Meeting Three Arab leaders.. Jake Sullivan's Visit and the War in Yemen


Wed, 29-09-2021 09:04 PM, Aden

Cairo, Abu Dhabi (South24)

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan visited Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and later Egypt, to discuss the conflict in Yemen as well as security in the Horn of Africa and "regional and global challenges."

This week, Sullivan ended a visit to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, accompanied by the US special envoy to Yemen, Tim Lenderking, and Biden's envoy to the Middle East, Brett McGurk.

According to the UAE official agency (WAM), Sullivan met on Tuesday with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed.

The agency said that the meeting dealt with "the strategic relations between the two countries, and ways to strengthen and develop them in various fields, in addition to developments in the region, and joint work to support peace and stability in it."

Sullivan met in Saudi Arabia with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and a number of Saudi officials.

The Saudi Al-Sharq TV quoted an official in the US administration as saying that the two sides "had a detailed discussion on the conflict in Yemen, and the two sides supported the efforts of the new UN envoy to Yemen, Hans Grundberg, and agreed to intensify diplomatic efforts with all parties."

A senior US official said White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan had detailed discussions with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman about the conflict between Saudi Arabia and the Houthis in Yemen.

Bloomberg quoted the unnamed official that Sullivan and "Bin Salman" agreed to intensify diplomatic engagement, amid the White House's efforts for a ceasefire in Yemen.

The agency reported, on Tuesday evening, that the US special envoy to Yemen, Tim Lenderking, participated in the meeting, adding that he is expected to remain in the region for subsequent consultations.

It also quoted White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki as saying that Jake Sullivan's talks in Saudi Arabia "really focused on Yemen."

Sullivan, according to “CNN Arabia,” will be “the most senior US official to visit the kingdom during the Joe Biden administration,” who took power early this year.

The US website Axios said the "White House seemed to seek to keep the visit low-profile. No photos of Sullivan and MBS together have been released."

According to the website, the meeting took place with the Crown Prince, Deputy Defense Minister Khalid bin Salman, Minister of Interior Abdulaziz bin Saud, Minister of National Guard Abdullah bin Bandar, and Minister of State and National Security Adviser Mustafa Al-Aiban.

Saudi newspapers did not mention the results of the US official's visit.

But the prominent Saudi newspaper, "Al-Riyadh," stated in its editorial entitled "Washington and Its Allies" that the United States "has not succeeded so far in creating a Middle Eastern strategy that takes the interests of its allies into consideration." In order to dispel the suspicions of US allies in the region, and to better confront adversaries, the Biden administration will have to integrate its country-specific strategies into a comprehensive approach to achieving larger goals, by changing convictions, refusing to acquiesce in Iran's reprehensible demands on the nuclear deal, and finding innovative ways to demonstrate the US commitment to its allies and friends in the war against terrorism and Iranian proxies in the region.”

The newspaper added: “Without a comprehensive and quick strategy in which the allies will participate, the vacuum resulting from its absence will contribute to the deterioration of the situation in the Middle East, where we have witnessed the tampering of Iranian militias in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon, in addition to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of residents of these countries and the displacement of millions, as no This would not have happened had Iran and its proxies exploited loopholes in the absence of a deterrent US strategy.”

Confirmation of the Saudi initiative

Today's evening, Wednesday, the official Saudi Press Agency announced the meeting between bin Salman and Jake Sullivan, last Monday evening.

On the Yemeni conflict, (SPA) said that the Saudi Crown Prince affirmed "the Kingdom's initiative to end the Yemeni crisis, which includes a comprehensive ceasefire under the monitoring of the United Nations, support the United Nations proposal to allow oil derivatives ships to enter the port of Hodeidah, and the opening of Sanaa International Airport for flights to and from selected stations, in addition to the current relief flights, and the start of consultations between the Yemeni parties to reach a political solution to the Yemeni crisis based on the three National Dialogue references under the auspices of the United Nations.

According to the agency, Mr. Sullivan affirmed "the full commitment of the United States to support Saudi Arabia's defense of its territory against all threats, including missile and drone attacks backed by Iran."

Sullivan also affirmed President Biden's support for "the kingdom's goal of pushing for a lasting political solution and ending the Yemeni conflict."

Houthi threats

This comes at a time when the Iranian-backed Houthi group is approaching the city of Marib, the last stronghold of the internationally recognized Yemeni government, in North Yemen.

The Houthis also invaded South Yemen, in the middle of this month, and took control of the districts of Beihan and Al-Ain, north of Shabwa governorate, after the withdrawal of pro-Islamists government forces.

The STC, the most prominent force in South, declared a "State of Emergency" and called on its forces for "general mobilization" to confront the Houthis.

Well-informed sources told "South24" that the STC is holding consultations with Southern military leaders in the Yemeni government to study the necessary steps to confront the dangers threatening South. The sources did not disclose the results of these consultations.

Experts told AFP on Tuesday that the fall of the city of Marib to the Houthis would change the course of the war in Yemen, and encourage them to advance towards South.

The United Nations has described the situation in conflict-ridden Yemen as the world's largest humanitarian crisis. The seven-year war has plunged the country into an economic crisis that has led to food shortages.

The United States and Saudi Arabia, which is leading a military coalition to fight the Iranian-backed Yemeni Houthi movement, pledged millions of dollars in additional aid, as did other countries.

US President Joe Biden has taken a tougher stance on Saudi Arabia than his predecessor, Donald Trump, and has criticized the kingdom over its human rights record.

Ensuring water security for Egypt

In Egypt, the US National Security Adviser reiterated the US administration's commitment to making efforts to ensure Egyptian water security, in a manner that preserves the water and development rights of all parties, according to the prominent official Al-Ahram newspaper.

The White House had announced on Tuesday that "Sullivan will arrive in the Egyptian capital, to hold official meetings on Wednesday," and the White House confirmed that "the delegation will discuss with Egyptian officials support for the elections in Libya and national security, including That's in the Horn of Africa."

It was not clear whether this visit resulted in a consensus on the most pressing issues in the region, such as the war in Yemen file. 

Sources: South24 Center (Additional sources: Reuters, Al-Ahram, Al-Khaleej Online, WAM)
Photo: Mohamed Al Hammadi/Ministry of Presidential Affairs

Saudi ArabiaYemenUAEEgyptWarHouthisSTC