By: Kayhan Int'l Staff Writer
It is tragic to hear the United Nations criticize the formation of a new government in Yemen.
The world body which is supposed to criticize and hold to account Saudi Arabia and its partners in crime for invading and occupying Yemen, or use its influence to end the unnecessary conflict, has instead criticized the Ansarullah movement for helping to form the "national salvation” government.
The "national salvation” government was sworn in on Tuesday after the Houthi Ansarullah movement and their allies announced its formation on the previous day. The new government replaced the Supreme Political Council, which was established by the Houthis and the party of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh earlier in the year.
Meaning, there should be no room for concern at the UN, because Ansarullah has given assurances that the new government will not hinder UN-brokered peace talks in any way at all.
Besides, this has nothing to do with "narrow ambitions” and everything to do with national unity and resolve to put Yemen’s national interests above partisan ambitions, take immediate steps to end political divisions, and address the country’s security, humanitarian and economic challenges. Now if this hasn’t had the blessing of the UN yet, it’s not Ansarullah’s fault.
However, that doesn’t change the fact that the UN still has some responsibility to act. It should help the new government calm the conflict before it becomes another intractable killing field. The UN and its members have the opportunity to learn from recent missteps in the region and take advantage of the new government that only wants to offer a window to prioritize diplomacy over military action in a bid to shift worsening dynamics across the war-torn country.
No doubt the UN’s criticism of the new government is not helpful at all. It could easily turn Yemen into another Syria, an intractable, grinding conflict that destroys one nation, while implicating others in a conflict that has no good possible outcomes.
Under international law, therefore, the UN has to recognise the legitimacy of the new government, which by the way happens to have the majority support among the ordinary citizens.
This way, the UN could identify points of entry for diplomacy and de-escalation, with the long-term goal of creating new forums for dialogue between the conflict parties. With so many key players dragged into the conflict, military action is unlikely to resolve the conflict there, but an effective political process - which depends on United Nations support for the new government - might reverse a dangerous escalation.
Long story short, all the key members at the UN have in front of them Libya and Syria, vivid examples of what happens in an entrenched war zone in which the combatants and the international community refuse to engage in diplomacy.
With a new government in Sana’a, the UN is in a position where it can negotiate along a complimentary line of diplomatic inducements. The UN should take this opportunity with more clarity and immediacy than it has at other junctures since the Saudi-led, U.S.-backed war began in March 2015.