Tag Archives: Yemen

EU diplomacy sidelined Yemen conflict

At present there is a visible diplomatic apathy in the EU, regarding the protracted Yemen conflict, blaming on too many foreign actors, stirring the ongoing feud, which have already degraded into proxy war through involvement of multiple external players, supplying belligerent parties with weapons. However the revenues of arms exporters, namely the Europeans. are not the sole responsible for the warfare, continuously claiming lives of Yemenis, and escalating tensions in the Persian Gulf.

The desire of the European Union to preserve the nuclear deal with Iran, keeps out of focus numerous Tehran illicit activities, aggravating various conflicts, including civil war in Yemen, increasingly destabilizing the entire region. The recent attacks on Saudi oil facilities, which damaged half the production, evoked accusations from the West, presuming the rockets were launched from Iran’s territory. Tehran has vehemently denied any involvement in the offensive, claimed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels fighting a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. However Iran responded reasoning the attack on Aramco oil plans as an act of “legitimate defense” of Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

Since regional tensions escalated following the attacks on Saudi’s oil facilities mid-September, the Yemen conflict was upgraded on diplomatic agenda. Especially in view of the protection of vessels in the Persian Gulf from Iranian attacks, as well as the prevention of the illicit arms trade and the protection of civil aviation.

Nowadays there is growing concern among foreign policy experts, pointing at intensified engagement between the Houthi leadership with Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, and Hezbollah chiefs, conspiring operations to strengthening Iran position in the Strait of Hormuz, and weakening Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel.

In the context of the escalations of tensions, on October 21-22 the diplomats have been gathering for a conference in Bahrain (Manama) to discuss the security issue in the Gulf. The even has been co-hosted by the U.S. and Poland, and is regarded as a part of Warsaw Process (Ministerial’s Maritime and Aviation Security Working Group). So far there have been little information about the EU diplomacy participation, and input of the representatives of the European External Actions Service – who claim to be highly sought after “global player”. The conference was attended on a diplomatic level by a delegation representative, the spokesperson confirmed, adding the EEAS position remains unchanged, based on the EU Council conclusions.

The EU continues to reaffirm that only a negotiated and inclusive political solution can end the conflict in Yemen.The EU has contributed with over €560 million in assistance since the beginning of the conflict.

What is defined nowadays by experts as a “proxy war” erupted in in 2014, when Houthi rebels captured the capital, Sanaa. However, in reality it was a new chapter in a long saga of confrontation between the Iran-backed Shia movement and loyalist forces since 2004.

The United Nations Security Council reacted upon belligerent spell of Houthi with resolution 2201 “deploring” their “unilateral actions’ ” and calling for the immediate halt of hostilities. The message of the global community has repeated several times, condemning the violence, including after March 26, 2015, when the Saudi-led coalition that included the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, Sudan, and Morocco launched its first military operation.

The Yemeni Civil War is a protracted conflict (since 2015) between two factions: the Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi led Yemeni government and the Houthi armed movement, along with their supporters and allies. Both claim to constitute the official government of Yemen.

According to the UN report due to the protracted conflict, Yemen is the most affected country with in acute need for humanitarian aid for 24.1 million people, including children, who are prime victims of the bloodshed and hunger.

In September 18 drones and seven cruise missiles hit a major oil field and processing facility in Saudi Arabia, which blamed Iran for the attack.

Abha airport resumed flights

This morning the airport in Abha in southern Saudi Arabia was hit by a rocket, injuring at least 26 civilians. The attack has been claimed by the Houthi movement.

“The European Union expresses its wishes for a speedy recovery to those injured” says the European External Action Service spokesperson statement.

At a time when tensions in the region are on the rise, it is essential to show maximum restraint and refrain from further acts of escalation. Such provocative attacks pose a threat to regional security and undermine the UN-led political process in Yemen”.

“The EU reiterates its full support to the UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths and his work to ensure the implementation of the Hodeidah Agreement and promote political consultations. Only an inclusive political agreement can put an end to this conflict.”

 

Yemen in focus of EU diplomacy

Today with the Foreign Ministers we will discuss first and foremost the situation in Yemen. I discussed yesterday on the phone with the Special Envoy of the United Nations for Yemen [Martin] Griffiths on how the European Union and the Member States can best support his work in this crucial moment that could be or become an opening for an end to the war in Yemen, one of the most devastating humanitarian catastrophes of our times” said EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini upon her arrival to the EU Foreign ministers meeting.

The EU ministers will continue to work to strengthen European defence.

“In particular today I expect Ministers to see how our Permanent Structure Cooperation is advancing, with 17 new projects to be adopted. And tomorrow, we will have [with us] Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary-General of NATO, to continue our work to strengthen EU-NATO cooperation that is going extremely wellMogherini added.

Ministers will also discuss the situation in Ukraine.

On Monday 19 November, defence ministers have a joined discussion with foreign ministers on EU cooperation in security and defence.

They are reviewing the initiatives part of the implementation of the EU Global Strategy in this area, including the permanent structured cooperation (PESCO), the coordinated annual review on defence (CARD), the European defence fund, military mobility, the military planning and conduct capability (MPCC), the civilian CSDP compact and the proposal for a European Peace Facility.

The Council is expected to adopt conclusions on security and defence.

 

 

 

MEPs encourage EU to engage in Yemen conflict resolution

At Strasbourg  Plenary MEPs debate the latest developments in Yemen, which is facing the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.

 

More than three years of conflict between the forces loyal to the internationally recognized government and Houthi rebels have devastated the country, leaving 22 million Yemeni people (80% of the total population) in dire need of humanitarian assistance or protection. The country is also suffering from the largest cholera outbreak ever recorded in modern history, with over one million suspected cases reported in 2017 and over 2 200 related deaths.

The war in Yemen is also seen as part of a regional power struggle between Shia-ruled Iran, backing Houthi rebels, and Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia, leading the Western-backed alliance of Arab states trying to restore the internationally-recognised government.

Throughout the civil war in Yemen, the European Parliament has called on all actors to de-escalate the conflict and to engage in UN-led peace talks and strive for political solutions. MEPs also called on EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to launch an initiative to impose an EU arms embargo against Saudi Arabia given the serious allegations that the Saudi Arabia-led coalition is breaching international humanitarian law in Yemen.

“There is a need for urgent humanitarian aid”, – said MEP Sajjad KARIM  (UK, ECR) to Europe Diplomatic Magazine, however it is much more, than just assistance to starving populations required. “…Concert of international efforts is needed to put an end to this conflict and engage in peace process”, MEP concluded, sharing his vision of putting an end to the ongoing human tragedy.

 

No military solution to Yemen conflict

On 25 June 2018 in Luxembourg EU foreign ministers discussed the latest developments in Yemen together with UN Special Envoy (UNSE) Martin Griffiths, who briefed them on his peace plan. Ministers exchanged views on ongoing EU efforts, including political outreach, and in particular the regional dialogue with Iran on Yemen, as well as humanitarian and development support. They explored ways to strengthen the UN-led process.

The Council adopted conclusions on Yemen  against the background  of the recent intensification of military operations in and around the port of Hodeidah, through which 70% of food imports to Yemen are shipped. More than 22 million people -80% of the population of the country – are in need of humanitarian or protection support.

The EU reiterated that there cannot be any military solution to the conflict and underlined its strong support for the UNSE Martin Griffiths, and his efforts to bring about an inclusive political solution.. The EU will maintain its engagement with all parties to the conflict and stands ready to increase its action in Yemen, including in delivering humanitarian aid across the country and in mobilising development assistance to fund projects in critical sectors.

The Council underlines that sustainable peace can only be achieved through negotiations with the meaningful participation of all relevant parties, including civil society, women and youth. The EU therefore supports the UNSE’s efforts to restart the political process, and in particular his intention to renew inclusive political negotiations as soon as possible.

“Dramatic” escalation of hostilieis in Yemen

“Over the past few weeks, we have witnessed a dramatic escalation of hostilities in Yemen, resulting once again in many casualties and in the destruction of civilian infrastructure” – says the statement of the European External Action Service (EEAS).

“This escalation runs against the commitment of all sides to a political solution of the conflict in Yemen and feeds into a vicious cycle of successive retaliations that risks to undermine the efforts of UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths and put the resumption of peace talks in jeopardy.”

“There is no military solution to the conflict in Yemen. Only a negotiated, political solution through an inclusive process can put an end to the conflict and restore hope for stability and peace in the country and the region. This was also underlined in yesterday’s UN statement that EU fully supports.”

“The European Union continues to fully and unconditionally support UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths as he finalises his framework for negotiations.”

 

Conflict-famine link

The United Nations has declared famine in parts of South Sudan and warned that more than 20 million people risk dying from starvation because of drought and conflict in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and northeast Nigeria, while more than 100 million face acute malnutrition worldwide.

Stephen O’Brien, the United Nations’ top humanitarian official underlined the link between conflict and famine. “Those (hunger crises) all share this terrible and devastating commonality: violence and conflict which have contributed to or directly caused famine risk conditions,” he said.

A decade ago most international aid organizations focused almost 80% of their resources on natural disaster threats and the rest on “manmade humanitarian risks”, but it is now the other way around, he said.

 

UN: 20 million facing famine

Famine Africa

The world faces the largest humanitarian crisis since the United Nations was founded in 1945 with more than 20 million people in four countries facing starvation and famine, the U.N. humanitarian chief said.

Stephen O’Brien told the U.N. Security Council that “without collective and coordinated global efforts, people will simply starve to death” and “many more will suffer and die from disease.”

He urged an immediate injection of funds for Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and northeast Nigeria plus safe and unimpeded access for humanitarian aid “to avert a catastrophe.”

“To be precise,” O’Brien said, “we need $4.4 billion by July.”

Without a major infusion of money, he said, children will be stunted by severe malnutrition and won’t be able to go to school, gains in economic development will be reversed and “livelihoods, futures and hope will be lost.”

 

 

 

 

 

Lavrov for 'true union' against ISIS

lavrov-munich

“Unprecedented terrorist aggression has been seen in Europe, the United States, and the countries that are our allies under the Collective Security Treaty Organisation in Asia – all this presents a serious threat to international security”, said Russian Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov addressing MunichSecurity conference. (The full text of the speech here: http://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/2086892)

Russian minister expressed concern over the overall degradation of the situation in the Middle East and North Africa after ‘Arab Spring’, and migrant crisis in Europe, pointing at  the threat of terrorism to expand in Middle East, North Africa.

Lavrov claimed a  “certain success” in the fight against ISIS, al-Nusra Front, and the other terroristic groups, however he underlined that the international community has failed so far to create a “truly efficient anti-terrorist front”, blaming  “inability” to put aside nonentity matters, and curb geopolitical ambitions.

Lavrov called for a “true union” of the leading nations against international terrorism,  and also to prevent the collapse of Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Afghanistan, infiltrated by ISIS, using the lack of unified strategy to their advantage.

 

Trump to sign refugees restrictions

 

Donald TrumpToday president Donald Trump is expected to sign executive orders starting onwards including a temporary ban for an indefinite period of  time for the most of the refugees and a suspension of visas for citizens of Syria and six other countries of Middle East and Africa, according to  congressional aides and Washington immigration experts.

Trump, who tweeted on Tuesday night that a “big day” was planned on national security on Wednesday 25/01/2017 is expected to order a multi-month ban on allowing refugees into the United States except for religious minorities, supposedly Christians escaping persecution, until more elaborate vetting is in place.

Another order will block visas being issued to all applicants from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, according to the same unnamed inner sources.