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Qatar withdraws from Yemen mediation 15, May 2011

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Qatar, Yemen.
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Qatar has officially withdrawn from its role as part of the GCC mediation in Yemen, seeking to winkle President Saleh out of power.

Saleh has castigated Qatar on numerous occasions recently as an interfering power. So while the Qatari reason for its departure is that it is angry at the lack of progress – a perfectly valid point – it might help pave the road for Saleh’s exit.

The GCC mediation in recent weeks has picked up somewhat as Yemen has come ever closer to exploding. Their myriad of problems – Houthi rebellions; intra-tribal strife; chronic water shortages; a profound lack of jobs and economic development; Al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula; a staggering youth-bulge; and an absolute lack of the most basic democratic structures – are finally becoming un-avoidable for the GCC. Though it must be noted that they have, to this point, avoided Yemen’s fundamental problems studiously and with great will power to date (Qatar aside).

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Qatar to mediate (again) in Yemen 15, July 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Qatar, Yemen.
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Qatar is to attempt to mediate in the Yemeni conflict once more.

Back in 2006-7 Qatari mediators (including the Emir, the Foreign Minister and the Crown Prince) sought to mediate a solution to the Houthi Yemeni conflict. They suggested that the Houthi leaders relocate to Doha (with a nice house and a stipend) and refrain from making any public statements as part of their proposed solution. The Qatari attempts failed. Whilst I had simply assumed that Saudi had, in some way, shape or form, interfered and scuppered the deal, apparently, the Yemeni authorities (and their advisors) thought that Qatar was trying to pursue a line of mediation overly ‘kind’ to the Houthis.

Qatar have a mixed record in mediation. They succeeded in securing a very important medium term solution in Lebanon and are in the midst of mediating (with severe difficulty) in Darfur. Unlike many regional mediators (such as Saudi and Egypt, for example) Qatar can bring a high degree of neutrality to most of their mediations. Additionally, they are relatively cash rich and are willing to use their money to facilitate mediation.

If, therefore, the conflict in Yemen is approaching something that might be described as a ‘ripe moment’ then Qatar may well have the attributes to bring the parties closer.

I look forward to some comments from knowledgeable Yemen people…

Hat tip: Mari