Will Saudi Arabia accept Ansar Allah's truce, or will it gamble?
Saudi coalition has circumvented the Ansar Allah truce by declaring on Tuesday the cessation of military operations in Yemen in response to Gulf Cooperation Council's request, not the Ansar Allah peace initiative.
Following Yemeni retaliatory attacks against Saudi Arabia on March 25 that set Aramco facility in Jeddah and other vital objects in the south of the Kingdom on fire, President of Yemen’s Supreme Political Council Mahdi Al-Mashat offered Saudi Arabia a tentative truce on the condition that Saudi Arabia ends its blockade and airstrikes and withdraws coalition forces from Yemen.
On Saturday evening, Al-Mashat announced the suspension of retaliatory missile and drone attacks and all military actions against Saudi Arabia for three days.
“This is a sincere invitation and practical step to rebuild trust and take all the sides from the arena of talks to the arena of acts,” Al-Mashat said.
“And we are ready to turn this declaration into a final and permanent commitment if Saudi Arabia commits to ending the siege and stopping its raids on Yemen once and for all,” he added.
Ansar Allah leader Mr. Abdul-Malik Al-Houthi warned on Monday the Saudi-led coalition against losing the opportunity provided by the three-day truce, calling on Saudi Arabia and its allies to agree to a permanent ceasefire. “You will be regretful if you miss the chance,” Al-Houthi warned.
The Saudi-led coalition announced on the late night of Tuesday the cessation of "militarily operations inside Yemen," starting Wednesday morning but in response to the GCC call for warring parties to cease hostilities, and not in response to the Ansar Allah peace initiative.
"The Saudis want to appear that they are the ones calling the shots. They calculated that if they had responded directly to Ansar Allah's call for peace, it would have made them look weak," John Kiriakou, American journalist and former intelligence officer, told Al Mayadeen English. "By ignoring Ansar Allah and then saying the same thing--but on their own timetable--they make it look as if they are in charge of the situation, even when they are not."
The GCC is hosting Yemeni allied factions in a summit that started Wednesday in Riyadh attended by US and UN envoys to Yemen. The summit is boycotted by Ansar Allah because it is hosted in enemy territories; Ansar Allah wants it to be held in a neutral state that's not part of the war on Yemen.
The Ansar Allah truce came one day following the attack that put the Aramco facility in Jeddah on a fire that lasted for hours before being extinguished.
"I believe that the Saudis feel as though they are being 'killed by a thousand cuts,' as the saying goes," said Kiriakou. "One attack on a Saudi oil facility does not do much damage. Two attacks are not a problem. But 50 attacks of 100 attacks damage Saudi military morale."
"The Saudis know that they cannot withstand the same kind of punishment that the Yemenis can. And so they made a calculation that a ceasefire was in their interests."
Late Wednesday and two hours after Ansar Allah's three-day truce expired, the Supreme Political Council in Sanaa published a statement expressing regret for the lack of response from the coalition of aggression to its initiative, stating that there will be "no peace without lifting the blockade."
'Royal monarchy are irreligious sham'
Colin Cavell, a political analyst and professor of political science, said that after seven years of war, the Saudis are intent on attempting to restore their control over Yemen through the summit held in Riyadh.
"Consequently, they continue to back their puppet forces titularly headed by the ousted dictator Hadi while working with the United Arab Emirates and supporting the UAE’s efforts to establish an anti-Ansarullah force in southern Yemen to create a pincer vice to defeat the Yemeni revolutionary forces," Cavell told Al Mayadeen English.
He added, "The main imperialist powers in the world—the US and the UK—are providing weapons, aircraft, logistical and combat training, financial aid, and intelligence guidance to the Saudi-UAE forces, for a Yemeni victory on the Arabian Peninsula that will be the beginning of the end of the brutal Saudi monarchical dictatorship that has been the source of death, destruction, and mayhem for decades throughout MENA region."
Asked if Saudi Arabia can accept the UN-led Ramadan ceasefire or will gamble given that Ansar Allah has welcomed the ceasefire in case the Kingdom lifts the siege, Cavell said Saudi Arabia and its King are stubborn and "pretend to be 'the custodian of the two holy mosques in Mecca and Medina', but the Saudi royal monarchy is irreligious sham western puppets whose main job is to keep the oil flow to the western imperialist powers unimpeded" and does not care that Yemenis can fast Ramadan in peace.
"Their recognition of Ramadan is solely to continue to hoodwink the Arabian peoples into believing they possess some moral authority which they do not."
'Ansar Allah is the government of Yemen'
Asked if the so-called GCC-sponsored Yemeni-Yemeni talks in Riyadh can bring peace to Yemen without Ansar Allah attending it, Kiriakou said, "I don't believe there is any chance of bringing peace to Yemen without ALL parties being involved."
"Whether the Saudis like it or not, Ansar Allah is the government of Yemen," Kiriakou told Al Mayadeen English. "The Saudis must accept this reality."
Saudi Arabia announced the cessation of military operations in Yemen without lifting its nearly four months severe sea and air blockade on Yemen, making its ceasefire a trickery.
"I'm not sure that I would call it trickery, so much as I would call it a half-step. If the Saudis truly want this war to be over, they must stop not just their air attacks and their support for what is now an illegitimate government, but also their sea and air blockade," said Kiriakou.
"It is this blockade that has killed so many thousands of innocent civilians, women, children, and elderly, and which has starved the country and deprived it of medications. The blockade is a war crime. Peace can only be attained when ALL hostilities end," Kiriakou added.
'US, UK test fighter jets in Yemen war'
Saudi Arabia last Friday witnessed a large-scale military operation dubbed Operation Break Siege III that hit vital infrastructure deep inside Saudi Arabia like Jizan and Aramco petroleum depot facility in Jeddah.
"Certainly the Saudis can withstand more attacks like the one that hit Saudi Aramco. But they cannot withstand such attacks forever," said Kiriakou.
"Again, even if the attacks don't take Saudi oil offline for long periods of time, they damage Saudi morale," Kiriakou explained.
"And, frankly, Western countries are going to be upset that the Saudis cannot get their affairs in order, leading to sudden spikes in oil prices."
Meanwhile, the UN and US envoys to Yemen try to secure a Ramadan truce aimed at allowing fuel ships and some flights into Ansar Allah-held areas during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Reuters reported citing sources familiar with the matter.
"I don't think the US and UK are preventing the Saudis from accepting [Ansar Allah] truce. In the end, the truce benefits everybody. BUT, we must consider how many millions of dollars in weapons sales the US and UK make from Saudi Arabia," said Kiriakou.
"And perhaps even more importantly, the US and UK can test their fighter jets, weapons, and materiel in combat conditions through the Saudis in Yemen."