Riyadh Conference: What Does It Mean For Yemen’s Future?

The people in north and south Yemen, including enemies and friends of Yemen’s unity are patiently waiting for the three days of the Riyadh Conference outcomes. The conference has been designed to protect Yemen and avoid the Syrian model of endless civil war.

The 400 Yemeni politicians and tribal leaders launched the talks on Sunday May 17, 2015. Saudi Arabia, which hosts the Yemeni President, government, political parties, and anti-unity southern leaders such as former Vice President of Yemen Ali Salem Al-Beidh, is seriously seeking an ideal solution for Yemen’s current crises.

The first day of the conference does not bring hope to the Yemeni people since it has adopted the same framework as Yemen’s 2013-2014 National Dialogue. People here in Sana’a believe that Saudi Arabia has designed the conference in response to its earlier call for Yemen to join the Riyadh meeting to ease the country’s political problems ,which has led to the Saudi-led coalition war in Yemen over the past two months.

The meeting in general will identify the future of Yemen’s unity including Houthi rebels, who boycotted the meeting calling for it to be held in Yemen. Without doubt, the Houthis backed by Saleh’s military is still strong on the ground and his militants still have large control over the country. Yemen is going to see a second round of war by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition.

I reviewed the speech of the new U.N. envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, a speech at the summit on Sunday calling on all parties to ensure that a shaky humanitarian ceasefire leads to a lasting truce. I recalled the 37 minute leaked conversation of Shaikh Hamid al-Ahmar and the former U.N. envoy Jamal Benomar. In both conversations, the U.N. will not interfere in Yemen.

This theory has pushed Saudi Arabia not just to respond to the President’s call, but to protect its border from the expansion of Houthi rebels who are in contact with Iran, the primary enemy of Sunni and Saudi rulers throughout history.

To answer the big question, the meeting in Riyadh will not bring much of change for Yemen. What proves my personal analysis is the political decrees of President Abdrabbo Mansour Hadi, who issued a good number of decrees, none of which has been applied yet. The second justification is that Saudi Arabia will not fight Houthi militants to bring new shifts in north or south Yemen.

These two reasons are enough to say that Yemen will go through a different phase of dialogue and Geneva could be the next destination for Yemen’s dialogue. If this would happen, then Yemen should be in the Guinness Book or Records for dialogues while its people are dying of hunger and lack the basic needs for survival.