The Question of Turkish Affairs after the Failed Coup


Since the beginning of 2016, Turkey has been one of the world’s preeminent locations for terrorist attacks. There have been two strikes in Ankara and four in Istanbul so far this year – the July 28 attack on Atatürk Airport being the last of these. These exclude the numerous incidents that have taken place in the provinces of Sirnak and Diyarbakir that have not gained international media attention. The nation has been consumed by fear as it wonders when the next terrorist attack might happen.

Uncertainty concerning the state of affairs in Turkey was heightened with the failed military coup on the night of July 15. The AKP has been in power for the last 14 years. President Erdogan has been an ambivalent international partner over the last few years, turning a blind eye to the influx of foreign Daesh fighters through Turkey to the battlegrounds of Syria and Iraq.

Since the failed coup, Erdogan has exploited the crisis to arrest nearly 8000 alleged plotters. In his attempt to crush all opposition to his rule, he has been able to gain greater power over Turkish society. The coup has demonstrated two sides of the coin: a powerful backing by a wide proportion of the population who protested the military coup on the streets of Ankara and Istanbul, as well as a breathing space for discontent among Turkish nationals. Lest we forget, President Erdogan won the 2014 presidential elections by a mere 51.79%, reminding us that there is a considerable opposition to his increasingly Islamic-conservative rule.

Turkey, itself a NATO member, has a history of silencing the civil rights of its minority Kurdish population and has recently raised the prospect of reintroducing the death penalty. With his increase in power after the failed coup, President Erdogan should tread lightly so as to not send damaging reverberations across an already tumultuous region, most especially if Turkey is to consider a bid for EU membership.

On the downing of the Russian warplane

We at the Next Century Foundation are gravely concerned over the recent downing of a Russian warplane by the Turkish military. We condemn such actions as unnecessary escalations of tension, and remain, as ever, committed to the diplomatic resolution of conflict.

We are also saddened by the execution of the pilot who bailed out of the jet. The execution of all prisoners of war by all sides is a feature of the conflict in Syria and is against every code of honour in war ever conceived.


China and Turkey: A Delicate Partnership

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Whilst Turkey goes to war against both ISIS and the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is on a trade mission in Asia and has recently concluded a brief visit to China, where he brought a large delegation of business leaders and Turkish ministers to principally secure trade and investment deals. Under Mr Erdoğan, Ankara’s ties with Beijing have improved substantially and China is now the second largest trading partner with Turkey, behind only Germany. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government see Turkey’s relationship with China as highly strategic and fuelled by economic, political and security interests.

Although Mr Erdoğan is highly committed to a pivot towards Asia, with China the cornerstone of this policy, he has had to manoeuvre around the sensitive Uighur issue. Since the 1950s, Turkey has had a history of involving itself in the plight of the Uighurs, a Muslim minority group that speaks a Turkic language in Western China, mainly based in Xinjiang province. Turkish nationalists, who hold pan-Turkist views, regard the Uighurs as part of a family of ethnic Turks spread across Eurasia and have lobbied for their protection. The policies of the Chinese central government have gradually curtailed the Uighur’s religious, commercial and cultural activities, such as banning Ramadan fasting in parts of Xinjiang province and forcing shops and restaurants to continue selling cigarettes and alcohol during the period or be shut down. Moreover, the Chinese state has had a heavy-handed approach to Uighur separationist groups such as the East Turkestan Islamic Movement and has orchestrated mass Han migration into Xinjiang, making the Uighurs a minority in Xinjiang. Successive Turkish governments have offered refuge to Uighurs fleeing Chinese rule, and have allowed Uighurs to campaign against Beijing’s harsh policies in Turkish territory, including separatist organisations such as the East Turkestan Liberation Organisation. Many in Turkey remain emotive about China’s treatment of the Uighurs and there was a spate of anti-Chinese protests in Turkey in June and July. These often violent protests are organised by nationalists, but they are egged on by the state media coverage of Uighur suffering in China

Turkey has always trumped up support for the rights of the Uighurs, but with Mr Erdoğan now courting Chinese investment and partnership, he has been facing a difficult dilemma. Both sides have recently reached agreements on energy cooperation and technology transfer agreements. In addition, China has been helping in the construction of a much sought high speed rail link between Ankara and Istanbul. Furthermore, Turkey has been considering to purchase a long-range missile defence system from China in a deal worth $3.44 billion, choosing it over bids from Eurosam and Raytheon/Lockheed Martin. Mr Erdoğan has long considered it a humiliation that Turkey does not have its own missile defence system and has wanted to increase ties with Turkey’s eastward non-NATO allies such as China. This was done despite NATO voicing serious opposition to the purchase, arguing that any Chinese-built system could not be integrated into NATO’s defence shield. The dilemma between protecting the Uighurs or improving relations with China has become even more complicated with the domestic political situation in Turkey. With the AKP losing its majority for the first time in the 2015 general election, Mr Erdoğan has been going to extreme lengths, such as bombing PKK targets, to regain support for the AKP and to hold new elections by the end of the year. If the AKP were to flag up the Uighur issue prominently on its agenda, it could bring some nationalist voters back to the AKP.

Mr Erdoğan has stood up for Uighurs before in order to burnish his nationalist credentials. In 2009, after inter-ethnic rioting left over 156 people dead in Urumqi, the provincial capital of Xinjiang, the then-Prime Minister Erdoğan described the violence as “genocide”, which resulted in an angry response from Beijing. Furthermore, when Mr Erdoğan visited China in 2012, his first stop was not in Beijing, but in Xinjiang, the first such visit by a Turkish leader, where he pushed for the establishment of a Turkish industrial zone in the region. More recently, ties between Turkey and China have been strained by the allegation that Turkish diplomats in consulates across South-East Asia have been handing out Turkish travel documents to Uighurs fleeing China. Chinese authorities claim that many of these Uighurs then travel to Syria from Turkey in order to join terrorist groups such as ISIS, which has promised to train and arm Uighurs so that they may carve out an independent state in Western China.

In the most recent visit to China concluded on July 30th, Mr Erdoğan manoeuvred carefully on the Uighur issue. Whilst he confirmed to his Chinese counterparts that Turkey upheld the One-China principle and was opposed to any separatist movements against China, he also raised concerns about Beijing’s ban on fasting in Xinjiang during Ramadan, a move which led to protests across Turkey earlier this year. In a sign of China’s acknowledgement of how seriously the Turkish delegation took the Uighur issue, Chinese officials said that Mr Erdoğan was welcome to visit representatives of the Uighur community in the future.

Although Mr Erdoğan has overseen an improvement in Sino-Turkish relations during his years in power, the Uighur issue continues to plague the strategic partnership, but in many ways works to his advantage at home, considering his voter base. This delicate line between pursuing economic and security initiatives whilst establishing Turkey as a protector of the Uighur minority will continue to be the norm as long as Mr Erdoğan and his party remains in power.

How genuine is Turkey’s input into the fight against ISIS?

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

Turkey’s reasons for its newfound interest in assisting the US to work against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria are questionable. Though Turkey are now fighting against ISIS, they have an ulterior motive for doing so. That motive is to punish the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) and prevent them from growing stronger in Turkey, and by so doing possibly bolstering separatist attitudes within Turkey’s own Kurdish population. Turkey’s president Recep Tayip Erdoğan, decided to become involved when ISIS suicide bombed a town on the border of Turkey, killing around 30 people. Erdoğan now has good reason to fight against ISIS but is also using this to his advantage to prevent the progress the Kurds are making. This became clear to see when Turkey chose to attack targets around Aleppo, very close to Syria’s Northern border so that as well as bombing ISIS, they are also killing members of the PKK in the area who are threatening Turkey. Erdoğan has good reason to fear the Kurds. Should they grow stronger in Turkey it is possible they will be able to seize their own land, as they have in Iraq, creating a domino effect as more Turkish Kurds take control of yet more land.

The conflict between the Kurds and Turkey is troubling. The Kurds are useful as they are bitterly opposed to ISIS because of Kurdistan’s near defeat at their hands. The Kurds have an intense dislike for the discriminative beliefs against any other religion or sect that ISIS have. The PKK and its sister group, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) have been very effective in fighting ISIS so far. More so than the airstrikes from Turkey. Attacking with ground troops as the PKK and PYD have done seems a much more effective way to attack ISIS.

Erdoğan came out of the most recent election without a majority and for the first time, a Kurdish party, the Peoples’ Democratic party (HDP), entered parliament. This party has historic ties to the PKK and their success was thought to mean the the relationship between the Kurds and Turkey was at last improving and the country was moving forward. It looks like Erdoğan might be hoping that by attacking the PKK and encouraging the anti-Kurdish sentiments of the Turks, he might win the the majority in a snap election should there be one. Erdoğan has suggested that the HDP could be prosecuted for having ties with the PKK. He makes it clear that peace is no longer a possibility.

On the other hand, we need Turkey. Having them as an ally means that the US are able to use its Turkish base, Incirlik, to keep aircraft in the skies above Iraq and Syria instead of using the aircraft carriers they had to have in the Mediterranean. It is also important to have as many countries working against ISIS as possible so the chances of winning are much higher.

Turkey claims it has stopped allowing ISIS to use Turkish land as a transit point to Syria. The only real solution there is, would be to encourage Turkey to make peace with the PKK and address their demands. That has to be done if we are to fully focus on the real issue which is how to wipe out ISIS.

Erdoğan and the AKP: Prospects for the Future

Grand National Assembly

The Turkish general election in June 2015 was a milestone in Turkish politics with the Justice and Development Party (AKP) losing its majority in an election for the first time effectively scuttling President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ambitions to have an executive presidency. Despite the seemingly-spectacular loss by the AKP, the AKP’s position remains incredibly powerful.

If you look at the AKP’s political support in terms of votes rather than seats, the AKP did not suffer a major defeat. They gained 16% more votes than the main opposition and received six and a half percent more votes than in their ground-breaking 2002 election (which resulted in a 367-seat supermajority for the party). Despite this, the AKP is seen to have suffered a defeat for two main reasons. Firstly, the party had set itself hopelessly high standards due to its previous successful results and its ambitions to implement constitutional changes for the Presidency. Secondly, the electoral victory of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) was seen as a failure for the AKP as support for the HDP came at the expense of the AKP. Regardless of this failure to achieve a majority however, the AKP will remain in power as the leading party in government, as an anti-AKP coalition is impossible.

Since negotiations began on the 15th of July, the HDP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) both dropped out of talks with the AKP, leaving only three scenarios: a grand coalition with the secular Republican People’s Party (CHP), a minority AKP government (18 seats short of a majority) or new snap elections in November. Although initially seen as unlikely, an AKP-CHP coalition is certainly possible, and this option is heavily favoured by the Turkish business community, as new snap elections will increase uncertainty for the rest of 2015. If the CHP were to ever enter into government however, it would severely curtail the powers of the President and his authoritarian policies. The CHP is a long-standing Kemalist and secular party that has become a European-style social democratic party in recent years under its leader, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. The CHP has emphasised that if it were ever to enter a coalition, they would push to safeguard personal rights and freedoms and would stress the limits of presidential authority under the constitution, leading to the elimination of the covert budget allocated to Erdoğan. Even more troublesome for the AKP is the fact that the CHP would push for media freedom (the CHP would like control of the public broadcaster, TRT, which has been pro-AKP), the fight against corruption and the return to a peaceful foreign policy.

Apart from the Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, President Erdoğan has played a leading role in this post-election landscape. Although he is expected to be officially neutral in party politics due to his status as President, he has been anything but non-partisan during and after the elections.  Erdoğan feels threatened by the prospect of a coalition with another party, especially the CHP, as they have indicated a willingness to work with the Prime Minister, but they worry about Erdoğan’s intervention in governmental affairs and would like to rein him in. Erdoğan has warned all parties to keep his status out of the coalition negotiations and said he would object to any deal that would dismantle his dream projects such as Istanbul’s third airport and the third bridge in Istanbul. Erdoğan’s fears are amplified by the fact that his office does not have any significant constitutional power, indeed, he has less power constitutionally now than when he was Prime Minister. His power comes solely from his influence within the governing party, so his influence in the Turkish government can collapse even whilst he is President if a coalition were to ever be formed.

Because of the threat the opposition parties pose to Erdoğan, he has worked towards calling new snap elections in November in a bid to regain the AKP’s majority and to put his proposed constitutional changes back on the agenda. His eagerness for a new snap election is demonstrated by how he waited several weeks to ask the AKP leader to form a government as he wanted voters to see the chaos of political uncertainty and bickering among parties.  The thinking is that the uncertainty and instability created by the elections will make some voters, who had decided to “punish” the AKP, change their minds in a snap election and vote again for the governing party. Erdoğan’s ambition to call new elections is putting him on a potential collision course with his Prime Minister, Davutoğlu. Davutoğlu is willing to form a stable coalition government and negotiate with the main opposition, but Erdoğan’s hatred of sharing power will lead him to object to any compromise Davutoğlu makes to the CHP.

Because of the AKP’s intense affiliation with Erdoğan, they are the only party that has the ability to call new elections if they want, which works to their advantage. The outcome of a new election in November however, is unclear. Although it is the hope of the AKP that the HDP’s electoral performance was a peculiarity and unlikely to be repeated again (many ethnic Turks cast tactical votes for the HDP to prevent an AKP majority), there is nothing that indicates that the AKP will get a better result this time around than in the June election. The AKP leadership has been trying to get other parties to agree on lowering the election threshold to 5-7% and would like to implement this amendment before a potential snap election to ensure that the AKP would have more parties to choose from to form a coalition if they were unable to regain their majority again.

The very idea of a new election is also undesirable to many as it would mean another six months without stable government in a time of increasing instability in the country. Turkey is facing an economic downturn, with the Lira depreciating more than 40% against the dollar over the last year, unemployment at 10% and GDP growth stagnating at 3%. The instability in neighbouring Syria and Iraq is also a pressing concern for Turkey’s government, with the need to find accommodation and integration for around two million Syrian refugees in the country and the rising threat of ISIS, which recently engaged Turkish forces at the border. These issues require bold and decisive policies such as closing the border with Syria or regularly conducting aerial bombings in northern Syria, policies that should not be taken under a caretaker minority government.

The AKP’s model for Turkey has stood firm for many years, and has only now been seriously questioned. Erdoğan made Turkey into a regional power in the Middle East and embraced regulatory neo-liberalism to propel the country’s economy, but these policies are now starting to show their cracks. Another election this year will add even more uncertainty as to whether the model will survive, but it would be a mistake to underestimate the AKP’s enduring appeal among voters.

Turkish invasion of Syria?

The following report comes in from a senior board member of the NCF. The opening comment is his:

30 June 2015: Turkey’s erratic president is apparently finalizing plans to send his army across the border into Syria. Ostensibly, for US consumncfption, this action will be stated to be in support of the American led coalition’s efforts against ISIS.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. Erdogan has been working at cross-purposes with American objectives in Iraq and Syria for years. Symbolic of this has been his government’s patent refusal to allow its Nato allies to use the base the alliance maintains at nearby Incirlik to bomb ISIS positions in support of Iraqi and Kurdish battles against ISIS.

Yet, indicative of a hypocrisy which is appalling almost to the level of farce, Turkey demands the placement of state-of-the-art Patriot systems to protect its vulnerable border region from air and missile attack. Alliances have one-way responsibilities apparently.

In fact, Turkey’s military operation — if, in the end, it is given the green light — will be undertaken to end the hopes for “Rojava” — the Kurdish autonomous zone created in a small slice of Northern Syria close to or along the Turkish border. This area has been created from lands seized by the YPG — the military wing of the PYD, the Syrian off-shoot of the Kurdish PKK which is banned in Turkey as a terrorist organization — from either the Syrian government or from ISIS and other marauders who have been active in the area for the last four years.

Erdogan declared in another one of his bombastic blasts last week that he will not permit a Kurdish state along the Syrian border. It has also been his long-held desire to see the fall of the government of Bashar al-Asad in Damascus.

Unlike the Russians and the Iranians — and even the Americans it would now appear — Erdogan does not seem to care who displaces al-Asad, as long as he goes. Given what has happened in Tripoli, Cairo, and Sanaa, this attitude should ripe for reconsideration, but Erdogan is not known as a man of tact, let alone humility.

If actually undertaken, this operation has all the markings of Saudi Arabia’s ill-considered air assault on
Yemen which began on 26 March of this year. It is fraught with difficulties and, in the absence of a plausible end game, potentially painful and costly results. But maybe Erdogan does have a plan in mind.

Another question is how this will play in Turkish domestic politics. President Erdogan’s AK party lost its majority in parliament in the 7 June elections. In the absence of forming a strong coalition, new elections will be necessary later this year.

The right wing MHP party has listed several tough demands if it is to join to keep the AKP in a coalition government — including sending four former AKP minister’s and the president’s son, Bilal, to trial on corruption charges. These were shelved late last year under blatant political pressure.

Whether the MHP’s strong anti-Kurdish bias will be sufficient for it to swallow its principles is a key question. The reported opposition of Turkey’s generals to Erdogan’s Syria gambit adds an additional fly to the ointment.
It is also possible that Erdogan may hope that the sight of ‘sons of Turkey fighting to defend the Motherland’ against extremists will be sufficient to propel his AKP to a majority position in another round of elections this fall. It received 41% in June — twice that of its nearest rival. End Introduction and Comment.


“Turkey Plans to Invade Syria, But to Stop the Kurds, Not ISIS”


by Thomas Seibert⁠

28 June 2015

ISTANBUL—Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is planning a military intervention into northern Syria to prevent Syrian Kurds from forming their own state there, despite concerns among his own generals and possible criticism from Washington and other NATO allies, according to reports in both pro- and anti-government media.

In a speech last Friday, Erdogan vowed that Turkey would not accept a move by Syrian Kurds to set up their own state in Syria following gains by Kurdish fighters against the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, in recent weeks. “I am saying this to the whole world: We will never allow the establishment of a state on our southern border in the north of Syria,” Erdogan said. “We will continue our fight in that respect whatever the cost may be.” He accused Syrian Kurds of ethnic cleansing in Syrian areas under their control.

Following the speech, several news outlets reported that the president and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had decided to send the Turkish army into Syria, a hugely significant move by NATO’s second biggest fighting force after the U.S. military. Both the daily Yeni Safak, a mouthpiece of the government, and the newspaper Sozcu, which is among Erdogan’s fiercest critics, ran stories saying the Turkish Army had received orders to send soldiers over the border. Several other media had similar stories, all quoting unnamed sources in Ankara. There has been no official confirmation or denial by the government.

The government refused to comment on the reports. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said “the necessary statement” would be issued after a regular meeting of the National Security Council, which comprises the president, the government and military leaders, this Tuesday.

The reports said up to 18,000 soldiers would be deployed to take over and hold a strip of territory up to 30 kilometers deep and 100 kilometers long that currently is held by ISIS. It stretches from close to the Kurdish-controlled city of Kobani in the east to an area further west held by the pro-Western Free Syrian Army (FSA) and other rebel groups, beginning around the town of Mare. This “Mare Line,” as the press calls it, is to be secured with ground troops, artillery and air cover, the reports said. Yeni Safak reported preparations were due to be finalized by next Friday.

There has been speculation about a Turkish military intervention ever since the Syrian conflict began in 2011. Ankara has asked the United Nations and its Western allies to give the green light to create a buffer zone and a no-fly area inside Syria in order to prevent chaos along the Turkish border and to help refugees on Syrian soil before they cross over into Turkey. But the Turkish request has fallen on deaf ears.

“We will never allow the establishment of a state on our southern border in the north of Syria.”

The latest reports fit Erdogan’s statement on Friday and the government position regarding recent gains by Syrian Kurds against the Islamic State. The Syrian Kurdish party PYD and its armed wing YPG, affiliates of the Turkish-Kurdish rebel group PKK, have secured a long band of territory in northern Syria from the Syrian-Iraqi border in the east to Kobani.

Ankara is concerned that the Kurds will now turn their attention to the area west of Kobani and towards Mare to link up with the Kurdish area of Afrin, thereby connecting all Kurdish areas in Syria along the border with Turkey. Erdogan expects that the Syrian Kurds, whose advance against ISIS has been helped by airstrikes from the U.S.-led coalition, will go on to form their own state as Syria disintegrates after more than four years of war.

PYD leader Saleh Muslim denied that Syria’s Kurds intend to do this.

But Turkey’s leaders are not convinced that is true. The daily Hurriyet reported Erdogan and Davutoglu wanted to “kill two birds with one stone” with a military intervention along the Mare Line. One aim would be to drive ISIS away from the Turkish border, depriving the jihadists of their last foothold on the frontier and thereby cutting off supply lines. Such a move would tie in with the U.S. strategy to contain and weaken ISIS.

A second goal of the operation would be closer to Ankara’s own interests. The English-language Hurriyet Daily News quoted one source saying there was a need to “prevent the PYD from taking full control over the Turkish-Syrian border,” and also to create a zone on Syrian territory rather than in Turkey to take in new waves of refugees.

But the military is reluctant, the reports said. Generals told the government that Turkish troops could come up against ISIS, Kurds and Syrian government troops and get drawn into the Syrian quagmire. Retaliation attacks by ISIS and Kurdish militants on Turkish territory are another concern.

Finally, the soldiers pointed to the international dimension. The military leadership told the government that the international community might get the impression that Turkey’s intervention was directed against Syria’s Kurds, the newspaper
Haberturk reported.

Turkey’s NATO partners, some of whom have deployed troops operating Patriot missile defense units near the Syrian border to shield member country Turkey against possible attacks from Syria, are unlikely to be happy with a Turkish intervention.

Turkey’s pro-government press insisted there were no tensions between civilian and military leaders in Ankara. “If the government says ‘go,’ we will go in,” the pro-Erdogan daily Aksam wrote, attempting to sum up the military’s stance in a headline.

On Sunday, fighting broke out between ISIS troops and FSA units near the town of Azaz, close to the Turkish border crossing of Oncupinar. News reports said ISIS was trying to bring the Syrian side of the border crossing under its control. The area of the latest clashes lies within the “Mare Line” cited as the possible location of a Turkish incursion.

Yemen Crisis continues to escalate

Earlier today (24th April), an Iranian flotilla bound for Yemen, suspected of carrying weapons for Houthi rebels, averted its course and turned back. According to U.S officials, Iranian cargo ships, accompanied by two Iranian warships, shifted course as a U.S. aircraft carrier, the USS Theodore Roosevelt moved within 200 nautical miles of the flotilla. This move averted a potential confrontation between the Iranian and American warships. Following this incident which took place in the Gulf of Aden, officials claim it is still too soon to tell if a crisis has been averted.


The conflict has sent tensions soaring between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran, raising fears that Yemen could become a new front in what some believe to be proxy war between Middle East powers. Yemen’s Foreign Minister Riyadh Yassin accused Tehran of trying to break a naval blockade on his country, describing the war as an “Iranian plot implemented by the Houthi militia”.

President Obama said that Iran has been warned to not challenge the United Nations arms embargo on the Houthis. He went on to say, “What we’ve said to them is that if there are weapons delivered to factions within Yemen that could threaten navigation, that’s a problem.”

After four weeks of ruthless airstrikes, more than a 1,000 civilians have been killed with over 4,000 injured and 150,000 displaced in Yemen. The Saudi-led coalition has destroyed many of the Houthi rebels’ sites and weapons but with Iran’s support they seem to be surviving. The Saudis are nowhere near to restoring the Yemeni president, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi who was driven into exile in Saudi Arabia.

The US has been helping Saudi Arabia with intelligence and tactical advice and by deploying warships off the Yemeni coast. However with the numbers killed rising and no resolution in sight, they are now urging them to end the bombing. The Obama administration seems to have realised that the Saudis appear to have no credible strategy for achieving their political goals, or even managing their intervention.

Saudi Arabia’s much-publicised creation of a Sunni coalition to fight “the Iranian and Shiite threat” in the Middle East took two major blows when Pakistan and Turkey opted out of the coalition after having initially indicated that they would join. Riyadh worries that Iran is emerging as a legitimate player on the regional and global stage and Washington no longer perceived as a reliably anti-Iranian force thus potentially jeopardising its relationship with the Americans.

The United Nations had previously led a diplomatic initiative which made some progress, but was not given enough support and attention and the official leading the negotiations, Jamal Benomar, resigned. Finding a political solution will not be easy. For one, it will require Saudi Arabia to accept the Houthis as part of the governing power structure if there is any hope of bringing some stability to the country.