With the latest reports out of the UN saying some 80% of the Yemeni population is now in need of humanitarian aid, Saudi warplanes continued to pound the country, and Saudi warships continue to enforce a blockade through which only a handful of ships have been allowed, delivering a pittance of the aid needed.
One would think this would add a new sense of urgency to ending the ongoing Saudi war against Yemen, but this apparently is not the case, with the pro-Saudi faction, the remnants of the former Hadi government, rejecting the idea of even having new peace talks at all.
The last round of peace talks with the Shi’ite Houthis ended last week rather unceremoniously, when Hadi negotiators attacked a Houthi press conference in Geneva, throwing shoes and the speakers and sparking a fist-fight. According to the UN, that was the only time during the entire week the two sides were even in the same room.
President Hadi resigned in January, and the Saudis insist on reinstalling him with this ongoing war. Hadi’s aides today insisted there was nothing to talk about until the Houthis, who control most of the country, are prepared to unilaterally surrender all the major cities to them.
The tactic is risky. Hadi was never a particularly popular ruler, installed at the behest of US and Saudi officials in a “single candidate vote.” That his faction is seen opposing the peace talks and backing a bloody Saudi war that’s killed thousands is likely to add to resentment against him.