On Sunday, October 2, the United Nations formally announced that the truce in Yemen was not renewed. The ceasefire, which originally came into effect on April 2, was extended twice, lending way to the longest period of stability since the start of Yemen’s civil war in 2014. This six-month period coincided with a notable reduction of casualties, as well as the reintroduction of global commercial flights in Yemen’s capital. However, recent violations of the ceasefire and corresponding protests ultimately inhibited its third extension.
Prior to the extension’s failure, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres worked to showcase the anticipated benefits of the continuation of the ceasefire. Guterres expressed the pre-established successes of the truce, which include “an increase in fuel deliveries through Hudaydah port, and the resumption of international commercial flights to and from Sana’a for the first time in almost six years. Yet more needs to be done to achieve its full implementation, including reaching an agreement on the reopening of roads in Taiz and other governorates and the payment of civil service salaries, would further improve the day-to-day life of ordinary Yemenis. In parallel, work on long-term political, economic and military issues, as proposed by my Special Envoy, would signal a significant shift towards finding lasting solutions.”
Although there was a large reduction of violence, truce violations were still recorded, and partially attributed to the Houthis’ refusal of the third extension. A day before the truce was set to expire, the Houthis' negotiation delegation stated that the truce had reached a ‘dead end.’ According to the Jerusalem Post, the Houthis’ negotiating delegation stated: “Unfortunately, it became clear that the aggression countries, after they had exhausted all their cards, had no choice but to target the livelihood of the Yemeni people as the easiest way to bring the people to their knees and use it as a military tactic and a war tool to pressure them… It became clear that their desire is not peace as much as it is to keep the countries of aggression away from the repercussions of the war and direct targeting and besiege them inside Yemen, and to transfer the war to the economic field, and the continuation of their siege and the imposition of unjust restrictions on the Yemeni people to prevent access to their legal and humanitarian entitlements."
However, Yemen’s Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Muammer Al-Eryani announced that the Houthi militia was responsible for violating the truce; accordingly, he called on the US, UN, and the international community to condemn the Houthi militia last month. Written in Arab News, Al-Eryani publicly stated that the “Iran-allied Houthi militias have continued to maneuver, refusing to implement its obligations under the UN-brokered truce’s article, including lifting the aggressive besiege it has imposed upon millions of civilians in Taiz governorate.”
Yemen’s army publicized the number of casualties allegedly due to the Houthis’ violations of the truce. According to Yemen’s Al-Sahwa, “Yemen's army in the country's central city of Taiz said Houthi terrorists killed and injured 255 people… around the besieged city since a UN-brokered truce began last April. In a statement on Sunday, [October 2], the army said 5015 Houthi violations of the truce were recorded in the past months, and the results were 188 casualties among soldiers and 67 among civilians. The militia used armed drones, artillery fire, sniper shooting, landmines and other weapons in its unilateral hostilities as the truce handcuffed the army.”
On Monday, October 3, Yemen’s Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalek Saeed also blamed the Houthis for the lack of a clear end to the war. Written in Kuna, Saeed stated that he “heard the international community’s clear voice in its call for peace, and we sincerely responded to this call, and are waiting today for the same strength and clarity in condemnation of Houthi’s hampering and refusal for peace… The appeasing policy to Houthis does not work to boost opportunities of peace, and only pushes them for more stubbornness.”
Noting that the Yemeni army and Houthi militia have accused one another of the truce’s failure, the hope for re-entry into another ceasefire is dim. UN Special Envoy expressed regret, calling on the parties involved to abstain from any violent actions that could quickly escalate: “I urge them to fulfill their obligation to the Yemeni people to pursue every avenue for peace. Ultimately, Yemenis need an end to the conflict through an inclusive political process and a negotiated settlement. I will continue my relentless efforts to engage with the parties to quickly reach an agreement on a way forward.”
The likelihood of fighting resuming in Yemen has already raised security concerns not only within Yemen, but in its neighboring countries. According to Al Jazeera, “the Houthi military spokesman, Yahya Saree, has already issued a warning to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which have been targeted in the past with missile attacks. ‘The [Houthi] armed forces give oil companies operating in the UAE and Saudi Arabia an opportunity to organise their situation and leave,’ Saree tweeted.”