26 March 2015
Yemeni foreign minister requests intervention by gulf cooperation council
The Yemeni foreign minister, Riad Yassin, requested Gulf Arab states for support to prevent the advance of rebels further into the country. The Shia Houthi rebels who ousted President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi in February 2015 siezed Yemen’s third largest city, Taiz.
The foreign minister has asked the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to intervene without elaborating, however, what form that should take. Mr. Yassin also requested the UN and GCC to impose a no-fly zone after the presidential palace in Aden, where the President established a rival power base, was targeted. Saudi foreign minister, Saud al-Faisal, has stated that Gulf states could take action to shore-up Mr Hadi affirming that ‘if this issue is not solved peacefully, we will take the necessary measures to protect the region from their aggression’.
The UN has warned that Yemen is on the brink of a civil war. Jamal Benomar, the UN envoy to Yemen, confirmed that Saudis have ‘good reasons’ for concern. He added, however, that he did not think ‘any side could win a civil war. No side can win a civil war – the only way forward is negotiation, which implies concession from all sides, which implies also, a compromise’. Compounding the crisis are reports that Islamic State (IS) militants have emerged ‘as a presence in Yemen’ with a purported IS affiliate claiming responsibility for an attack in the north of Aden killing 29 people.
As the situation deteriorates, Britain and the United States have begun withdrawing special military forces from the region.