Yemenis should take ownership of the solution for their country

Houthis need a reset that makes them feel they are Yemenis and nothing else.

Friday 07/05/2021
Houthi soldiers march during a funeral procession for Houthi fighters killed in  fighting  in Marib province, in Sana’a, Yemen. (AFP)
Houthi soldiers march during a funeral procession for Houthi fighters killed in fighting in Marib province, in Sana’a, Yemen. (AFP)

It was expected that the Libyan solution would inspire other initiatives aimed at putting an end to crises facing many states in the region.

Not because these crises are similar to that faced by Libya, as no one crisis resembles the another, but because there is a general matrix that unites all of them, even though we can continue to look at each of them separately.

What happened and is still happening in Libya was not the formulation of a purely Libyan solution.  What we see instead is the outcome of a collaboration between countries and regional and global powers. The views of these countries and powers have happened to converge to the  extent that it became necessary for Libyans to take heed and put an end to a futile struggle that could only end with the annihilation of all belligerents.

This however, is if we assume that a civil war can end without outside intervention..

Turkey’s involvement in Libya could not end what the militias started.  It could only complicate matters further. Mercenary contingents were sent by Turkey to fight its war there and to weigh in on the course of the fighting, with all its absurdity.

But in a way the Turkish intervention may not have been that bad after all.

Were it not for that intervention,  which pushed Turkey into the eastern Mediterranean, Europe would not have mustered its forces to end the fundamental problem at the core of the disputes between Turkey and Greece and behind this, the EU countries, especially France and Italy, that have always been actively interested in Libya.

What is at stake here are Libya’s riches and the degree of danger the situation poses to the country’s neighbours, especially Egypt, which has played an assertive role, encouraging the international community to intervene so as to prevent an unnecessary war from erupting.

Thus, when the international community intervened in the Libyan crisis with good intent and decisiveness, the Libyans felt that if they did not place their confidence in the solution that had been put on the table, they might end up deep in the bottom of an abyss.

This was the feeling of all parties, civilian and military.

What became clear through the negotiations that took place in different places is that the war hawks had to retreat. It was understood that Libya would  not move on to the new phase of stability and the restoration of a form of national cohesion that enjoys international support, if it does not send the warlords into retirement.

That was the condition for Libya to end its wars and become again a normal state, that was recognised by the international community, abiding by the world’s  rules and laws.

Libya today is on course to a safe harbour, regardless of Turkish manoeuvring. In the final analysis and based on the policies of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey will avoid to be stubborn on a matter that does not infringe upon its security or sovereignty.

Libya has reached this stage not because the Libyans wanted and decided it, but because the international community wanted it and imposed it upon them. That is what was expected to happen in Yemen, after Syria had gotten engulfed in Russia’s struggle with the West.

The international community has been quite close to imposing a just solution to the Yemen crisis, which had dragged the population to famine, displacement and other manifestations of human catastrophe.

The Houthis are fighting a proxy war, which means that the Yemeni war is not purely a Yemeni war, but rather a regional one.

What cannot be overlooked here is that Iran, which became a party to that war, is targeting, through the Houthi front, Western interests in the region.

Iran does not hide its responsibility for the continuation of that war, which it considers as part of its endless war against the West.

It will be said that the international community is extremely interested in the Yemeni crisis. There is a UN envoy and an American envoy and failed talks in Muscat, and movement on the Iranian and Saudi fronts.

All this is true, but the Houthis are not acting as Yemenis who fear that Yemen will descend into the abyss if it is left to be entangled in this conflict without the international community’s help.

The Houthis are acting as Iranian proxies in Yemen. That is why they cannot be dealt with easily.

Has it become impossible to replicate the global view of the Libyan solution in the case of Yemen because of Iran’s intervention, which is nothing like the Turkish intervention in Libya? Something like that might be true.

However, this hurdle can be overcome through direct negotiations with Iran. This is what Iran desires and is pushing the Houthis, as its surrogates, to achieve. However, that kind of solution will not be Yemeni.

The Yemenis will not forgive the international community for putting their country on the Iranian agenda.

The Yemenis need a firm global stance rejecting Iranian interference in their country so that the Houthis feel that they are weak and that the borrowed  power from Iran will not help them in anything. Houthis need a reset that makes them feel they are Yemenis and nothing else.

That is what is necessary to make a Yemeni solution possible.