A year after the Stockholm agreement … what has been really achieved in Yemen?
A full year has passed since the “Stockholm” agreement signing, between the legitimate Yemeni government and the Houthi militia on December 13th, 2018, under the United Nations supervision, the stumbling and lack of implementation is still the master of the situation, in light of the continued prevarication of the Houthis and their lack of commitment to any of the agreement terms.
Political observers believe that this agreement turned into a stumbling block to any comprehensive political settlement in Yemen, due to the lack of the Houthi militias’ commitment, as usual, in implementing the agreements.
The Stockholm agreement, which was strengthened by the Security Council by a resolution issued on December 22nd, 2018, included three axes, the first on the city of Hodeidah and its ports (Hodeidah, al-Salif and Ras Issa), the second an implementation mechanism to activate the prisoner exchange agreement, and the third the declaration of understandings about the besieged city of Taiz.
Under the agreement, Houthi had to withdraw its militia from the ports and city of Hodeidah within 14 days of signing, remove any obstacles or obstacles that prevented local institutions from performing their functions, and enforce an international truce for the ceasefire that became “just ink on paper.”
The spokesman for the joint forces on the West Coast, Colonel Waddah Al-Dubeish, holds the United Nations and the UN envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths responsible for the stalled implementation of the Stockholm Agreement for a full year. “The United Nations and its envoy have been able, since the first months, to resolve the Hodeidah file and take a lot of measures and put real pressure on the Houthi militia and Iran to implement the agreement,” he said.
Over the course of a whole year, the Houthi militia did not stop violating the agreement by violating the military armistice, and its shells are constantly falling on civilians, and according to a recent report by Save the Children, there are 33 children killed and wounded every month in Hodeidah between January and October 2019.
According to a spokesman for the joint forces, “Sweden has nothing left except the name,” adding: “The ceasefire agreement in Hodeidah was born with a handicap and lived on artificial respiration for a year.”
Houthi violations reached their climax, last month, by targeting the headquarters of the government team in the Redeployment Committee in Hodeidah with ballistic missiles and drones, which the Yemeni Prime Minister considered “a clear indication of the coupists’ rejection of peace and their breach of covenants and agreements”, in addition to restricting the work and movement of the UN committee to coordinate the return of Spread.
The succession of three to the chairmanship of the Redeployment Committee, since the signing of the agreement, is an indication of little progress in the committees’ work, from General Patrick Camer passed through the Danish Michael Lollisgard to the Indian General Abahjit Goha who has barely succeeded in establishing five ceasefire observation points, which impact has diminished drastically, with military operations, attacks, and shelling in squares and observation sectors over the past days.
The UN mission does not seem interested in the major military escalation in all fronts south of Hodeidah on a daily basis, with successive build-up and reinforcements continuing without stopping.
Al-Dabish described the United Nations’ silence as suspicious, and said that the United Nations and the Houthi militia are in trouble and in one corner and they have no choice but to implement the Stockholm Agreement or implement it by military force.
Hodeidah was and still is a vital and voluntary sea port, one of the most important sources of power for the Houthi militia since its control over it after its coup against the legitimate authority in late 2014, as Hodeidah ports have turned into smuggling outlets for Iranian weapons, a source of levies, financial profit, and financing of what it calls the “war effort.”
To strip the Houthis of this force, the Saudi-led Legal Support Alliance announced a military operation to liberate Hodeidah in September 2018, and the joint forces were just around the corner to tighten their control of Hodeidah, before the international community intervened to save the Houthi group under the humanitarian status.
The UN envoy to Yemen obtained the Yemeni governments’ approval and the Houthis to hold political negotiations in the Swedish capital, Stockholm, resulting on the signing of an agreement that succeeded only in stopping the military operation to liberate Hodeidah, and the Houthi presence in the city and its three ports remained unchanged.
Even the humanitarian status pact raised by the international community, and which the Houthis employed for political blackmail, remains the same, as the militia has so far refused to provide safe corridors for humanitarian aid, or deposit the revenues of Hudaydah ports into the Yemens’ Central Bank to contribute to the payment of salaries for civil workers in Al Hudaydah Governorate and throughout Yemen, according to the text of the agreement.
The second axis of the Stockholm Agreement, which deals with the executive mechanism to activate the prisoner exchange agreement, is also still faltering due to the Houthis ’refusal to abide by the agreement on the principle of release of all for all, and they demand the release of prisoners in batches, the fragmentation of this humanitarian file, and the fabrication of crises to evade implementation.
The third axis of the agreement also included understandings about the besieged Taiz, the situation remains the same as it has been besieged by the Houthi militia for four and a half years in the siege, which is the longest in history, according to the description of human rights organizations.
The disastrous failure to implement the “Stockholm” agreement extended to the point that the international community was unable to compel the Houthi militia to allow an international team to assess the state of the Saffer floating tank off the coast of Hodeidah, which contains one million and 140 thousand barrels of crude oil, and has not undergone any maintenance since 2015, which threatens to cause a serious environmental disaster in the Red Sea.
The Yemeni government has repeatedly called on the international community to put pressure on the Houthi militia to allow its maintenance to avoid a disaster that will affect the countries bordering the Red Sea, and will affect the marine environment and international navigation.
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