RNA - It is hardly surprising, but that could change, as five of the UN Security Council’s 15 seats were filled by new members this week. Sweden, Bolivia, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan and Italy replaced outgoing non-permanent members Spain, Malaysia, New Zealand, Angola and Venezuela.
They will join the other five non-permanent members – Japan, Egypt, Senegal, Ukraine and Uruguay – as well as the five permanent members of the council – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The new change was foreshadowed by President-elect Donald Trump in December following a controversial vote on Israeli settlements. The United States took the surprise decision to abstain from the vote condemning the illegal settlements in the West Bank, rather than using its veto power.
The same could happen in regard to the Saudi-led war on Yemen. The only question is what will the new council members do to make that happen? It's impossible to know, especially with regard to the new US administration and its foreign policy. For obvious reasons, though, the new members could and should find a way to bring the conflict to the forefront of the UN’s agenda this year:
-They know that it was after losing the wars on Iraq and Syria that the Persian Gulf Arab states (Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain) decided to invade Yemen. They also know that Yemen’s proximity to the vital trade arteries of the Persian Gulf means its continued instability is as much of a threat to Western security as it is to the rest of the region:
-Under international law, the airstrikes targeting civilian objects amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Saudi-led offensive has no international legitimacy and certainly no international support. It's pure evil.
-These are the same terror-mongers that unraveled Syria and Iraq – with a helping hand from terrorists - after getting the go ahead from Washington. There is no reason to think the war on Yemen is any different. According to the White House, the Pentagon and NATO have been coordinating closely with the Saudis in the military action, including providing arms supplies, intelligence and logistical support.
-The regime changers have turned Yemen into yet another disaster zone, encouraging the fragmentation of the whole country. In the process, they have paved the way for the growth of terrorist groups. To judge by recent coverage of the conflict, it's clear that it is the Saudi coalition and their Western backers who are in the wrong, rather than the non-existent “Iranian agent provocateurs” who were never there when the revolution and the conflict started.
-The war has had serious implications. It has brought other nations directly into an escalating conflict. Like the Syria war, blowback has been inevitable - with disastrous consequences for Riyadh and its coalition. In the interim, Al-Qaeda and ISIL have taken advantage of the chaos to capture new territory.
For the new Security Council, though, the Yemeni conflict poses an even greater challenge than arguments over which side is guilty of starting the war. This is not a civil war or a strategic contest between Iran and Saudi Arabia for regional influence. Driven by the US-instigated arms race, local dynamics and the revolution which toppled a Saudi puppet regime, the spiraling violence reflects the contest over who will control the country and the oil, and who will preserve the status quo, the Yemenis or the Saudis and the US.
The council may have failed to arrange a real ceasefire, but that does not mean it should not try for one this year. The last round of talks in Kuwait ended in August, when the Saudis refused to accept a deal. Every effort should now be made to force them back to the table and end the bloodshed. Otherwise many more innocent civilians are likely to lose their lives.