Chad Rickaby, Blog Writer
Houthi rebels remain in control of much of Yemen. They have failed to abide by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2216 that calls for the relinquishment of all controlled territory. The Saudi led Arab coalition had hopes of seizing air strikes against the Houthi rebels, ending the “Decisive Storm” campaign and beginning its “Renewal of Hope” program which collation spokesman, Brigadier-General Ahmed al-Asiri, claims to centre on protecting civilians by providing basic rights and necessities and a renewed focus on counter-terrorism measures in the region. The “Renewal of Hope” program will utilize Resolution 2216 to prevent weapons, which are aiding in the advancement of Houthi Rebel forces and furthering the potential for ethnically motivated violence to escalate, from entering the country. However the failure of the Houthi rebels to abide by the resolution has led to continued air strikes from the Saudi led coalition. The recent snub of UN held peace talks in Geneva by president Hadi further attests to the deteriorating situation and failing resolve of the UN and international community to aid in this humanitarian disaster.
President Hadi has stated that he will not attend the talks in Geneva until the Houthi rebels relinquish their controlled territory throughout Yemen. The talks, which were set to begin on May 28th, struggle to accomplish much of anything without the currently exiled Yemeni president in attendance. The failure of the UN to successfully address the growing violence in Yemen, or even be able to hold talks with necessary actors in attendance, has left the Yemeni people in a very vulnerable situation. A situation in which the United Nations estimates 500,000 people have been displaced while sectarian violence and divide has risen to dangerously high levels. It is crucial that the international community focus more on the prevention of genocide and local level violence and less on the need to have a favourable Sunni regime in power in Yemen. While airstrikes may be necessary in order to slow the advances of the Houthi rebels, the international community should encourage the Saudi focus to centre on its “Renewal of Hope” .
Focusing on the “Renewal of Hope” program is crucial for the prevention of violence and to curb the potential for genocide to occur between the warring sects. This is a primary focus of the operation, but the international community needs to encourage and support the Arab coalition to expand its humanitarian protection measures. Protecting the nearly half a million displaced people through safe camps and military support should be front and centre in a proper preventative program. This is the most vulnerable population for sectarian violence that could lead to ethnic cleansing or genocide. It is also very crucial to be aware that Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are often made up mostly of women and children. If this operation is really going to be a renewal of hope, it is vital that they provide hope for the people who need it most.