Houthis mark the fifth anniversary of their control of the Yemeni capital Sanaa, on 21 September 2019 [Mohammed Hamoud/Anadolu Agency] Finding themselves left exclusively in charge of coalition involvement in Yemen, the Saudi authorities called for negotiations to solve the crisis between the IRG and STC as the two main national members of the anti-Houthi coalition. Indirect meetings began in Djiddah within days. For Saudi Arabia, maintaining unity within the coalition and the official government was essential if it were to maintain its credibility as a mediator of power in Yemen. In the weeks that followed, the United Arab Emirates expressed support for Saudi Arabia`s efforts – but it did not prevent its STC allies from colliding with IRG fighters on the ground. And, by the end of August 2019, the UAE was carrying out air strikes against IRG forces in and around Aden in support of its STC clients, forcing the IRG to appeal to the Saudis to prevent such attacks. The agreement provides for various procedures to put state institutions in operation, the most important of which are: The Riyadh agreement states that UAE-backed STC security forces will be incorporated into the Ministries of Interior and Defense, which will ultimately be under the authority of the internationally recognized Yemen government. This process is expected to be completed within 30 days of the signing of the agreement on 5 November. At the time of the letter, there was no clear progress in implementing this requirement of agreement. The ceasefire between Yemen`s Houthi rebels and forces loyal to President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi in the port city of Hodeida came into existence on December 18. The agreement was reached earlier this month at the UN-brokered talks in Stockholm.
At the time of the negotiations, the city was almost in the hands of the Saudi-led coalition. The coalition had blockaded the port, the main conducted for humanitarian aid to enter Yemen, for months, and the fighters, mostly UAE soldiers, were battling the rebels. Another problematic detail is related to the Saudi oversight of the new government and the whole agreement. Keeping the fate of Yemen in the hands of Saudi Arabia, which is responsible for Yemen`s tragedy) actually legitimizes the Saudi-UAE interference in Yemeni affairs, and limits the sovereignty of the state. This is clearly visible in the case of recent Saudi negotiations with Houthis in Oman, without the involvement of the Hadi government. By turning into sponsorships of peace between their deputies, the Saudis and the Emiratis maintain their influence through the factions they control. In Mr. Feierstein`s view, the scope of the agreement is limited and does not resolve all existing conflicts and divisions, nor the new ones. However, the representation of southern and northern Yemen remains problematic, according to many authors, because the agreement has not taken an inclusive approach and has ignored several political groups, including southern groups that are not linked to the STC. Mareike Transfeld of the Free University of Berlin observes that many political forces in Yemen claim to represent vast geographical areas, but none of them have been democratically elected, so it is highly doubtful that they represent the people or territories they control.