Yemen’s government has called on the United Nations on Wednesday November 13th, to condemn the escalation of violations committed by the Houthi militia, amounting to war crimes, in Hodeidah, in the west of the country.
"The escalation and violations committed by Houthi militias are unjustified and must be condemned openly and clearly," the Yemeni government said.
This came during a meeting with Yemeni Foreign Minister, Mohammed al-Hadrami, on Wednesday November 13th, with the head of the United Nations Mission in Hodeidah, General Abahijit Goha. They discussed developments in the implementation of the Hodeidah Agreement, and the recent escalation of Houthi militias.
The Yemeni foreign minister warned of the continued violation of the Stockholm Agreement, which was agreed on as a way to move forward to a peaceful settlement of the conflict, "as the Hodeida agreement is an important indicator in the path of sustainable peace."
He stressed the government's stance on the need to implement the Hodeidah Agreement, particularly over the security forces, and the local authority, and the implementation of withdrawals from the ports and city of Hodeidah, and the opening of humanitarian corridors.
For his part, the head of the UN mission in Hodeidah, stressed his keenness to achieve progress with the peace process, and to ensure the freedom of movement of citizens, and the free passage of relief convoys, and to prevent all forms of escalation of the conflict. He thanked the Yemeni government for its support to the UN mission over the past period, according to the official Yemeni News Agency.
Divided views over the UN’s role
However, the Yemeni foreign minister, Mohammed al-Hadrami, has criticised what he saw as the UN's negligence in dealing with violations carried out by the Houthi militia. He accused the U N of refraining from naming and condemning the Houthi militias for their actions.
He pointed out that the failure of the U N to blame the Houthi militia for these violations explicitly and clearly, will encourage the Houthis to continue with their intransigence and with their violations.
The Yemeni Prime Minister, Moin Abdul Malik, said on Tuesday November 12th, that the Iranian regime's continued support for the Houthis required a firm international stand, to stop its interference in Yemen's affairs, and to stop supporting coups.
During his meeting with US Ambassador to Yemen, Christopher Hensel, he said that the Yemeni people, supported by the Saudi and UAE-led coalition, are more determined than ever to complete their efforts to restore the legitimate state, and to prevent and counter Iran’s support of the Houthi rebels.
In turn, the US ambassador congratulated the Yemeni government on signing the Riyadh agreement, paving the way for the government to fulfill its role, and meet the aspirations of Yemeni citizens in the liberated areas. He pointed out that the agreement is an important step towards peace and stability, according to the official Yemeni News Agency. He also expressed the readiness of the U S to provide the necessary technical support for the success of the agreement, and the implementation of its provisions.
The joint Yemeni forces on the west coast earlier warned of a Houthi plot to sink both the peace process, and the UN truce in Hodeida.
The spokesman for the joint forces, Colonel Wadah al-Dabish, said that the pro-Iranian Houthi militia is still practicing its “treacherous, cowardly and malicious method of procrastination and disavowal of any previous agreements.”
Al-Debeish said the joint forces had spotted multiple violations by the Houthi militia. This is represented by reinforcements in military equipment, digging trenches and tunnels, and placing barricades, in preparation for an upcoming round of conflict.
He confirmed that the head of the UN mission, and the chief international observer, General Abhijit Goha, was informed, but they did not act despite the conclusive evidence.
Repeated violations and war crimes by the Houthis
One year after the signing of the Stockholm Agreement under international auspices in November 2018, between the legitimate Yemeni government, and the Houthi militias, the Houthi abuses in Hodeidah have brought the UN mission back to begin the implementation of the first truce, to try to implement the terms of the agreement.
The armed Houthi escalation carries an old and renewed message from the armed militias, that it will continue to tamper with civilian life, until it ensures its own interests.
In August, the Arab coalition, led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, confirmed that Houthi militias had committed more than 5,000 violations of the Stockholm Agreement. It had also fired 226 missiles towards Saudi Arabia. At the same time, the coalition stressed that it was continuing to work towards the return of Yemen to the path of stability and peace.
In September, the UN Human Rights Council condemned the pro-Iranian Houthi militia, after the council said it had committed violations amounting to war crimes in Yemen, bombed cities and used a war-like method of siege. The council confirmed that the Houthis have abducted and detained women over the past two years to blackmail their relatives.
According to the UN report, women are subjected to the most horrific abuses by militias, ranging from murder and injury, to loss of limb as well as imprisonment and torture. In the current war, women have become the most obvious physical and psychological victims.
On October 26th, Houthi militias targeted joint forces positions in the Hais district with medium weapons, according to military field sources. Militias targeted residential neighbourhoods and civilian homes, using medium and light machine guns. Militiamen also fired medium weapons at people passing through the streets and public markets in the city centre. The targeting by Houthi militias has caused fear and panic among the people and the population, especially women and children.
At the same time, violations committed by the Houthi militia in the districts of Tahita and Duraimi, continued to undermine the UN efforts, including the ceasefire and military operations in Hodeida.
Field sources said that the Houthi militia bombed joint sites east of Duraimi, with various types of medium and light weapons intensively.
In al-Tahita district in the south, the militias opened fire with artillery and machine guns at positions where the joint forces were stationed with mortars and B10. They also fired medium- and machine-gun fire, and used 23-calibre anti-aircraft guns to target those positions.
Continuing Conflict and Failure in Yemen’s Peace Process
In response to the abuses, the Saudi daily newspaper, Al-Youm, reported on October 30th, that the installation of ceasefire monitoring points was the last opportunity for the militias, stressing that the agreement would be terminated, if they reneged on its implementation.
Observers from both sides were deployed with a UN presence at each point. Observers and liaison officers were deployed at five outposts, but
the Houthis did not stop even as the liaison officers were deployed to monitor the ceasefire, where militias prevented the head of the mission and the Redeployment Coordination Committee, General Goha, and his team, from crossing the main roads.
The militias also refused to clear mines planted in the area set up by the fourth observation post.
The media affiliated to the joint forces confirmed in a statement, reported by Al-Arabiya news channel, that the Houthi militias committed during the period from October 19th to 25th, about 125 violations and attacks on neighbourhoods, farms, markets, houses and roads in the city of Hodeidah and surrounding areas.
The statement said that among the violations documented, there are 100 violations committed by the militias, in conjunction with the installation of control points from Saturday October 19th to Wednesday October 23rd, and 25 violations during the two days following the installation of control points.
The statement pointed out that these violations and escalations and continued mobilisations, confirm that the Houthi do not want peace, and do not adhere to what is agreed upon, and are preparing to blow up the situation militarily, if they can.
During the first ten days of this November, the Houthi militias committed numerous violations of the Stockholm Agreement.
On November 1st, the front lines on the west coast of Yemen saw extensive violations by the Iranian-backed Houthi militias, including the creation of 19 sites and trenches in the areas of UN-supervised ceasefire monitoring committees in Hodeidah.
They also continued to target and bombard joint Yemeni forces positioned in different areas of the west coast. Meanwhile, the Arab Coalition fighter jets supported the legitimacy of positions in Saada and Hajjah. Also, Yemeni forces involved in al-Dhali foiled new Houthi attacks.
The Houthis also violated the agreement again on November 10th. The Yemen News website reported that the Houthi militias had violated the truce, and bombed the directorate of Hays, south of Hodeidah, in western Yemen. Militias fired a number of 120-calibre mortar shells, that landed on the outskirts of the city on Sunday morning November 10th .
Local sources said that the militia members targeted the houses of citizens in a number of southern neighbourhoods of the city of Hays, with heavy calibre weapons, indiscriminately.
In the latest violation by Houthi militias in Yemen, and its breach of the UN truce since late 2018, military sources told Al-Arabiya, Wednesday November 13th, that Houthi militias had fired from two positions, "Organ" rockets. One landed at the main entrance to the camp, while the second landed near the headquarters of the Joint Forces Command.