As I have expected, the UN’s bias with the Houthi militia will persist until the last government stronghold is taken by the maximalist Shia theocratic militia.
From the beginning of the war, the UN sought in its diverse ways to derail the military solution against Houthis, citing the need to give political settlement a chance and avoid the humanitarian costs.
The standoff is in its sixth year now as Houthis rejected all peace offers and kept rebuilding and arming their militia, expanding militarily, and plunging the country deeper and deeper into economic and humanitarian crises.
At one point of time of this war, the armed forces were about to retake the Red Sea port of Hodeidah, but the UN, in its own ways, stopped the battle instantly and by this and other ways consolidated the Houthi control of the city.
At another, the UN watched silently as Houthis marched on government-held Al-Hazm city, rounded up former escapees to jails and executed some. At a third, the UN got the Yemeni government, a pushover, to declare unilateral ceasefire instantly and effectively as the government’s army came too close to retaking the city!
Now, a fourth instance, the Houthis have been maintaining a tireless military campaign for weeks to try to march on the government’s last stronghold and IDPs’ last safe haven in north Yemen - Marib.
The militia sacrifice several hundreds of fighters mainly minor recruits every week in the mad battle. Hundreds of families who have lived in Marib as escapees from the militia now change locations within the city to avoid the Houthi shelling.
The worn out, lightly armed and long unpaid army is struggling to defend the city.
The UN continues to watch saying nothing. If anything, it distributes the blame between “all parties”!
Addressing the latest High-Level Ministerial Meeting on Yemen, the UN’s chief Guterres finally criticized “the escalation in Ma’rib”, but he urged “all parties” to cease the hostilities!
By Adnan Saeed
Contributing opinion writer