Yemen’s ambassador to Morocco, Ezzedin Al-Asbahi, has voiced Yemen’s support for the Moroccan government’s approach to the crisis.
Rabat – As Saudi-UAE coalition forces continue deadly air raids on Sana’a city, the Yemeni ambassador to Morocco, Ezzedin Al-Asbahi, commended the Moroccan government’s stance on Yemen, and the kingdom’s decision to withdraw military forces from the conflict in February of this year.
While meeting with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Lahbib El Maliki, on Wednesday, May 15, Al-Ashbahi voiced Yemen’s willingness to cooperate with Morocco on international issues, as well as Yemen’s hope to draw inspiration from Morocco in regards to human rights and development.
Al-Ashbahi stressed the impact of the war on both the Yemeni people and the surrounding Gulf region in the wake of the recent Houthi attack on Saudi oil-pumping stations. The attacks not only highlighted the heightened tensions in the region, but also perpetuated the conflict with subsequent reprisal attacks by the Saudi-UAE coalition.
The death toll in the Yemeni crisis surpassed 70,000 earlier this year, and the international community has become divided on how to end the bloodshed.
Morocco’s withdrawal from the conflict was largely inspired by “political and humanitarian developments on the ground,” said Moroccan Foreign Minister, Nasser Bourita.
The kingdom’s decision to end military intervention in the region has been praised by both the internationally-recognized Hadi-government, as well as by the militant Houthi-movement.
Earlier this year, the leader of the Houthi movement, Abdel-Aziz bin Habtour, thanked the Moroccan government for its decision to withdraw from the conflict, adding his hopes that Morocco will continue to work with the international community on ending the conflict.
“[The decision] reflects the good, brotherly Moroccan-Yemeni relations,” he said. “Yemeni people will continue to cherish their strong, brotherly ties with the Moroccan people in days to come.”
Meanwhile, the Saudi-led coalition continues its interventionist stance towards the conflict, fanning the flames of war earlier this week by conducting a series of bombings in the Yemeni capital which killed six civilians and wounded 52, according to the Houthi health ministry.
The United States voiced its support earlier this year for the Saudi-led coalition, arguing that the West should stand with Riyadh in its opposition to the Houthi movement.
“If you truly care about Yemeni lives, you’d support the Saudi-led effort to prevent Yemen from turning into a puppet state,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a press conference in March.
The US administration has grown increasingly close to the Saudi government under Trump’s presidency, especially in regards to the Yemeni conflict.
Led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the interventionist coalition is also made up of military forces from Bahrain, Kuwait, Egypt, Jordan, Senegal, and Sudan. Qatar and Morocco were formerly associated with the coalition, but have since withdrawn.
The Houthi perspective
The Iranian-backed Houthi movement has recently began a string of attacks on Saudi Arabia, with the militant organization attacking four Saudi oil tankers on 12 May in Fujirah port near UAE, and two Saudi oil-pumping stations on 14 May.
The Houthis have claimed that these attacks were a response to “crimes” perpetrated by the Saudi government throughout its intervention in the Yemen crisis.
The movement has also accused Riyadh of deliberately targeting civilians through its recent bombing campaign in Sana’a and other parts of Houthi-controlled Yemen.
This claim was corroborated by Yemeni journalist Afrah Nasser, whose home in Sana’a was close to where an airstrike hit.
“I know the street. There are no military targets there,” Nasser told Al Jazeera. “There is no excuse from the Saudi-led coalition – it was a deliberate and systematic bombardment attacking civilians.”
The United Nations compromise
The United Nations has claimed that the crisis in Yemen is “the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.” As of February 2019, 24 million people – close to 80 percent of Yemen’s population – need assistance.
Recently, the UN attempted to implement the Hodeidah plan, which aimed to have Hadi and Houthi forces withdraw from the battle in the principal Yemeni port-city, Hodeidah.
If successful, the plan would have been the first voluntary withdrawal of forces in the conflict; however, the recent Saudi attack on Sana’a has threatened to disrupt these plans and has further fueled the conflict.