SANA’A, YEMEN — Yemen’s Houthis (Ansar Allah) have submitted an initiative they hope will bring an end to conflict in Yemen and have unilaterally suspended retaliatory attacks against Saudi-led coalition forces in the Red Sea in order to support this effort.
A source in the Supreme Political Council, the highest political authority in Sana’a, told MintPress that the halt in retaliatory attacks in the Red Sea is aimed at preserving the Yemeni people and comes in response to regional and international efforts to bring peace to Yemen.
The initiative comes less than one week after Saudi Arabia temporarily suspended all oil shipments through the Bab el-Mandeb Strait. The coalition has thus far not commented on the initiative.
Mohammed Ali al Houthi, head of the Supreme Revolutionary Committee (SRC), said in a statement to MintPress that “the unilateral halt in naval military operations would be for a limited time period and could be extended and include all fronts.” He said the scope of the initiative would be extended only if the initiative was reciprocated by the leadership of the U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition. He added:
Today, out of concern for the Yemeni people’s safety, humanity and due to our religious values, and in response to the peace initiative by some Arab figures as well as peace efforts by [UN Special Envoy] Mr. Martin Griffiths, we declare our initiative for peace.
We call upon Yemeni officials to cease all military operations on seaside battlefronts — and for a complete ceasefire on all battlefronts — if the coalition will respond in kind, as we hope they will if they are really considering peace for Yemen’s people.”
An official with Yemen’s Ministry of Defense confirmed to MintPress that naval operations would be halted for two weeks starting at midnight (20:00 GMT) on August 1, saying “we welcome any initiative to spare bloodshed and stop the aggression against Yemen.”
Last week Saudi Arabia claimed that Houthi fighters had attacked two oil tankers in the Red Sea, and consequently decided to halt all oil shipments through the Bab-el-Mandeb strait until they deemed the waterway safe. The Houthis, however, have maintained that the attack was against a French-made Saudi military frigate, the Dammam 816. Analysts have posited that the move is an attempt by Saudi Arabia to draw international forces into the conflict, as the Saudis thus far have been unable to defeat the Houthis on their own.
The U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition launched its war on Yemen in March of 2015. Since then it has conducted tens of thousands of airstrikes and has imposed a crippling air, land and sea blockade on Yemen, resulting in tens of thousands of deaths and sparking what the UN has called the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.
Read Mohammed Ali al Houthi’s Statment to the Secretary-General of the UN and The UN Security Council:
On March 26, 2015, the countries of aggression started their military operations against the Republic of Yemen. This declaration of war was announced by the leading country of the aggression, [the United States of America]. Many countries joined this unjust coalition officially such as the United States, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, U.K., Israel, Bahrain, and many other countries [Arabic and non-Arabic], which either participate directly or support the war against the sovereign nation [of Yemen], and one of the founders of the General Assembly of the United Nations — this aggression that was initiated without any legal foundation or mandates from the UN.
Although this aggression, the use of military force, and the use of all kind of weapons including internationally-banned weapons against the civilians and the civilian infrastructures by the air, land, and sea, and deliberately committing thousands of violations, also imposing intentionally an aerial siege and sea blockade against the Yemeni people — we as leaders, Yemeni Figures, and Yemeni civilians were working even before the military operation on solving the internal complications between the different groups.
We stood in opposition to the coup against the resolutions of the Security Council. As a result of this work, we were able to achieve and establish a technocratic government, led by the ex-prime minister, Khalid Bahah, in which we used constructive dialogues and consensus among all different parties. We reached an agreement that was documented in Movenpick [Switzerland] negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations.
This power-sharing with all sides agreement and the political transition was interrupted by the military intervention and this was mentioned by the former UN Special Envoy to Yemen, Mr. Jamal Benomar, in his last statement in front of the Security Council. And we kept looking for solutions with responsibility from the beginning of this aggression and are still doing that until the present moment.
We offered many compromises and peace initiatives in Switzerland and Kuwait negotiations and the other side rejected them. We welcomed all initiatives and ceasefires, which were declared and then violated by the other side; moreover, they used them [the ceasefires] to escalate their military operations.
Today, after the international community reached a full consensus, the Security Council declared that the solution in Yemen is a political solution. Out of our concern of the values of the Yemeni blood, human health, and our religious values, in addition to the respect of holy months and responding to all the peace initiatives by some Arab figures — and also the peace efforts by Mr. Martin Griffiths, the special envoy of the secretary-general for Yemen — we declared our peace initiative by calling upon the Yemeni officials to stop all military operations in the sea battlefronts – to become a complete ceasefire on all the battlefronts if the coalition will respond with the same action, as we hope they will do if they are really considering peace for the Yemeni people who are still suffering, because of the blockade and the aggression, a humanitarian crisis considered to be the worst in the world, especially now with such high level of famine and spread of epidemics.
Translation provided by MintPress News
Top Photo | Mohammed Ali al-Houthi (center), who heads the Houthi movement’s Supreme Revolutionary Committee, attends a rally marking al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day in Yemen’s capital Sanaa July 10, 2015. Khaled Abdullah | Reuters
Ahmed AbdulKareem is a Yemeni journalist. He covers the war in Yemen for MintPress News as well as local Yemeni media.