Hope as Yemen Ceasefire Begins, First Fuel Ship Arrives as Hodeidah Port

After Past Disappointments, Many Fear Ceasefire Won't Last

On Saturday evening, the Ramadan ceasefire began in Yemen with signs of relative success. With years since the last truce, many Yemenis have high hopes that they’ll get a break from conflict, but the ugly history of the war has many also fearing it won’t last.

Efforts to broker a month-long ceasefire took until the last moment, and ended with a deal for two months. Early reports were that there had been violations of the ceasefire on both sides, but that hasn’t been confirmed, and indications are that the truce is holding, at least more or less.

Interested parties are issuing a series of statements, mostly upbeat, about the progress that is at least possible in the near future. The big hope is that confidence-building could lead to a new peace process, something Yemen badly needs.

That is entirely speculative, but for right now, the first fuel ship has reportedly docked at al-Hodeidah Port, and getting more aid, especially food, fuel, and medicine, are the near-term priorities while everyone tries to keep the calm, and hopes to build on it.

The Saudi-led coalition invaded Yemen over seven years ago with an eye toward reinstalling President Hadi, even though Hadi’s term in office had ended. Saudi officials still maintain that Hadi is the rightful president, in that he was sort of elected a decade ago and no one else has been since.

The war has gone on far longer than anyone expected, and there is interest from several groups to find some sort of negotiated settlement. Heavy fighting has precluded such talks, but a truce might be the opening everyone was waiting for.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.