Saudi coalition resumes attacks in Yemen
The Saudi-led coalition that has been fighting Houthi militias in Yemen for nine months announced the end to the cease-fire that began on December 15. According to a spokesperson for the Saudi coalition, the cease-fire had been ended due to continuous Houthi "attacks on the Saudi kingdom's territories." He added that Saudi Arabia "was still eager on creating a peaceful solution in Yemen."
The Shia Houthi rebels whose influence had been expanding since last September had formally seized power by shelling and taking over the presidential palace in what was described as a 'coup'. They were led by Abdul-Malik al-Houthi. President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi's move to draft a constitution for establishing 6 federal regions in the country was seen as the motive behind Houthi takeover.
The Houthis are members of a rebel group, also known as Ansar Allah (Partisans of God), who adhere to a branch of Shia Islam known as Zaidism. Zaidis make up one-third of the population of Yemen.
Yemen's president Hadi, who previously fled from the capital Sanaa, had now reportedly fled from the palace in Aden. His flight came after Houthi rebels advanced against Hadi's allies and moved towards Aden Yemeni Foreign Minister called on Arab nations to stage an urgent military intervention. The rebels said that their aim was to replace Hadi's government which they accused of being corrupt.
Saudi Arabia launched air strikes against the Houthi rebels in Yemen. Saudi's ambassador to US, Adel al-Jubeir announced about the strikes in a news conference in Washington. He said nine other countries had joined the military coalition but did not name them. Yemen turned into a politico-religious battleground with Iran backing the Shia Houthis and Sunni monarchies of Gulf supporting the Yemeni president, Hadi.
The UN Security Council on 14 April, passed a resolution which imposed arms embargo on Houthi rebels. It demanded that they withdraw from areas they had seized. Houthi rebels on 22 April, said they wanted to participate in UN-sponsored peace talks but only after a complete ceasefire. In May, Saudi proposed a five–day truce in Yemen to allow humanitarian relief which the rebels accepted.
Houthi rebels and Yemen's exiled government agreed to attend peace talks in Geneva mediated by UN. The talks are aimed at ending weeks of fighting. Saudi-led coalition had been bombing the rebels for about 10 weeks. The peace talks are set begin on June 14 and would be the first significant effort to stop the fighting. The talks would try to secure ceasefire.
United Nations mediator for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said no agreement was reached in the 4-day talks between the two warring sides in Yemen but that he was optimistic about securing ceasefire. The UN-brokered peace talks were aimed at stopping the fight between Houthi rebels and Yemen government in exile supported by Saudi Arabia. The fighting led to 'humanitarian crisis' in the country.
Yemen's Foreign Minister Abdel-Malek al-Mekhlafi said that peace talks between rebels and the government are expected to convene on 15 December. He made the comments while speaking in an interview to Saudi TV. His comments come in the backdrop of a visit by the U.N. envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed to discuss a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the country.
The Governor of Aden (Yemen), Jaafar Mohammed Saad was killed in a major explosion while his convoy was travelling in the southern port city. Authorities suspect a rocket propelled grenade caused the explosion. Authorities are looking for suspects; however, ISIS claimed responsibility the attack. The ISIS has gained significant ground in Yemen after the beginning of the civil war earlier this year.
A cease-fire has been called between Saudi-led coalition forces and the Houthi rebels in Yemen, as peace talks are scheduled to begin in Geneva today. Saudi sources stated that there would be a seven day halt in fighting, which may extend if the Houthis abide by the decision. A Houthi spokesperson stated that they have agreed to the terms of the cease-fire.