Brokering a Ceasefire in Yemen's Economic Conflict
Yemen is caught up in overlapping emergencies that have defied mediation. In the north, bloody battles rage for control of Marib governorate between the internationally recognised government of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and the Huthi rebels who ousted him in 2015. Hadi’s government prevents fuel from entering the Huthi-held port of Hodeida, and a tug of war over the riyal, Yemen’s currency, has led to its collapse in nominally government-controlled cities. These crises form part of a struggle over the economy – call it an economic conflict – that has compounded Yemen’s humanitarian crisis, accelerated its political and territorial fragmentation, and stymied peacemaking. To date, mediation efforts have tended to treat economic matters as technical issues or sought to address them as “confidence-building measures” enacted in service of political dialogue. The new UN envoy should recognise them as core to the conflict and negotiate an economic ceasefire at the same time, and in much the same way, he seeks to arrive at a military truce.