Mark Collins – Yemen Peace Talks (good luck); Big US Air Help to Coalition

Further to this post two months ago.

Bloody Yemen Update, With US Angle

one is not optimistic about talks achieving much (what does Iran think?) and one is very surprised at the extent of the direct US assistance to the anti-Houthi coalition–at Foreign Policy’sSituation Report“:

The Yemeni government and Houthi rebels will kick off a round of peace talks in Switzerland next week, after the warring sides appeared ready to accept a cease-fire in their nine-month battle for control of the country. A previous attempt to broker a deal fell apart in June when the U.N.’s Special Envoy for Yemen couldn’t get the two sides to sit at the same table. What started as a civil war has become a multinational air and ground war that pits the Iranian-backed Houthis against warplanes from Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E. and their allies, as well as ground troops from those two countries as well as hundreds of soldiers from Egypt, Qatar and Sudan.

FP has reported on Washington’s involvement in the fight, which includes U.S. air tankers flying hundreds of refueling missions to keep those bombers airborne. As of mid-November, U.S. planes had flown almost 500 refueling sorties to top off the tanks of coalition warplanes 2,500 times, according to numbers provided by the Defense Department. The American flights have totaled approximately 4,000 flying hours while delivering over 17 million lbs. of fuel…

Er, wow.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds


6 thoughts on “Mark Collins – Yemen Peace Talks (good luck); Big US Air Help to Coalition”

  1. Economist round-up”

    Houthis, Saudis and jihadis
    The three-way war in Yemen is not going well

    IF EVER a war caused pointless death and destruction, it is the one in Yemen. The Houthis, a rebel force, ousted the government from Sana’a, the capital, earlier this year but are nowhere near their aim of ruling the country. The government has only the most tenuous hold over areas it retains or has liberated from the Houthis. A Saudi-led military campaign to reinstate Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, the deeply unpopular president, has only added to the carnage.

    Amid this, the country has provided fertile turf for various groups of jihadists. On December 6th an offshoot of Islamic State (IS) said it was responsible for the bomb that killed Jaafar Muhammad Saad, the governor of the southern city of Aden. The government recently won back Aden from the Houthis, but its motley crew of allied fighters has failed to secure the place. Officials who hoped to govern from the port city have been too scared to make more than brief visits.
    In this section

    The main group that now claims to hold the IS franchise in Yemen is relatively new, but it has carried out a string of suicide bombings against both the internationally recognised government and the Houthis. It has filled the vacuum left by the decline of Yemen’s longer-established Sunni terrorists, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

    The most potent remaining franchise of al-Qaeda was dealt a blow by the killing of its leader, Nasir al-Wuhayshi, by an American drone in June. Yet although their commander is no more, the jihadists are far from finished. AQAP has recently seized two southern cities, including Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan governorate, only 50km north-east of Aden.

    In a little over nine months of war Yemen has gone from terrible to worse. The death toll is now thought to have passed 6,000 and food, always in short supply, is getting scarcer. Roads, schools, shops and houses have been destroyed in battle or bombed to rubble. Aid workers complain that their warnings fall on deaf ears, and the international coalition is making things worse…”

    Mark Collins

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