The US Department of State says progress toward a truce in Yemen had been made, but that further cooperation by the different parties involved at the hostilities is required.
The American plan for a national cease-fire, according to Houthi spokesman Mohamed Abdelsalam of Almasirah TV, “has little in it and reflects the Saudi and UN view.”
According to the spokesman, the American plan would not involve ceasing fire or lifting the siege. Instead, the proposal will only result in the continuity of the blockade.
In a joint statement released in London on Thursday with the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, and France, the US have urged all parties to the conflict to cease cross-border assaults and the offensive on Marib.
The efforts, however, did not reflect any signal of peace or cessation of aggressions. Last Sunday, the Saudi Energy Ministry said that a drone from the sea struck a storage tank at the Ras Tanura export terminal on the country’s Persian Gulf coast. A rocket also landed near a residential compound for Saudi Aramco workers in Dhahran.
The attacks demonstrate the Houthis’ power to strike targets hundreds of miles away in Saudi Arabia, at the heart of the kingdom’s oil industry.
However, unlike a crippling drone and cruise missile assault in September 2019 that struck out two critical oil plants, Saudi Arabia has managed to shoot down a large number of drones and missiles this time.
The US military has expanded its assistance to the Saudis as a result of the increasing threat from the skies, exchanging information to help them detect and intercept drones as well as a range of ballistic and cruise missiles.
Yemen’s conflict, having began in 2015, casts local Shiite Houthis against a Saudi-led alliance of states, along with the US, that want to see the crisis-stricken government in power again. The civil war has also devolved into a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Early in February, the US President declared that his country’s funding for military operations in Yemen, as well as associated weapons sales, will be halted.
According to Adel Abdel Ghafar, a fellow at the Brookings think tank, the Houthis’ military move seems to be geared at gaining leverage ahead of any future peace talks, considering the ongoing discord between the Biden administration and the Saudis:
“The Houthis have been emboldened by the Biden administration’s decision to not support the Saudi-led war on Yemen and are seeking to put themselves in a stronger position once negotiations start to end the war.”
For years, Yemen has been engulfed in a fight between government troops supported by an Arab coalition headed by Saudi Arabia and the Houthi alliance, which has taken the lives of 233,000 civilians.
The US full support for Saudi-led intervention in a local hostility intensified the civil war condition in the country and pushed it to the verge of a wholesale famine.
The local unrests in Yemen coincided the so-called Arab spring during which many of the regional dictators collapsed. Riyadh, in fear of taking the contagious insurrection form the neighboring country, while signals of unrest were suppressed inside, decided to intervene in Yemen to keep the long-time ally in power.
According to UN reports, the continuing crisis in Yemen has left more than 80% of the people reliant on assistance to survive. Saudi Arabia targeted civilian zones, hospitals, wedding ceremonies and funerals under the pretext of killing Houthi militia.
The US’ too late plan to end hostilities in Yemen and broker a peace deal after lending hand to six years of full-scale violence against the civilians needs time to gain public trust.