Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

Government representative Khaled Hussein al-Yamani shakes hands with Houthi delegate Mohammed Abdulsalam, as U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres watches. (Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT)

Ceasefire is Reached, While US House Undermines Efforts to End Complicity in War

"It is the deeds, not the words of the parties to the conflict that will decide if Yemeni civilians get the relief they deserve—lives remain on the line."

Julia Conley

While progressive U.S. lawmakers' efforts to take meaningful action to end American involvement in the Saudi-led assault on Yemen were stymied this week, human rights groups expressed relief that progress was made across the Atlantic in United Nations-led peace talks in Sweden, with both sides of the conflict in Yemen agreeing to an immediate ceasefire in the port city of Hodeidah.

The city, which has been controlled by the Houthis since October 2014, has been the site of numerous bombings since the Saudi-led coalition began its offensive in June. The ceasefire will bring reprieve not only to the two million Yemenis who live in the city, but for two-thirds of the country's population, who rely on Hodeidah as the key entry point for food, medical supplies, and other aid. All troops from both sides of the conflict are now scheduled to withdraw from the city within 21 days, with further peace talks planned for late January. 

The International Rescue Committee (IRC), whose humanitarian workers have been struggling to provide aid in the country, noted that the ceasefire "will have a tangible impact on the crisis in Yemen" and the 14 million Yemenis facing famine. As of November, according to Save the Children, an estimated 85,000 children in the country had starved to death.

"The IRC welcomes the news that Yemen's warring parties have agreed to a ceasefire in the critical port city of Hodeidah," said David Miliband, president of the group. "We, and the people of Yemen, are desperate for its implementation. It is the deeds, not the words of the parties to the conflict that will decide if Yemeni civilians get the relief they deserve—lives remain on the line."

The ceasefire deal was reached just hours before the U.S. Senate voted to approve a resolution to end U.S. military support for the Saudis, who have relied on U.S. weapons, intelligence, and fuel since its assault on Yemen began in 2015.

But with five House Democrats joining the majority of the GOP to pass a measure Tuesday barring Rep. Ro Khanna's (D-Calif.) resolution to end U.S. involvement, the Senate vote was rendered largely symbolic before it took place. House Democrats will not be able to force a vote on the issue until after the New Year.

Humanitarian groups stressed that the international community must take concrete action to help end the suffering of Yemeni civilians. Since the war began, an estimated 10,000 Yemenis have been killed in bombings, while tens of thousands more have died from cholera and diphtheria as epidemics have arisen due to heavily damaged infrastructure and port blockades. 

"We call on the international community to strengthen the U.N.'s efforts to end gross violations of international law committed by all parties to the conflict and ensure justice and reparation for victims," said Lynn Maalouf of Amnesty International.

"It is critical that the international community does not lose focus in it efforts to end the war," said Miliband. "Allies of all warring parties, including the U.S., U.K., France, and Iran should continue to apply sustained diplomatic pressure to ensure these agreements are followed and to take meaningful action if violations occur."

The IRC also outlined the steps that must be taken at future Yemen talks, calling for a UN-supported ceasefire for the entire country, the opening of the airport in the capital city of Sana'a, and the payment of public employees' salaries, many of which have not been paid for more than a year amid the chaos.

"Finally, for Yemen to take the next vital steps towards peace, warring parties must be held accountable for commitments to return to the table in January to build on the progress made this week," said Miliband.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Scientists to BlackRock Vice Chairman: New Fossil Fuel Development 'Incompatible' With 1.5°C

"The only responsible course of action is to do everything in our power to stop fossil fuel expansion and further emissions."

Jessica Corbett ·


Goldman Prize Awarded to Activists Who Showed Nature's 'Amazing Capability to Regenerate'

"While the many challenges before us can feel daunting, and at times make us lose faith, these seven leaders give us a reason for hope and remind us what can be accomplished in the face of adversity."

Julia Conley ·


Faith Leaders Call for Federal Election Monitors in Georgia to Protect Black Voters

"It is imperative that our election this November is monitored to preserve ballot integrity and ensure ballot security."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Inaction Is Bought': Here Are the Receipts on NRA's Purchase of GOP

"The issue is money in politics," said Nina Turner after the nation's latest mass killing of students and teachers. Right-wing lawmakers are "allowing children to die because of the gun lobby."

Kenny Stancil ·


'This Is on You!' Beto Interrupts Abbott Press Conference on Texas Massacre

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke accused Texas' GOP leaders of "doing nothing and offering us nothing" in the wake of the massacre at Robb Elementary School.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo