The government of Yemen has agreed to a ceasefire with the Houthi
rebels that have plagued the country with sectarian warfare since 2004.
The agreement is seen as an important step in promoting Yemen's fragile security
and combating the terrorism that has taken root there
. A similar ceasefire in September quickly crumbled. But will this agreement hold? Within hours, a small group of Houthis killed
three Yemeni soldiers. Is Yemen ready for peace?
- Already Fraying Like Last Ceasefire Middle East blogger Gregg Carlstrom worries
about the Houthi attempt to kill Yemeni General Mohammed Abdullah
al-Qussi. "Qussi says the rebels also staged several other attacks in
Saada's Iqab district. As usual, none of these claims can be
independently confirmed. Mareb Press quotes
unnamed Yemeni military sources who say they're holding up their end of
the cease-fire. But the whole thing could quickly unravel: The last
cease-fire, in September, fell apart after both sides accused the other
of violating the truce."
- Houthis Unaware of Ceasefire So claims Yemen's interior minister, Mohammed al-Qawsi, talking to Reuters.
Reuters reports that Qawsi, "whose car was shot at by rebels, told
Reuters minor violations had occurred because not all rebel fighters
were aware of the ceasefire, but that the deal still held." They quote
him, "There are some small violations here and there, and there have
also been some violations by rebels outside the city of Saada."
- Great News for Peace, Bad News for Al-Qaeda The Washington Note's Steve Clemons explains,
"This is very significant on a number of fronts as it helps de-commit
significant military and economic resources Yemen is committing to deal
with insurgency problems in the North while simultaneously dealing with
growing al Qaeda related challenges in the South. This news will also
decrease tensions with Saudi Arabia -- and also neutralizes some
concerns about Iran animating Houthi misbehavior in the region to put
pressure on Saudi Arabia."
- The Opportunity and Risk Ahead Al Jazeera's Hashem Ahelbarra lays out
the significant challenges. "The Houthis should open main roads and
checkpoints, abandon mountains they have occupied for months, return
weapons captured from the army and free Saudi and Yemeni soldiers. In
exchange, the government will allow internally displaced people (IDPs)
to return home and rebuild destroyed areas and villages." But peace
could collapse at any time. "People fear retaliations and tribal
vendettas may set off a chain reaction across the north of the country."
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