Yemeni pro-government forces are seen at Mukalla port, southwestern Yemen, on November 29, 2018. Image Credit: AFP

It has become difficult to determine the outcome of the ongoing crisis in Yemen, but I, among many others, am optimistic.

There are many indications that seem to signal the desire of some foreign powers for the crisis to continue, so that the catastrophic bloodshed, famine and spread of diseases can go on, along with the displacement of children from hundreds of schools that were shut down by the rebel militias. This will set the Yemenis back by decades, if not more.

A modern civil state, behaving in a civilised manner, is not only a good thing, it is also a necessity. It places Yemen, represented by its legitimate government, in direct contrast to the thuggish behaviour of the Houthi militias.

Pertinently, responding to proposals made by the United Nations just for the sake of appearing civilised is akin to deceiving the world. It sometimes makes it difficult for observers to understand what is really happening behind the scenes. Observers are excused in this scenario if they were to form a certain impression. The UN’s resolutions and proposals, however, do not always side with the interests of those in the right during times of conflict or war. In this case, it is the Yemeni people, who are defending the collapse of their state and its institutions. In this case, it is the Yemeni people, who are defending their state and its institutions. Their capability in facing the militias, rebelling against the internationally recognised legitimate government, is there for all to see.

There are several examples one can site, but a prominent one would be the several resolutions issued by the UN, regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. How many of those resolutions benefited the Palestinians, whose rights have been violated during the past 70 years?

The decision to halt combat operations for two weeks in Yemen is meant to lay the groundwork for peace talks in Sweden between all Yemeni parties. The legitimate Yemeni government’s response and approval for the peace talks was a source of happiness for the Al Houthi militias, who were militarily defeated. There is no doubt that there is a huge difference between those who are fighting for Yemen and its people and their future, and others like Al Houthis who are embracing clerical beliefs that call for vengeance against the state and its people.

The latest talks are considered to be the most peaceful method for ending the crisis and bloodshed. These talks are the result of immense pressure applied by the international community. There is not a lot of optimism surrounding these talks, considering that this is not the first time that negotiations were held between the Yemeni government and the rebels. Previous attempts have resulted in resounding failure. This is also not the first time when the rebels have set preconditions to ensure that the negotiation process fails before it even begins.

Moreover, many UN envoys have failed to resolve the Yemen problem. The efforts of current UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, were also thwarted during the last round of talks in Switzerland. The delegation from Al Houthi militia actually failed to show up for the talks, even after they promised Griffith that they would attend.

Instead of focusing on the fate of Hodeidah and its ports, Griffiths should have touched on key issues, such as the Yemeni crisis and smuggling of weapons and drugs. He should also have confirmed with the militias on whether their decisions are their own or that of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

Encircling Iran with the help of the United States and intensifying strikes by the Yemeni army and the Coalition against Al Houthis in Yemen will be the decisive factor in the Yemeni crisis. It will weaken the rebels on different levels, and only after that can actual negotiations actually take place.

Observers are wondering whether the talks in Sweden will be serious or merely a vacation for those participating. The common perception seems to indicate that the negotiations are merely an opportunity to temporarily stop the war and catch a breath, rather than put an end to the crisis. If that is true, then it would be unfortunate. As for Mr Griffiths, one hopes his efforts do not come to a naught. Many political analysts are presuming that the talks in Sweden will bear fruit, but they warn that failing to reach a resolution will be different to previous failures, because sooner or later, the Yemeni legitimate government and the Coalition may not grant Al Houthis any more excuses or chances.

Mohammad Hassan Al Harbi is a renowned columnist and author whose writings cover various fields ranging from media studies to education.