With a large and unwieldy global organisation such as the United Nations, it’s inevitable that there will be times when it seems as if, to use common parlance, the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing. And that certainly seems to be the case when it comes to the latest fundamentally flawed report prepared by the human rights secretariat on the current conflict in Yemen. The mission that has been sanctioned by the United Nations Security Council itself, and one that involves a coalition led by Saudi Arabia — and in which the UAE is proud to play a key role — to restore the legitimate government in Sana’a.
The report issued on Tuesday blamed coalition air strikes for casualties in Yemen, and it also accused Al Houthis of blocking aid deliveries, engaging in torture and firing missiles into Saudi Arabia. Realistically, it’s all too easy to pen reports from the comfort of desks far removed from the difficult situation on the ground. Those forces on the ground know only too well the reality there, one where progress is made extremely difficult by Al Houthis deliberately taking up positions in the midst of civilian clusters, in effect using them as human shields.
There is a reality too that because of the widespread chaos wrought by Al Houthis, large sections of Yemen’s population face difficulties in securing adequate food and supplies of clean water and access to medical treatment. Those are priorities for the international coalition that must also engage with terrorist elements such as Al Qaida and Daesh who are taking advantage of the vacuum created by the rebels in the first place.
Both the UAE and Saudi Arabia are committed to rebuilding Yemen, restoring its infrastructure and putting in place services, structures and security forces that together will ensure the long-term peace and security for our Arab brothers.
Perhaps the biggest and most glaring omission from this flawed UN report is that it fails to acknowledge the destabilising and dangerous role played by the regime in Tehran in Yemen. It is responsible for arming Al Houthis, turning them from a small dissatisfied cadre into a force armed with the capability of firing missiles into Saudi Arabia and lining international waterways with sophisticated sea mines. Tehran has armed, trained, supported and used every weapon in its arsenal to support its proxy force in Yemen. And it did so while signing an agreement with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and others while promising to promote peace.