The latest report on Yemen from the International Crisis Group underscores the incredible challenges facing the UN Special Envoy as he struggles to keep the peace process moving forward. The complexity of his task is underscored by the fact that even a unilateral redeployment of forces, by one side, has been controversial:
Five months after the UN brokered an agreement to demilitarise the Red Sea port city of Hodeida, there has finally been movement on the ground. Yet not everyone is happy.
Despite the mixed response from the other parties to this partial Houthi pull-back, the overall ICG judgment is positive and encouraging:
Bottom Line: [UN Special Envoy] Griffiths had few options to preserve the Stockholm Agreement, and took the most logical step forward. While it should not be mistaken for a major breakthrough, his achievement is significant and should be warmly welcomed.
For the full report see: Crisis Group Yemen Update # 11 of 16 May 2019.
The terrible humanitarian situation in Yemen, after four years of war, is reason enough for the UN Security Council and all other UN members, including Canada, to do their utmost to support the peace process.
Alas, in the case of the UN Security Council, the three Western permanent members — the USA, UK and France — all continue to arm Saudi Arabia, a leading party to the conflict, despite UN condemnation for war crimes.
This has recently provoked increased controversy in France as investigative journalists braved threats of prosecution to draw attention to attempts by the Macron government to mislead the public about the role of French armaments in Saudi atrocities:
Paris, 13 May 2019 – 17 humanitarian and human rights NGOs today denounced threats to press freedom after three French journalists were summoned by the French intelligence services for investigating the presence of French weapons in the conflict in Yemen.
It is still not too late for the Government of Canada to switch from war crimes enabler to peace process booster by immediately stopping all Canadian-made arms shipments to Saudi Arabia.
Once again, we call upon them to do so.
Venezuela Video Update
Sometimes one question really gets to the heart of the matter. And this is the case with Mehdi Hasan on the Aljazeera programme UpFront. Here is his question to Juan Gauido’s diplomatic representative in the UK, Vanessa Neumann:
How can you believe that a US military intervention will bring democracy to Venezuela, especially with Elliot Abrams & John Bolton leading the charge?
In what could be an important step towards a resolution of the crisis, talks began under Norwegian auspices, to “build a peaceful agenda”. This is powerful evidence of what a genuine honest broker can do, as opposed to the blatantly one-sided role played by Canada as chair of the Lima Group.
For the full article, see: Venezuela’s Maduro says Norway talks sought ‘peaceful agenda’ with opposition (Luc Cohen, Deisy Buitrago, reuters.com, 17 May 2019).
Click here for an UPDATE to our ceasefire.ca blog post of 3 May 2019 in honour of Murray Thomson, an extraordinary humanitarian and lifelong peace activist.
Photo credit: UN News