Why Yemen will have to keep waiting for an end to its devastating civil war
THU, 05/06/2021 - 17:43
A top U.S. envoy was part of a parade of international diplomats officials who breezed through the Middle East over the last week to take part in talks aimed at hatching a political solution to Yemen's gruesome civil war. There was no solution, but one official told CBS News there at least appears to be a growing appreciation of the complexity of the problem.
Every night after they break their dawn-to-dusk fast for the holy month of Ramadan, many Yemenis join in all-night, often heated discussions about how to end the war that has torn their country apart for more than six years. Yemeni journalist Hamdi Albokari led one of those discussions on the Clubhouse social media app this week, and the link between Yemen's crisis and another standoff in the region was a major topic of debate.
Yemen's war and the Iran nuclear deal
"We know that there are negotiations concerning the Iranian nuclear deal happening in Vienna, and any progress happening there will be reflected on the situation here in Yemen," Albokari told CBS News.
The talks in Muscat, the capital of Yemen's neighbor Oman, wrapped up after a week without any tangible progress. Two linked factors may be standing in the way: The war between Iran-backed Houthi rebels and Yemen's Western-allied government is complicated and still raging, and the Houthis' benefactors in Tehran remain locked in a separate, but equally thorny set of negotiations with Washington over their own nuclear program.
The Houthis refused to meet face-to-face with the negotiators in Oman over the last week. A source close to the negotiations told CBS News they had been urged not to talk directly with the U.S. or Saudi delegations. Saudi Arabia, Iran's arch rival, has led the war against the Houthis in Yemen on behalf of the country's beleaguered government.
The source told CBS News that the American delegation had at least gained "a better understanding of the complexities in Yemen" over the last week, and there was a clear sense that "they are determined, this time, to succeed."
"Right now, the Americans are still in a phase of exploring what each party wants," said Albokari, the Yemeni journalist.