First Published: 2017-10-11

ICG says Yemen rebel rift opens door to Saudi-brokered peace
International Crisis Group says Saudi Arabia and its allies should turn political rift between Saleh and his Huthi allies into ceasefire, ensure the rebels cut all ties with Iran.
Middle East Online

Saleh and Huthis jointly control Yemen's northern highlands and the capital Sanaa

DUBAI - A rift in Yemen's rebel camp has opened the door for Saudi Arabia to mediate in a conflict that has claimed thousands of lives, the International Crisis Group said Wednesday.

Compounded by poverty, cholera and looming mass starvation, the Yemen war has claimed more than 8,500 lives since Saudi Arabia and its allies joined the government's fight against the Iran-backed Huthi rebel alliance in 2015.

In a report, ICG said Saudi Arabia and its allies -- including the US and Britain -- should move fast to "capitalise on a division that they have encouraged".

It said they should turn the political rift between Yemeni strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh and his Huthi allies into a ceasefire and ensure the rebels cut all ties with Shiite Iran.

"The timing is ripe but the opportunity easily could slip away," ICG said.

While both parties in the Yemen war have been criticised for neglecting to protect civilians, the Saudi-led coalition has come under particularly harsh criticism for the deaths of civilians in air raids.

The United Nations now plans to send war crimes investigators to Yemen, despite strong resistance from Saudi Arabia.

For decades, Riyadh backed former president Saleh, who ruled Yemen from its unification in 1990 until he resigned under pressure in 2012, ceding power to his vice-president Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.

But in 2014, Saleh aligned himself with the Huthis, against whom he had fought six wars when he was president. The two now jointly control Yemen's northern highlands and the capital Sanaa.

In August, rumoured tensions between Saleh and rebel chief Abdulmalik al-Huthi exploded in public, with the ex-president slamming his allies as militias and the Huthis openly threatening "backstabbers".

Ties between Saleh and Huthi remain tense.

 

Baghdad says mission accomplished in Kurd operation

US-backed forces announce Raqa recapture

New UN envoy in Rabat to restart talks on WSahara

Iranian guards commander killed in Syria

Jobless Tunisians seek new migration routes to Europe

Iraq calls on BP to help develop Kirkuk oil

Israeli forces raid Palestinian media offices linked to Hamas

French parliament is set to pass new anti-terror law

Israel says no to Palestine talks until Hamas disarms

IS territory down to almost 10% of 2014 ‘caliphate’

Over 3000 civilians flee Raqa under deal with jihadists

Ideology and objectives clash at Deir Ezzor

Erdogan gets Polish backing on Turkey's EU bid

Fitch Ratings says threat to Qatar liquidity fading

Iran warns EU against new nuclear deal conditions

Turkey activists face trial next week under terror charges

Netanyahu presses Russian defence minister on Iran

Hollande slams Trump's hardline stance on Iran nuclear deal

Iraq takes control of two key Kirkuk oil fields

US-backed forces retake Raqa state hospital

Divided Iraq tests limited US influence

Iraqi forces seize Kirkuk governor's office

Iraqi forces seize airport, oil field from Kurds

Saudi Arabia sets conditions to role in Syria reconstruction

In tougher approach, US offers multimillion-dollar reward for Hezbollah operatives

EU ministers join forces in support of Iran deal

Batteries, tape to thank for defeating jihadists in Raqa

Palestinian Authority top official visits Gaza

Israel strikes Syrian anti-aircraft battery in response to shots

Qatar starts to feel pinch from sanctions

Last days of Raqa battles ‘toughest fighting yet’

Omani role has helped Iran but may not do much in crisis with US

Head of IS in Southeast Asia dead

Mogadishu twin bomb death toll at 276

Gazans hope Palestinian reconciliation ends their woes

US-backed forces announce ‘final phase’ of Raqa recapture

Suspicion of football corruption shows limits of Qatar’s ‘soft power’

Schools closed on first day of term in rebel-held Yemen

Iraqi forces in standoff with Kurds in oil-rich Kirkuk

Protests in southern Morocco over water shortages

Iran’s Zarif says Trump speech in violation of nuclear deal

In Egypt, illiteracy rates down but problem remains

ISIS regroups in Libya amid jihadist infighting

Egypt’s Nation’s Future Party seeks to build on youth vote

Qatar freezes assets of royal member over Gulf crisis