Riyadh Agreement Yemen


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If the Riyadh Agreement itself did not state it so bluntly, US expressions of support – at least in official and conservative circles – blurted out optimism that this agreement strengthens the anti-Houthi side in the war. In a statement of praise for the Riyadh Agreement, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said “it`s a way of strengthening the alliance against the Houthis.” The Wall Street Journal, echoing this official position, stated in an editorial essentially the same sentiment: “This matters because it puts the U.S. and its Gulf allies in a better position to handle the Houthis, the Iran-backed group…. The fact that this optimism has not yet been confirmed by positive results on the ground has not worried the Trump administration enough for its diplomatic clout to underpin global peace efforts. Meanwhile, STC statements already show that the appointment of a governor, Ahmed Hamed Lamles, to the “capital” Aden alongside the new head of security Mohammed Ahmed al-Hamdi means that the Riyadh agreement is wrong in favour of the STC. It also gives the theory that the Arab coalition simply wanted to give legitimacy to the leaders of the South and ultimately gain independence. If the agreement passes, Aidarous al-Zubaidi, the president of the STC, can claim to represent Hadi and govern an independent south by using this vine leaf as a cover. The agreement allows a Saudi military presence in the UAE`s areas of influence in southern coastal cities, in addition to the existing armed forces in Shabwa, Mahra and Hadhramawt. Saudi numbers began to rise after the events of August, under the pretext of respecting the ceasefire and preventing any further military escalation, and their units are and are still replacing their Emirati counterparts at military bases, at Aden airport and at coalition headquarters. Moreover, the timing of the agreement seems inausic, given the complications on the ground and the possibility that Al-Qaeda could resume its activities and that the Houthis could try to directly target the agreement.6 Despite initial optimism after the signing of the Riyadh agreement in December 2019, and again after the signing of the mechanism for implementing the Riyadh agreement , the essential provisions of the agreement are not being met.

Implementation should be gradual, starting with the end of media wars, the end of the real fighting on the ground and, finally, the political fusion into a unity government.