The government of Yemen has agreed to a ceasefire with the Houthi
rebels that have plagued the country with sectarian warfare since 2004.
The agreement is seen as an important step in promoting Yemen's fragile security and combating the terrorism that has taken root there. A similar ceasefire in September quickly crumbled. But will this agreement hold? Within hours, a small group of Houthis killed three Yemeni soldiers. Is Yemen ready for peace?
- Already Fraying Like Last Ceasefire Middle East blogger Gregg Carlstrom worries about the Houthi attempt to kill Yemeni General Mohammed Abdullah al-Qussi. "Qussi says the rebels also staged several other attacks in Saada's Iqab district. As usual, none of these claims can be independently confirmed. Mareb Press quotes unnamed Yemeni military sources who say they're holding up their end of the cease-fire. But the whole thing could quickly unravel: The last cease-fire, in September, fell apart after both sides accused the other of violating the truce."
- Houthis Unaware of Ceasefire So claims Yemen's interior minister, Mohammed al-Qawsi, talking to Reuters. Reuters reports that Qawsi, "whose car was shot at by rebels, told Reuters minor violations had occurred because not all rebel fighters were aware of the ceasefire, but that the deal still held." They quote him, "There are some small violations here and there, and there have also been some violations by rebels outside the city of Saada."
- Great News for Peace, Bad News for Al-Qaeda The Washington Note's Steve Clemons explains, "This is very significant on a number of fronts as it helps de-commit significant military and economic resources Yemen is committing to deal with insurgency problems in the North while simultaneously dealing with growing al Qaeda related challenges in the South. This news will also decrease tensions with Saudi Arabia -- and also neutralizes some concerns about Iran animating Houthi misbehavior in the region to put pressure on Saudi Arabia."
- The Opportunity and Risk Ahead Al Jazeera's Hashem Ahelbarra lays out the significant challenges. "The Houthis should open main roads and checkpoints, abandon mountains they have occupied for months, return weapons captured from the army and free Saudi and Yemeni soldiers. In exchange, the government will allow internally displaced people (IDPs) to return home and rebuild destroyed areas and villages." But peace could collapse at any time. "People fear retaliations and tribal vendettas may set off a chain reaction across the north of the country."