JournalismPakistan.com September 1, 2015
With other nations joining the coalition it strengthens their resolve to put Houthis on the backfoot. The retaking of Sana’a not only assumes significance as a major military victory but is a clear indicator that the combined international military force is registering tangible gains.
It will not be easy and the build up to the offensive is being done in a systematic and strategic manner. The need to keep one’s own casualties to a minimum in an urban terrain and be mindful of the need to keep the civilian population safe calls for great courage, commitment and tactics based on patience and a very high standard of military discipline.
When it is again freed of the hold Sanaa will assume a deeper role than the merely symbolic as the capital of Yemen.
It has taken guts and sacrifices that have been made to begin the end of the Siege of Sana’a. The loyalist troops have already begun to make inroads and are putting the gun to the Houthi enclaves. Backed by air power the pro-government push is now committed to an all out conflict. Yes, there will be casualties. Civilians will die and there will be many hundreds displaced. But they are already embattled and living in captivity and at the whim of the Houthi rebels.
As the battles in various townships intensify as they have been these past few weeks and the figure of 16,000 victims of the war will increase the call by Saudi Arabia for a political solution and the implementation of Article 2216 is the best option. Placed on the table by 14 to 0 ayes and one abstaining vote from Russia the resolution, in brief, demands that the Houthis immediately and unconditionally: end the use of violence; withdraw their forces from all areas they have seized, including the capital Sanaa; relinquish all additional arms seized from military and security institutions, including missile systems; cease all actions that are exclusively within the authority of the legitimate Government of Yemen; refrain from any provocation or threats to neighboring States, including through acquiring surface-surface missiles.
As a precursor to a durable peace and the sensible alternative to violence and open war it makes sense. Coupled with the desperate need that the average global citizen fails to comprehend is the agony of the men, women and children without food, medical aid and other basic amenities.
Every country in the region and the world at large through the UN must exercise its influence to avoid the engagement by battle for Sanaa and place pressure on the Houthis to see the value of a negotiated peace where it is being treated as an entity and invited to the negotiating table. It is a far more pragmatic option than being ultimately beaten by a superior force determined to get Sanaa away from the control of the Houthis.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
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