Importance of Facts Over Falsehoods to the Narrative in the Yemeni Conflict
When it pertains to truth and the veracity of the narrative to the conflict in Yemen, it should only be objectively established and embraced as it is. Periodically over the years, but in a more intensified manner recently, there have been propagations of falsehoods in parallel with proclamations of facts with regard to the narrative. Certainly, for those who assert their divergent outlook about the conflict and the parties thereto, we fully recognize and respect their right to freely express their particular view. However, if and when there are situations of disinformation or distractions from what constitutes facts, actualities, and certainties about circumstances concerning the conflict in Yemen, one is accordingly compelled to respond.
Moreover, if one is sincerely interested in reaching the overarching objective of peace, stability, and recovery in Yemen, it is our judgment that one should be careful about what is conveyed in his/her writings or public communications regarding the narrative – so that conditions are not made less conducive to ending the war and thereby fostering it (even unwittingly) to be perpetuated.
Like the Administration of the Honorable President Joseph Biden, the Government of His Excellency President Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi deems it imperative to support all efforts for DIPLOMACY. Indeed, as a contextual acronym it can be aptly described as the following:
Dedicated Interactions for Pursuing Leverages and Opportunities in Means to Abort the Conflict in Yemen.
Thus, it is only with diplomatic actions that will lead to an end to this tragic war. There is no military solution albeit its pressures can help to expedite and expand its outcome when necessary. And by making light of false narratives and notions, it is incumbent for countering those myths or mendacities that are inaccurate in its account of history and injudicious in the articulation of opinion.
Some examples of recent statements that are false in the narrative to the Yemen conflict and which also negatively impact efforts at diplomacy are:
- “Houthis, believe correctly that they are winning the war.”
If it were the case, they would not have been pushed out of Aden in 2015 and other parts of Yemen until now. Furthermore, this erroneous perception contributes to the Houthis having the incentive to sustain their violence and vehemence rather than de-escalating hostilities.
- “Provinces of Mahra and Hadhramaut are occupied by the Saudis”
This is a canard. The presence of Arab Coalition forces should never be construed as an occupation. They are there to reinforce security in remote areas of southern Yemen, and which is exercised in coordination with the total consent of the Government of Yemen.
- “The Houthis will not succumb to ”
Quite the contrary, and especially when it has related to pushing the Houthis to peace talks, and whose past rounds of negotiations (including in Stockholm) were a result of intense pressures. The Houthis have always succumbed to pressures, in particular to very strong diplomatic pressure and backed by ample military power.
- “The Houthis control most of the north and 80% of the ”
Based on real statistics, Houthis occupy 47% of the population. 47% of Yemenis are in the liberated areas of the Yemeni Government. And 6% of Yemenis are “externally displaced” or living as refugees outside of Yemen.
- “The Saudi blockade is the cause of the humanitarian catastrophe. And the blockade is an offensive military operation that kills civilians.”
This statement (besides being scornful and replete with bias) is also totally oblivious to all the criminal actions of the Houthis that have both precipitated and protracted the humanitarian crisis. Moreover, there is no blockade of any kind to food and commercial goods as is indisputably corroborated by the records of the United Nations Verification & Inspection Mechanism. The Government of Yemen and the Arab Coalition have never obstructed access for and delivery of humanitarian aid, unlike the Houthis who have cruelly and chronically perpetrated these terrible actions and in multidimensional ways.
- “It is highly unlikely that any diplomatic effort will produce a political settlement in Yemen in the immediate future. The country is simply too fractured to be reunited. The more likely outcome is multiple Yemens, like in the past. Before 1990, there were two Yemens, north, and south. We should be prepared to deal with a Houthi-dominated North Yemen.”
We respectfully disagree. And in fact, so does President Biden who appointed a US special envoy for Yemen, Mr. Timothy Lenderking, and who has the solid support of President Hadi to help get a “political settlement.” And while we note our divided history, the majority of Yemeni people still favor a united country.
- “The sad reality of Yemen today is that it is broken beyond retrieval by six years of war that two American administrations The territorial integrity and unity of Yemen is probably irretrievable.”
The United Nations Security Council has firmly stated its position in multiple UNSC resolutions for maintaining the unity, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Yemen. The UNSC also recognized the outcomes of Yemen’s National Dialogue Conference, which provides the blueprint for a federal Yemeni state under a newly drafted constitution to be ratified. Hence, the fate of Yemen still remains for a collective destiny.
The renowned Czech writer Franz Kafka expressed: “Deceptions are more frequent than changes”. Indeed, as history has shown, the latter dynamic is highly applicable to expectations in terms of the Houthis behavior. However, if the international community would like to truly witness a “metamorphosis” concerning Houthi conduct to achieve a demonstrable and durable peace, it needs to be also buttressed by the think tank community worldwide fully comprehending that the Houthis are cognizant of the perspectives emanating from them. The Houthis exploit every chance to bolster their agenda when they know particular experts on Yemen are expanding false narratives rather than expounding on the facts that are quite stacked against them.
Therefore, if peace is what we want in Yemen and for a united and prosperous future encompassing all its geographic regions, the narrative to the conflict must maintain the presentation and proliferation of facts – and never falsehoods that will be injurious to realizing the widely shared goal of peace. By adhering to truthful narratives, it will be ancillary to both ending the conflict and maintaining a united Yemen. The Houthis are ascribing to the belief that “a lie told often enough becomes the truth” (as several notable historical figures have also averred). However, we note here what the first American President George Washington affirmed: “the truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light.” Furthermore, the eminent former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill declared: “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.”