Steven Sahiounie, journalist and political commentator
China played the pivotal role in building the bridge of peace between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Now, China is turning its efforts to negotiating an end to the war in Yemen, which has been a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia. China’s new status as a peacebuilder has side-lined the US, which had been profiting from arms sales and wars in the Middle East for decades. Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen have all been devastated by the US military and their allies since 2003, and the US military continues to occupy parts of Syria.
In Yemen, the US participated as a military partner with Saudi Arabia and made huge profits from selling arms to Riyadh. China’s efforts in peacemaking are set to effect the US arms business, and may leave the US as the big looser in Yemen’s peace.
Steven Sahiounie of MidEastDiscourse interviewed Hamid Rizk, Director of political programs at the Al-Masirah channel to shed light on the ramifications of the ramifications of the Iran-Saudi peace on the war in Yemen.
#1. Steven Sahiounie (SS): Saudi Arabia and Iran have restored all diplomatic relations between them after meet in Beijing. How will the return of relations affect the crisis in Yemen?
Hamid Rizk (HR): We hope that the Iranian-Saudi rapprochement will be reflected positively on the Yemeni file through the commitment of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the serious and real terms of peace based on addressing the humanitarian consequences, foremost of which is lifting the blockade of ports, opening airports, paying salaries to employees, compensating the affected, rebuilding what was destroyed by the war and withdrawing Saudi troops and the rest of the foreign forces from Yemeni territory.
#2. SS: There are ongoing negotiations in Yemen to stop the armed conflict in the country. What is the current status of these negotiations?
HR: There are positive signs and ongoing meetings, the latest of which is the visit of the Saudi envoy to Sana’a for six days, and there is agreement to continue meetings and consultations until reaching a vision and understanding for a fair and just solution that stops the war once and for all and restores the rights to its people.
#3. SS: Yemen has been subjected to an armed conflict that has lasted for years. What is the humanitarian situation in the country there, and are people getting help?
HR: The humanitarian situation in Yemen is tragic, the suffering is great, the poverty is wide, the health and social situation suffers from the results of the war, which left millions of Yemenis living under the threat of poverty, the high rate of malnutrition among children, the decline in the level of basic services, the spread of diseases and epidemics and the destruction of economic life, all of which turned into a living and economic disaster suffered by the Yemeni people in general.
#4. SS: From your point of view, how do you see the development of the political scene in the next stage in Yemen?
HR: We are looking forward in the coming stages to alleviate the suffering of Yemenis by lifting the blockade and opening ports for the flow of basic goods, medicines and oil derivatives that are essential to people’s lives. We are also looking forward to lifting the blockade of Sana’a airport, which contributes to the departure of many patients for treatment abroad. We are looking forward, God willing, to addressing the effects of the war and we are looking forward to serious steps in comprehensive peace by the Saudi-American coalition, leading to the complete and final closure of the war file.
5. SS: The United States has been involved in the conflict in Yemen. During the last stage, Washington reacted negatively to the development of Saudi-Iranian relations. How do you assess the role of the United States in Yemen?
HR: The role of the United States of America is negative and there are indications that America does not want Saudi Arabia to get out of the Yemeni war, because the war benefits the Americans financially through arms deals worth billions of dollars, in addition to the fear of the United States of America losing its influence and some of its illegitimate interests. Washington is also concerned about the consequences of any Iranian-Saudi rapprochement and its positive repercussions on bilateral relations between Arab and Islamic countries. America is taking advantage of the situation of conflict, wars and crises to consolidate its survival and control over Arab and Islamic peoples and countries.
Steven Sahiounie is a two-time award-winning journalist