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The Yemeni Crisis and Obstacles Facing Peace Process

Session VI-08, sponsored by Organized under the auspices of the Mokha Center for Strategic Studies and Washington Center for Yemeni Studies, 2022 Annual Meeting

On Friday, December 2 at 4:00 pm

Panel Description
Ending the conflict in Yemen through a peace process has proven to be a problematic endeavor despite assumptions of its feasibility. While it has become common to assume that there is no military end to Yemen's conflict, the lack of a political and diplomatic solution prolongs the suffering of millions of Yemenis whose basic humanitarian needs are not met. The inability of the 2018 UN-brokered Stockholm agreement to build confidence among the conflict parties as intended has arguably led to maintaining the status quo and prolonging the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen. This failure of multiple UN and International mediators to help Yemenis resolve the conflict is rooted in misunderstandings and miscalculations of Yemen's war, as well as the desire to achieve quick peace gains rather than a durable or sustainable comprehensive solution. Furthermore, assumptions that Yemen’s conflict will end with the withdrawal of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates do not address the internal conflicts in Yemen and the Houthis’ violence. Unfortunately, the ongoing conflict in and around the city of Marib, which had further exacerbated the humanitarian crisis, has made it clear that ending the role of the Gulf in Yemen's conflict would not automatically result in peace as it would leave the Houthi rebels and their Iranian patrons in a position of power on Northern areas. In the meantime, Yemen's internal dynamics and grievances are compounding during the current conflict and are presenting a further challenge to the success of the negotiations. From political and economic corruption to human rights abuses and violations of tribal norms, which affect the trajectory of peace in Yemen. This panel will examine Yemen's internal political, legal, and socioeconomic dynamics and their impact on driving or hindering the peace process. By shedding light on the internal strife of the Yemeni community and the actors that represent them in the conflict, whether under the control of the Houthi insurgency or the internationally recognized government of Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, the panel aims to demonstrate that the internationally-driven peace processes will continue to face failure due to their inability to reconcile the local dynamics with international and regional calculations.
Political Science
  • The current armed conflict in Yemen has destroyed the principal rights of the people, including the right to life, the right to justice, the right of access to information and the right of freedom of expression. The result of this situation was horrible abuses and violation of basic human rights, which pushed thousands of politicians, activists, journalists and regular civilians to a tragic detention center of the warring parties in Yemen. In this paper, I will focus on the deadly arrest and out-of-law imprisonment for civilians during the ongoing Yemeni armed conflict and its impacts on political and civilian life. This paper will highlight the issue of illegal detention on a political background which faced thousands of Yemenis through the 8 years of the armed conflict so far and the horrific situation of the detention centers which lead to the death of dozens of detainees due to brutal torture. The paper also will try to propose ideas for discussion for explaining this complexity of Yemen's human rights situation, as well as discussing the possibilities of campaigning for advocacy for the Yemeni victims of detention and torture globally.
  • The armed conflict in Yemen has entered the threshold of its eighth year, without tangible indications of the end of the Yemeni crisis, given the many militaries, political and economic complications, and regional interventions in its tracks and course, in addition to the set of interests that warlords and parties to the conflict derive from the continuity of this war that has created massive destruction in all walks of life. There is no doubt that the regional political rapprochement, whose features have begun to surface, especially between regional countries battling for influence, may play a role in resolving the Yemeni crisis, but it remains insufficient to end the armed conflict in Yemen unless there is an integrated vision among the region’s regimes, to achieve a solid and lasting peace and comprehensive reconciliation in Yemen. Especially since the war in Yemen has become a hybrid in which the ideologically and politically contradictory local and regional forces overlap, which made the Yemeni crisis not remain in place and become more complex with the prolongation of the war, without a clear vision of the parameters of the Yemeni future. The current conflict in Yemen has entered a very complex stage, after the failure of all regional and international efforts, during the past seven years. As it failed to create any rapprochement between the parties to the conflict. Particularly if this conflict continued at this pace and with these complexities, would push Yemen into a long-term phase of the civil war, which no one can predict its end and future consequences. If one of the parties has not been able to resolve it militarily in its favor, and all efforts to force the warring parties to sit at the negotiating table have failed to preserve what can be left of the parts of Yemen map in the future. This paper will focus on these political complications in Yemen, the consequences of the current war, and the prospects for the Yemeni future.
  • International peace brokers have attempted to resolve Yemen's conflict through multiple peace initiatives in good faith. However, all of the internationally-brokered seven initiatives did not meet their expectations. From the Peace and Partnership Agreement in September 2014, up until the "Riyadh Agreement" in November 2019, agreements continued to fall short as they were driven externally, not internally. Unfortunately, slow peace initiatives have often been unable to cope with the acceleration of field events on the ground. These failures are rooted in the disconnect between the international desire for peace and the local realities of conflict. This paper examines the factors that led to the inability to find a durable political solution to the crisis, the obstacles faced in implementing these solutions, and what resulted from their failure to achieve any substantive progress. The study analyzes the reasons that led to the non-implementation of agreements over the past decade and potential obstacles that will face any upcoming mediation process.
  • The ongoing conflict in Yemen has resulted in the fragmentation of the county including the justice system. Also, the war has contributed to an increase in individual disputes; the deterioration of living and economic conditions has led to a significant rise in personal status cases, including domestic violence, divorce, and alimony.