Fears rise as ceasefire committee leaves to Sana’a [Archives:2007/1073/Front Page]

August 2 2007

By: Mohammed bin Sallam
SA'ADA, August 1 – Tribal sources revealed it is relatively calm in Sa'ada save some occasional scrimmages between Houthis loyalists and army-supported tribal men. They added Sa'ada residents fear renewal of fighting between Houthis and the army as the Qatari delegation has not yet arrived and the ceasefire committee has returned to Sana'a.

Yemen armed forces media outlet, 26September.net, reported last Monday that the Qatari delegation working with the ceasefire committee is due to arrive in Sana'a over the next few days in order to supervise implementation of remaining ceasefire agreement articles.

The Qatari delegation left Sa'ada last Tuesday after it had been recalled by Qatari authorities in the wake of stalled implementation of the ceasefire agreement's third article, as each party was unwilling to compromise on their stance and devise a mutual resolution.

Sources assured that the Qatari delegation was summoned for consultations and the same applied to the ceasefire committee that recently left for Sana'a.

A dispute arose between Houthis and the army after the former insisted on maintaining positions in Al Ghubair, Gharabat Zagran, Al-Masna'ah and other sites in Nashour, together with sites in Naqa'ah, Fard mountains and Matarah. Displaced residents are allowed to remain in these areas until the army and its tribal supporters evacuate resident houses and farms.

Reacting to Houthi criticism of the committee, sources went on to say that committee members are not part of the crisis and their task is to achieve peace through implementing the ceasefire agreement's articles, noting that the committee receives many letters of criticism and makes field visits to places where Houthis complain of violations.

They also doubted the Houthi's wish to achieve peace, especially when the committee has spent over 40 days trying to bring about reconciliation. They further hinted that massive losses incurred during the war should compel Houthis to be cooperative with peace efforts.

Houthi field leader Abdul Malik Al-Houthi accused the committee of having bad intentions, especially when insisting that Houthis should descend their positions in Matarah and Naqah, stressing such a step will expose Houthis to revenge attacks of nearby tribes.

In related news, local sources told the media on Tuesday that Houthi elements in Dhahian city dismissed committees responsible for surveying damages to the area and confiscated their cameras. This came after the ceasefire committee left to Sana'a to meet with the Qatari delegation due to arrive in Sana'a by the end of this week. The two groups will return to Sa'ada later to supervise implementation of the ceasefire agreement's remaining articles.

Member of the Parliament Freedoms Committee Mohammed Naji Al-Shaif noted that Iran is behind the Qatari mediation aiming to halt the war between the government and Houthis.

Al-Shaif told London-based Al-Hayat that the Qatari mediation arrived when Yemeni forces were about to conclude the war and Iran aims to lessen the pressure on Houthi loyalists. He further indicated the failing Qatari mediation aims to establish Qatar as a stronghold in the region, noting they are the messengers of Iran. He also accused Qatar of trying to rival Saudi Arabia in diplomacy efforts and stressed Libya financially supports Houthis.