Yemenis closer than ever to end of war in 2022
AL-MUKALLA: Yemenis will remember 2022 as the year that saw the longest hiatus in hostilities since the start of the war and the emergence of a new governing body that united the country’s competing groups.
UN envoy to Yemen Hans Grundberg said on April 1 that Yemen’s internationally recognized government and the Iran-backed Houthis had agreed to a two-month ceasefire that would involve the restoration from Sanaa airport, the authorization for oil tankers to enter the port of Hodeidah and the opening of highways in the city of Taiz and other provinces.
The statement came days after the Arab coalition stopped bombing Yemen in a bid to pave the way for peace.
Before the ceasefire, and as Grundberg shuttled between Yemen and regional towns to broker a truce, hundreds of Houthis died outside the town of Marib in fierce fighting with the then government. that they were trying to take control of the city in order to strengthen their position at the negotiating table.
Despite predictions that the ceasefire would be short-lived, the truce led to a significant drop in violence outside Marib, Taiz and other battlefields, while commercial planes eventually took off from Sanaa for the first time in years and tanker trucks started to arrive. the port of Hodeida.
On June 2, Grundberg said the parties had agreed to extend the ceasefire under the same terms, despite the Yemeni government’s complaint that the Houthis had failed to lift their siege of Taiz, a crucial condition. of the truce.
Two months later, Grundberg made a similar statement about the parties’ decision to extend the ceasefire for another two months. But in October, he said the parties had not extended the truce after the Houthis rejected a new proposal to open roads in Taiz and pay civil servants.
The UN and other international organizations said that between April and October, the number of war-related deaths was at its lowest level since the start of 2015.
New governing body
Former Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who took office in 2012 after an uncontested election, transferred his powers on April 7 to an eight-member Presidential Council led by Rashad Al-Alimi, the former Minister of the Interior.
The council brought together competing anti-Houthi groups, including pro-independence southerners, supporters of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, senior military officers and governors.
Ten days later, the council returned to the southern city of Aden, was sworn in before parliament, and established a military committee to unite opposing armed groups and military forces under its authority.
The formation of the council came days after the start of talks on Yemen in Riyadh, which brought together a large number of Yemeni political, religious, military, security and tribal forces to develop a roadmap for the nation under the auspices of the Gulf Cooperation Council. .
Fights and assassinations
Despite the relative calm on the battlefield in 2022, killings have taken place in Aden and Sanaa, as well as the Houthis’ bombardment of civilian areas in Taiz, and their cross-border drone and missile assaults on the United Arab Emirates. and Saudi Arabia.
In March, the Houthis launched drone attacks and fired missiles at Saudi oil and water desalination facilities.
The Houthis also attacked oil infrastructure in Abu Dhabi on April 17, killing three people and sparking global anger.
Yemeni experts said the Houthis launched their strikes against the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia in a bid to persuade them to end their military support for the Yemeni government, which expelled them from the southern province of Shabwa and was advancing towards the province of Marib.
Also in 2022, politicians, military personnel and journalists were killed in a series of bombings and drive-by shootings in both government-controlled Aden and Houthi-controlled Sanaa.
Brig. General Thabet Jawas, one of the army commanders during the six wars with the Houthis, was killed by a car bomb in Aden in March. In June, Saber Al-Haidari, a Yemeni journalist, was also killed in a bomb explosion in the city.
In Sanaa, unidentified men killed Supreme Court Justice Mohammed Hamran, 63, on September 1, days after abducting him from his home.
Former Yemeni ambassador and retired military commander Major General Dirham Noman was killed in his apartment in Sanaa on October 16.
Taking advantage of the respite from hostilities with the Houthis, Yemeni military and security forces in September launched a military offensive to dislodge al-Qaeda militants from their long-held strongholds in the southern provinces of Abyan and Shabwa.
For the first time in years, Yemeni troops have succeeded in the Mount Omaran region, which has long served as a haven for al-Qaeda, where militants have planned attacks, trained and recruited operatives and housed captives.
In October, the Houthis dashed hopes of brokering peace and ending the conflict by flying drones over government-controlled oil terminals in Hadramout and Shabwa.
As a result, the oil supply was cut off and the Yemeni government was forced into insolvency after losing its main source of revenue.
The UN estimated in December that more than 21 million Yemenis, out of a population of 32.6 million, would need humanitarian assistance in 2023.