most dramatic variable is the Taliban's return to rule Afghanistan in full view of the world.

Did the Taliban really win over the United States?

Then, why Iraq did not win while it possesses the best and most powerful armies in the region, and is more developed scientifically, technically and economically, and the Iraqi people are the highest in terms of standard of living?

No victory of any kind can be spoken of here; The United States did not go to Afghanistan to build a country or an economy, as Joe Biden said. I went there to eliminate the Taliban after the two statues were destroyed, so the war was justified.

However, the Taliban is an American creation, as former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said: “America asked us to form forces to confront the warlords who appeared after the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan.” It was formed from Afghan and Pakistani religious schools and assigned its leadership to Mullah Muhammad Omar. Most of the warlords there were agents of Western intelligence, meaning that the West, despite its unity to remove the Soviets from Afghanistan and inflicting a military and psychological defeat on its forces, on the other hand fought a fierce competition for influence in this devastated country.

Therefore, it is not surprising that the West competes again in the same matter, as the mayor of Paris is asking her country to support the resistance against the Taliban led by the son of Ahmed Shah Massoud, a former agent of French intelligence. Perhaps the rest of the countries will follow their lead in supporting their clients or their heirs. Perhaps Saudi Arabia will support the group of its client, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

 The “military and financial assistance to the Afghan opposition (1979-1989) from Saudi Arabia was equivalent to $3 billion, in general, the same amount spent by the CIA. Some sources claim that Saudi Arabia’s financial contribution was twice as large. The financial resources of the Afghan opposition openly came from the Kingdom’s budget, and the other part (from individuals and charities) came from the donations of the Saudi princes and the business community in the Kingdom and the donations of mosques,” the Saudi obsession with overthrowing the communist regime in Afghanistan was equivalent to its obsession with bringing down the regime in democratic Yemen, if not more. Although the impact of the Afghan regime on it was not appreciable, Saudi Arabia's primary goal was to support the United States in undermining the Soviets across Central Asia, not to support the Afghan people. Thus, 40 years of Afghan life were lost and their country was destroyed several times in endless wars that will not end in the short term. Simply, the Taliban are back. 

What happened?

It is the geopolitical changes that play all the scales; China's rise on the economic, technical and military fronts, especially the naval one in the South China Sea.

If the coalition was serious with its slogans that it was defending the Yemeni people, it was able to demonstrate its good intentions in the areas under its control and put the Houthis in embarrassment afterwards. If the alliance is honest, it can create exemplary living conditions in those areas

Before the idea of ​​the American withdrawal, the conflict over the China Sea was after the discovery that it was not just empty waters and isolated barren islands, but one of the most important sites promising sources of wealth. As a result, the US trade war against Chinese companies was planned.

Then came China's move (Checkmate) by signing the strategic agreement with Iran, and the American response was to exploit the border friction between China and India to establish the quadripartite alliance with (Australia, Japan, and India). The Chinese response was more rapprochement with Russia, and although the Russian-Chinese alliance is coalition of necessity - because the two countries cannot build a permanent strategic alliance due to a large basket of differences and various demands, not including ideology in any case - but the United States always feels threatened, as like all empires in history, fearing for their global influence and sovereignty.

The Dilemma of the Riyadh Agreement

In spite of its deficiencies, the Riyadh Agreement can be implemented on the ground, and the dust will soon fall on it in line with the dramatic course of events. The lesson of Afghanistan shall be understood by everyone and Saudi Arabia is more than it should. Yemenis are also supposed to absorb these variables and recognize that the most important variable in all the equations of politics and international relations is interest, neither love and hate, nor religion or sect. Saudi Arabia was allied with Shiite Iran until 1979, what has changed there? The political system changed and Iran remained Shiite as it was, and Saudi Arabia remained Wahhabi as it was, only the index of interests changed.

Perhaps it would be useful to re-read what is going on in a more balanced and rational manner to make the Riyadh Agreement more viable. The most important thing that this requires is to make Aden, the (temporary) capital, a neutral area open to all as citizens with equal rights and duties.

Of course, this will not be done by dividing the influence between the contending for hegemony in it, but by making fundamental amendments to the structure of the agreement after stipulating the movement of the military forces outside the city and its scientific restructuring, the return of the Aden security forces that were excluded after the 94 war to be in charge of leading all security operations and securing Aden and its citizens from all threats and attacks. Additionally, these national forces shall be supplied with all needs and its members shall be selected from the people of the city, who have acquired military experience and skills during the last war, without neglecting the legal and constitutional conditions that must be met by the security personal.

Saudi Arabia has long been silent about the political and media escalation directed against the transitional by some “legitimacy” parties, and it did not see this as inconsistent with or damaging the agreement, and perhaps it was the real sponsor of this escalation to achieve a tactical goal.

On the other hand, Saudi Arabia and the coalition are under a sharp attack by some parties of legitimacy, who believe that the coalition “is working to undermine and end the presence of legitimacy in Yemen on the political and military tracks, by imposing the Riyadh Agreement, then making amendments that empty it of its goal and content, and supporting armed militias to fight government forces."

With all these facts and permanent disruptions to any just consent that guarantees the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement while not wasting the right of the people of Aden in their city, we do not see that the agreement, with its holes, can be applied on the ground.

The two sides of the conflict, in their reading of the Riyadh Agreement, and with them the coalition, focus exclusively on the city of Aden; while the real essence includes all the southern regions under the control of the "Saudi" coalition, which confirms the efforts of these parties to legitimize the eternal exclusion of the people of Aden from the administration of their city, like the rest of the provinces.

The rationality of the coalition in its endeavor to resolve this dilemma will be demonstrated through the introduction of fundamental modifications to the structure of the Riyadh Agreement.

We also believe that it is absolutely essential for the coalition, as it exercises guardianship over the country, to commit itself to providing all sufficient financial resources to stop the deterioration of the national currency, and prepare the ground for the start of the country reconstruction process.

If the coalition was serious with its slogans that it defends the Yemeni people, it was able to demonstrate its good intentions in the areas under its control, and put the Houthis in embarrassment afterwards. If the coalition was honest, it would be able to create exemplary living conditions in those areas. It was able, in more than six years, to rebuild the destroyed infrastructure by aerial bombardment better than it was before. And he was able to spin the wheel of the economy at high rates, creating job opportunities and generates an ideal stability that positively serves the alliance and its reputation before it benefits us. 

Everyone should realize that the world is not afraid of the fall of Marib, Hodeida, or other regions, at the hands of this or that party. The world does not care if this or that region falls in a lightning battle that is not long in time or space. All statements only warn of the human cost, the lack of human needs, and the spread of famine and disease. The world that cries is able to defend its interests in front of any party in Yemen, so do not cry over its interests.

We firmly believe that it is useless for all parties to waste more time and victims for a mirage that will not materialize. Here, all conflicting parties will have to break the bondage of dependence on others to solve their problems and enable them to have power over the bodies of citizens. They will have to search for a comprehensive solution to this crisis internally, but this requires moral and ethical courage which they do not currently have.


  1. Dr. Ahmed Sinan Al-Jabri, the Gulf Crisis and its Impact on the Geopolitical Situation of the Region, Journal of Environmental and Sustainable Development Research. Al-Nasser University Second Issue - Volume Five - 2018, pp. 149-198.
  1. Mohamed Youssef and Mark Adkin, The Bear Trap, Havertown, Pennsylvania, 2001. Previously published in episodes in the Washington Post in 1987.

Read more

شكراً لإشتراكك في القائمة البريدية.
نعتذر، حدث خطأ ما! نرجوا المحاولة لاحقاً
النسخة العربية