Exiled Yemen president Mansour Hadi and his government announced on Sunday that they will not participate in planned UN peace talks. Hadi insists that Houthis must withdraw from any areas they seized during their offensive, including the capital Sanaa.
This and other demands are part of a UN resolution passed in April. Hadi has always taken the view that any peace talks should simply discuss ways of implementing the UN demands. Peace talks for Hadi would more appropriately be called "surrender talks." The Houthis have already agreed at least in part with the UN resolution in order to achieve a political solution. UN envoy Ismail Ahmed says the Houthis have accepted most of the UN resolution. Hazsan Zaid, president of the Houthi-allied Haq party, claimed accepting the UN resolution is not the concern but rather the problem is its implementation:
An earlier statement about the peace talks from the UN also indicated all sides had agreed to abide by a Security Council resolution that among other things called for the Houthis to pull out of major cities as well as return arms seized. Naturally, the Houthis want something in return. The Hadi government and the Saudi coalition seem convinced that they can defeat the Houthis militarily.
There had been no talk of a ceasefire while the peace talks went on this time, and the Saudi coalition appears to be massing forces for a march towards the capital Sanaa. Hadi and the Saudis may be simply reaching for excuses not to join the talks while they press on with the battle or try to force an immediate surrender by the Houthis. Hadi talked of the Houthis being required not only to accept the UN resolution but to agree to its unconditional implementation, better phrased as "unconditional surrender" Latest reports indicate that the Saudi-led offensive has already begun and air attacks on Houthis have intensified.
UN Human Rights chief Zeid al-Hussein called for an independent inquiry into violations of human rights by both sides in the conflict. The Saudi-led coalition has used cluster bombs in northern Yemen, and bombed civilian areas in some cities, as well as targeted port facilities in Hodeida occupied by the Houthis. The port is a key area for UN delivery of aid to Houthi-controlled areas. The Houthis are accused of shelling civilian areas. Al-Hussein claimed that more than 2,000 civilians had been killed and another 4,000 wounded in the conflict. He also said 21 million people or 80 percent of the population needed humanitarian aid.
Al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula(AQAP) has been able to turn the conflict to its advantage. It has extended considerably the range of territory it controls and forged close alliances with various Sunni tribal leaders to battle the Houthis. The US has continued sporadic drone attacks on the group but the Saudi coalition forces have not bombed nor even joined battle with AQAP. Apparently, they see the battle against the Houthis as the first order of business. However, once the Houthis are cleared from an area AQAP may advance. It appears to already have control of a part of the port of Aden. The many foreign troops now in Yemen will have problems with the Southern Movement militia as well. They often clashed with the Hadi government when it was in power. Now with the help of the foreign troops they have control of Aden and other parts of the south. They will demand autonomy or even separation of the south as their reward for driving out the Houthis. Even if the Saudis eventually are able to take most of Yemen from the Houthis their problems will be far from over. As indicated in the appended video, earlier the Hadi government had said it would attend the planned peace talks.
The Houthis have accepted to withdraw their forces and hand in the arms they seized, but want to ensure they take place in a manner that doesn't keep Yemen lawless. Withdrawing forces with no replacement for security will allow al Qaeda to take control, as they did in southern provinces."