Egypt participates in Ukraine International Travel, Tourism Exhibition    139 Palestinians killed in Israeli strikes on Gaza    Palestinian under attack in 73rd anniversary of Nakba Day    Egypt's Health Ministry launches awareness campaigns against COVID-19    Egypt partakes in drafting OECD Recommendations on AI    Palestine's Telecom Ministry names top social media supportive hashtags for maximum engagement    Egypt fines mobile operators EGP 20m for number portability violations    Sudan pledges to investigate killing of 2 protestors during peaceful sit-in    Grand Egyptian Museum finishes installing Tutankhamun's 3rd shrine    Egypt discovers several ancient tombs in Sohag's Al-Hamdiya necropolis    Egypt scales up readiness of hospitals nationwide for Eid Al-Fitr holidays    Egyptian hospitals in Sinai on alert amid Israeli aggression on Gaza    Egypt announces Thursday 1st day of Eid Al-Fitr    Nuweiba: Egypt's paradise of serenity    Egypt's current account deficit jumps to $7.6 bln in 1H of FY2020/21: CBE    Egypt's trade deficit down 1.2% to $3.34bn in February 2021: CAPMAS    Global economic recovery to improve debt service coverage ratios: Moody's    Egypt's Parliament discusses abolishing imprisonment for female debtors    India signs an agreement to buy 300,000 doses of Remdesivir from Eva Pharma    Egypt will locally manufacture first 2m Sinovac vaccine doses by June-end    2021 South East European Film Festival celebrates cinematic diversity of 18 countries    Turkey seeks to restore 'historic unity' with Egyptian people: Erdogan    Elneny's Arsenal targets 'remontada' in Europa League semi-finals    Zamalek eye return to victories at expense of Smouha in Egyptian Premier League    Al Ahly face injuries as they take on Al Ittihad Alexandria    Egypt buys 30 Rafale fighter jets from France    Direct flights between Russia and Egypt will resume in June, Ambassador    Egypt's Ahly is establishing a new stadium, expected to be 'sports complex'    Blinken presses Ethiopia's Abiy to ensure full withdrawal of Eritrean troops from Tigray    Forces opposed to Somali president control parts of Mogadishu    Nine people executed in Egypt over Kerdasa police killings in 2013    UEFA investigating Ibrahimovic's alleged ties to betting company    61 doctors died from coronavirus since start of April: Egypt's medical syndicate    Egypt targets 5.6% inflation rate in FY2020/21, 6% in FY2021/22    Egypt allocates EGP 132 bln to modernise railway system: Transport minister    Real Madrid not thinking about any Super League sanctions: Zidane    Total declares force majeure on Mozambique LNG after attacks    All the winners at the 93rd Academy Awards    Egypt's Ahly granted approval to build new stadium on Cairo outskirts    Aswan Int'l Women's Film Festival dedicates 5th edition to Kawthar Heikal    BREAKING: Egypt's information minister Osama Heikal resigns amid parliamentary criticism    'War was not Egypt's aim, but peace was the ultimate goal,' Sisi says on Sinai Liberation Day anniversary    Factbox: Key nominations for the 2021 Academy Awards    Old Cairo's Al-Fustat will be revamped on Egyptian President's directives    Veteran Egyptian journalist Makram Mohamed Ahmed passes away at 86    Allianz Egypt partners with IGNITE to equip brand ambassadors for 2021 Olympics    Hassan Allam consortium wins contract to manage, operate Grand Egyptian Museum    Seasoned Egyptian screenwriter Wahid Hamed dies at 76    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

A new peak in Yemen
Published in Ahram Online on 11 - 03 - 2021

Oil prices shot up to over $70 a barrel following multiple attacks on Saudi oil facilities in the east of the kingdom at the start of the week. The Iranian-backed Houthi militia in Yemen, after weeks of intensified drone and missile attacks, claimed responsibility.
The development belies hopes of a ceasefire and negotiations to end the Yemen war, a declared aim of the Joe Biden administration whose newly appointed special envoy to Yemen joined his UN counterpart. But the recent tension between Washington and Riyadh seems to have slowed down the push for a political solution in the war-torn country.
The Sunday attack on eastern Saudi Arabia takes the military escalation to new heights. Houthi attacks had targeted southern Saudi regions across the border from northern Yemen, an area controlled by the militia, with the Saudi provinces of Asir and Jazanbore bearing the brunt of the escalation in recent weeks.
But the latest attack targeted Dammam, and there have been reports of attacks on Jeddah, compromising the Gulf and Red Sea coasts respectively. The official Saudi Press Agency issued a statement saying the Royal Saudi Air Force intercepted Houthi attacks on a storage tank at Ras Tanura, one of the largest oil shipping ports in the world.
Later on Sunday, shrapnel from a ballistic missile was sighted in Dhahran, where state oil giant Aramco has its headquarters and thousands of employees and their families live. Though the attacks "did not result in any injury or loss of life or property", this is still a serious escalation.
The last attack on Aramco facilities in September 2019 led to a half in the production of almost half of Saudi Arabia's oil output. The Houthis also claimed responsibility for the attack, while Riyadh suspected Iran. According to the Houthis, the new attack targeting Aramco facilities involved more than a dozen armed drones and ballistic missiles. It was in response to the Saudi-led Coalition bombing the Yemeni capital Sanaa and other areas under Houthi control.
Meanwhile the Houthi militia is fighting fiercely for control of Marib, which is being defended by coalition-backed legitimate government forces. Some Yemeni sources told Al-Ahram Weekly that the Southern Transition Council (STC) forces are reluctant to join government forces in Marib.
Saudi Arabia brokered an agreement between the government and the STC more than a year ago, but its implementation has faced many challenges. The main obstacle was the refusal of the STC to give up a larger share of the Saudi-backed government to the Muslim Brotherhood affiliate Islah party. The STC controls most of southern Yemen and hopes to secede from northern Yemen, or at least achieve some kind of autonomy in any future political settlement.
But no such settlement is in sight. The hype about ending the war is quieting down as Washington prioritises the nuclear deal with Iran, and it remains unclear how large a part Gulf concerns will play in the relevant negotiations.
One former American diplomat has suggested there may be discussion of "an Iranian commitment not to interfere in its neighbours' internal affairs". Including Iran's ballistic missile programme in a new deal, which Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies have been calling for, is not yet guaranteed. At a time when the UN and international humanitarian organisations are decrying the lack of funds to alleviate the human disaster in Yemen, what is more, military escalation looks like it will continue.
A virtual conference held by the UN and co-hosted by Sweden and Switzerland on 1 March to raise $3.85 billion to help civilians in Yemen fell short of its goal, securing only $1.7 billion in pledges, which UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described as "disappointing". He added, "millions of Yemeni children, women and men desperately need aid to live. Cutting aid is a death sentence."
In a subsequent statement, Guterres said, "funding was less than what we received for the humanitarian response plan in 2020 and a billion dollars less than what was pledged at the conference we held in 2019." Close to half a million children under age of five in Yemen face the threat of death from malnutrition and disease. Millions are displaced by the war and live in drastically dire conditions. The latest military escalations have only made things worse.
Yemenis feel more and more abandoned by the world community. The glimpse of hope of ending the war and providing aid to millions crushed by poverty is fading. One anonymous Yemeni citizen seemed to describe the situation accurately when he said, "we are being forgotten and left to die, if not by war then of famine and diseases.
Political settlement is not the concern of anybody, and the world is cutting humanitarian aid. We are left to the warring parties, poverty and sickness. All are turning away not to feel the stain of shame on humanity's forehead".
*A version of this article appears in print in the 11 March, 2021 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

Clic here to read the story from its source.