Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Lenderking Voices Support for Military Pressure Helping Resolve Yemeni Crisis

Lenderking Voices Support for Military Pressure Helping Resolve Yemeni Crisis

Sunday, 31 March, 2019 - 10:45
US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Arabian Gulf Affairs Tim Lenderking
London- Badr al-Qahtani
US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Arabian Gulf Affairs Tim Lenderking, bagging some 26 years of diplomacy and hands-on experience when it comes to the Yemeni conflict, in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, offered a unique take on the crisis, parties inhibiting peace and the Iranian role in prolonging the war.

Returning from the Yemeni temporary capital of Aden only ten days ago, Lenderking is the second high-ranking US official to visit there, next to US Ambassador Matthew H. Tueller, since the Houthi-led coup breakout in 2014.

When asked about employing military pressure to get Houthi militias to comply with peace negotiations, Lenderking noted it was only understandable in light of Houthis’ total rejection of engaging in the political peace process and if it also guarantees that they come to the negotiating table.

Otherwise, the US official voiced a clear rejection of violence and backed the notion of compromise on self-determination questions facing the Yemeni peoples.

When asked about Houthis being the party responsible for hindering the Hodeidah peace agreement signed last December in the city capital of Sweden, Stockholm, Lenderking stressed that there is a strong political will both at the level of the US administration, the international community, regional forces such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the UK to support the political solution in Yemen.

As for Houthis impeding the Stockholm agreement’s implementation, Lenderking said there were times both sides did not cooperate optimally in fulfilling their commitments, however, he drew particular attention to the Iran-backed insurgency saying that their willingness for cooperation “raised some questions.”

Citing the mandated redeployment from the Hodiedah port as an example, Lenderking pointed to Houthis, in the past few days, declaring that they have no intention to withdraw armed forces from the Red Sea strategic port.

On that matter, the US diplomat underpinned the need for both parties making concessions.

The million-dollar question in Yemen, according to Lenderking, was the extent of Iranian intervention and Tehran's intentions in the war-torn country.

For the US, Iranian influence on Houthis is especially detrimental to the peace process as it encourages Houthi hostility, such as the firing of rocket attacks on neighboring Gulf States, like Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Houthi violence acts as one of the main inhibitors of effecting peace in the country where millions of Yemenis face the risk of famine.

As far as Yemen is concerned, Lenderking said that Iranians are working relentlessly to prolong the war, adding that the Yemeni people must remain a top priority when addressing the crisis. Pressing objectives for the ailed country, according to him, should be bringing the fighting to an end, resolving conflict, and reinstating stability, which is vital to restoring government services and addressing the humanitarian crisis.

Editor Picks