Saturday,18 August, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1137, 28 February - 6 March 2013
Saturday,18 August, 2018
Issue 1137, 28 February - 6 March 2013

Ahram Weekly

Yemen falling apart

South Yemen is undergoing a new uprising, reports Nasser Arrabyee

Al-Ahram Weekly

Yemen is witnessing a semi-war. The south is undergoing an uprising. Killing, burning and road blockings are continuing despite efforts to contain the situation. The south wants independence.

A total of 12 groups and movements, at top of which comes the supreme council of peaceful Hirak for liberating the south, issued a statement on Monday vowing to continue struggle until “northern occupation” is defeated and the state of south is declared.

However, President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, who flew to the south immediately after the unprecedented uprising started, still plays down the violence and chaos.

Hadi, who is originally from the south, said in a speech he delivered in Aden on Monday, that the majority of southerners would go to the national dialogue scheduled to start on 18 March and only a few would refuse it. This is the first visit for Hadi to Aden since he was elected as president in February 2012.

“There are a lot of forces who want the dialogue, and there are few who have no interests in dialogue whether here or there in Beirut,” said Hadi in meeting with officials in the capital of the south, Aden, referring mainly to the exiled top leader of the separatists, Ali Salem Al-Beidh, who inspires his followers from the Lebanese capital Beirut.

President Hadi repeatedly accused Al-Beidh of receiving money and weapons from Iran to foment violence in the south with the purpose of foiling the dialogue and the whole political process, which is supported mainly by US and Saudi Arabia.

However, there are 12 more groups and movements other than Al-Beidh group who also refuse the dialogue and insist on independence.

“The dialogue and violence are like two parallel lines that never meet. This call for dialogue is like the call of Israel to Palestinians for dialogue while its troops kill and force people to leave their houses,” said the statement of the southern forces.

The southern forces called the international community to rescue them from crimes of the occupation of the Arab Republic of Yemen, the name of northern Yemen before the declaration of unity in 1990.

The current uprising started on 21 February when the semi-ruling Islamist party clashed with separatists over the celebration of the day.

The Islamists wanted to celebrate the day of election of President Hadi, and the separatists wanted to celebrate the day of refusing Hadi and his election and they called it the day of karama (dignity).

So far, more than 25 separatists were killed and 120 injured according to the statement of southern forces of Hirak issued on Monday. The Islamist Islah Party, dominated by tribal, religious, and military leaders from the north, insisted on holding its celebration rally in the same square of separatists in Khor Maksar in Aden and this is how and why bloody clashes started.

The separatists say that a lot of those who were clashing with them came from the north.

“A lot of groups were brought from the Arab Republic of Yemen in coordination with Islah, the Islamist party,” said the statement of the southern forces.

The president Hadi was not enthusiastic about celebration of his election day in Aden after he received a lot of advice not to allow Islamists in fear of clashes. But Hadi yielded to the pressure of the Islamist party Islah who wanted to impose themselves by force in the south.

While clashes were happening on the first day of this uprising in Aden, President Hadi was speaking in Sanaa: “We do not want to make this day an occasion for celebrating every year although this day witnessed the first ever process of peaceful transfer of power.” This shows that Hadi himself did not want that to happen but he could not stop the Islamists.

One day before the clashes that led to the uprising, the most important leaders of separatist Hirak were arrested when their houses were stormed at night. They include Kasem Askar, the secretary general of Hirak, loyal to Al-Beidh.

The Aden-based official 14 October daily, said in its editorial that the Islamist governor of Aden Wahid Rashid used his constitutional powers as head of the security committee in the city to repress the separatists and portray and strengthen his party as a force that can not be defeated.

The daily paper said that local people saw the Islamists of Islah assembling in one of the military camps close to the square of Khor Maksar before they implemented their violence against separatists. “Military camps have never ever been used for favouring one party against others,” said the paper.

The big question now in the minds of a lot of Yemenis is why President Hadi allowed Islamists to do all that.

The leftist activist Samia Al-Aghbari advised President Hadi not to be deceived by Islamists. “Do not believe them, they will make a pagan of you, and then when they get angry, they will eat you.”

Another analyst says that the northern tribal, military and religious leaders dominating the Islamist party wanted to show how important they are for Hadi in the south and the north.

“The Islah wanted to bathe the election of Hadi with southern blood to widen the psychological gap between Hadi and southerners, and then make him depend on Islah not only in the north but also in the south,” said Ali Al-Bukhaiti, political activist.

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