The war in Yemen
Looking for an exit
Saudi Arabia declares a ceasefire, while the Houthi rebels fight on
Rarely has Saudi Arabia sounded so magnanimous. For five years it has been fighting the Houthis, a group of Shia rebels in Yemen, on behalf of the government they toppled. The war has devastated Yemen's infrastructure and killed more than 100,000 people. But on April 8th Saudi Arabia and its allies promised to lay down their arms for two weeks. The reason for the ceasefire, said a Saudi official, was "to alleviate the suffering of the brotherly Yemeni people and maintain their health and safety". Two days later Yemen, the region's poorest country, announced its first confirmed case of covid-19.
Cynics doubt that compassion is truly motivating Saudi Arabia, a majority Sunni nation. For years its bombs have hit hospitals, houses and schools in Yemen—often, it seemed, on purpose. Rather, the war is turning and the Saudis are losing heart.
Despite its vicious air campaign, Saudi Arabia has been unable to dislodge the Houthis from most of Yemen's population centres, including the capital, Sana'a. Its main international ally, the United Arab Emirates, began scaling back its involvement in the war last year. The Saudis themselves are bombing less: their air strikes are down by more than 90% compared with 2015. In recent months they have held secret talks with the Houthis. Gone is the hope of returning Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, the exiled Yemeni president, to Sana'a. Now the kingdom's goal is to stop Houthi missile strikes on its own territory. "The Saudis want a way out and are using the coronavirus as a figleaf," says Abdulghani al-Iryani, a Yemeni analyst.
盡管沙特進行過惡毒的空襲，但仍然無法將胡塞武裝組織趕出也門大部分人口聚集的中心地區，包括首都薩那。其主要國際盟友阿拉伯聯合酋長國去年開始減少參與這場戰爭，沙特自己也在減少轟炸襲擊的次數：與2015年相比，其發起的空襲數量減少了90%以上。近幾個月來，他們與胡塞武裝組織進行過秘密會談。流亡也門總統阿布德·拉博·曼蘇爾·哈迪（Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi）重返薩那的希望一去不復返，現在沙特的目標是阻止胡塞組織的導彈對本國領土的襲擊?！吧程叵胍粭l出路，并將新冠狀病毒作為遮羞布，”也門分析師阿卜杜勒加尼·艾里亞尼（Abdulghani al-Iryani）說道。
The Saudi intervention began as a vanity project for Muhammad bin Salman, the crown prince, who sought to flex his muscles in the face of rival Iran. But the Houthis stood tough and Shia Iran, sensing an opportunity, increased its support for the rebels. Prince Muhammad is now looking at a quagmire that is diverting resources at a time of plummeting oil revenues. Houthi attacks on the kingdom threaten its reputation for stability. Their missiles have struck oil pipelines and targeted the capital, Riyadh.
沙特的干預行動始于王儲穆罕默德·本·薩勒曼（Muhammad bin Salman）的一項政績工程，他試圖在對手伊朗面前大展拳腳。但是，胡塞組織立場強硬，什葉派盟友伊朗意識到時機到來，就增加了對叛軍的支持。穆罕默德親王現在面對著，在石油收入暴跌之際轉移資源的困境。胡塞組織對沙特的襲擊威脅到其局勢穩定的聲譽，那些導彈襲擊了石油管道，還瞄準了首都利雅得。