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New Truce and Presidential Council in Yemen: Impact on State, Domestic Politics, and Peace Process

Featured Speakers: Ambassador Patrick Theros, Dr. Nabeel Khoury, Sama’a Al-Hamdani, and Dr. Andrea Carboni.

Synopsis:

Yemen witnessed many positive developments between the first and last week of April. In the first week, coinciding with the start of Ramadan, all Yemeni parties announced a truce that continues to hold. In the last week, the internationally-recognized Yemeni government announced the resignation of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and the appointment of a Presidential Leadership Council headed by Rashad Muhammad al-Alimi. The new council includes leaders of nearly all the warring parties, except for Ansar Allah, the Iran-supported Houthi rebels. As a start in this direction and in hopes of cementing the truce, the warring parties arranged a prisoner exchange. The new council aims to end the infighting between the Saudi and Emirati-backed factions, but will face an even harder mission, bringing peace to the country and finding an agreement with the Houthis.

The truce, the new council, and the prisoner swap have surely had a  positive influence on Yemen and the region; the Houthis stopped launching missiles at Saudi Arabia and the UAE and tentative steps have been taken to open Hodeida Port and Sanaa airport to international relief supplies. However,  many issues remain unresolved. The new council, now based in Aden rather than Riyadh, faces multiple challenges: restoring the functioning of the Yemeni state, finding terms to establish trust measures and a good basis for negotiations with the Houthis, and sustaining the truce.

How could the UN and U.S. envoys push the peace process in Yemen? How has the new council and the truce changed domestic politics and power dynamics between the different government factions? What steps should be prioritized right now to alleviate the cost of conflict on Yemeni civilians? What other actions should the new council prioritize? How could Iran and Saudi Arabia find terms of understanding to support the political process in Yemen? What role should we expect  Oman, Qatar, and Kuwait, who have tried to mediate throughout the eleven years of turmoil and conflict?

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