Friday,21 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1122, 15 - 21 November 2012
Friday,21 September, 2018
Issue 1122, 15 - 21 November 2012

Ahram Weekly

Accord elusive in Yemen

Yemen’s leader is mobilising support for dialogue, but bombings and separatists are a problem, reports Nasser Arrabyee

Al-Ahram Weekly

Yemeni President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi visited three Gulf states this week. Apparently, he wanted UAE, Kuwait, and Oman to help him implement the most important and final step of the transitional period.
It is the national dialogue that is supposed to be held next week here in Sanaa. This dialogue can not be successful without the participation of the separatist movement of the south. Some important leaders of this movement are living in the Gulf states and Cairo.
The Yemen UN envoy, Jamal Bin Omar, arrived in the capital Sanaa on Monday after he had a meeting with the separatist leaders in Cairo. Bin Omar, who has a permanent office in Sanaa for closely monitoring the transitional political process, is scheduled to present a report to the UN Security Council on 28 Novmber about the latest steps taken by Yemenis for holding the national dialogue.
Undoubtedly, some separatist leaders outside and inside Yemen have already agreed to participate in the dialogue but some refused. Hadi’s visit to Gulf states would focus on having more support for Yemeni unity as a factor of stability not only for Yemen but also for the whole region. Those leaders who demand separation should not be encouraged by Gulf leaders.
The national dialogue is supposed to come out with a vision for a civil state which should start with presidential elections according to a new constitution in February 2014.
Not holding this dialogue means simply failure of the Saudi-sponsored and American-backed deal, known as the GCC Initiative, which was signed by former president Ali Abdallah Saleh and his opponents in the Saudi capital Riyadh in November 2011.
According to this deal, which gives Saleh and all his senior aides immunity from prosecution, early elections were held and Saleh handed power to his deputy Hadi who was approved by majority of Yemeni in a non-competitive election as a way to avoid a civil war.
Furthermore, the United States hinted many times it would impose sanctions such as freezing assets on spoilers of the GCC Initiative. Almost every day, you can see attempts to spoil the deal by sabotage acts against electricity transmission lines or gas and oil pipe lines.
Accusations are exchanged between the conflicting parties, but no one can determine who is the spoiler exactly. Last month, repeatedly, former president Saleh, in his capacity as head of his party that has 50 per cent of the ministers of the current national government, called on UN and sponsors of the GCC Initiative to declare the names of the spoilers.
The spoilers are not necessarily in direct connection with this or that party. For Yemenis, it is easy to understand that conflicting parties (tribal, religious, and military leaders of influence who still dominate the political and social scene) can easily manipulate spoilers from behind the scenes.
For instance, early morning Monday, the main oil pipeline was bombed twice in two different places by tribesmen from two different tribes in the eastern province of Marib. The first bombing was in Wadi Abida east of Marib by tribesmen from Al-Jameel tribe, who were demanding the release of their relative Mansour Saleh Daleel who was sentenced to death last October charged with terrorism.
The second was near Marib by tribesmen from Al-Hafreen tribe who were demanding the release of their relative who was put in jail earlier this month after he kidnapped a Filipino national in the heart of Sanaa.
Although it seems that Al-Qaeda is behind these two bombings, the two tribes are known to everyone and they are publicly demanding the release of their relatives from prison. Loyalty of tribesmen almost everywhere especially in the north of Yemen is evenly split between the Islamist party Islah, and the party of Saleh which forms the opposition now.
The army is also split between two influential commanders. One is Saleh’s son Ahmed and the other is the rebel general Ali Muhsen who was very close to Islah even from before his defection in March 2011.
The Islah party still rallies its supporters every Friday to demand that President Hadi sack Ahmed Ali, keep Ali Muhsen and restructure the army. They say dialogue should not start before restructuring of the army which obviously means to them sacking Ahmed Ali from the Republican guards, the best trained and highly qualified and equipped units of the army.
President Hadi is in need of both commanders for balance for the transitional period which ends in February 2014, if everything goes according to the deal.
To make it clear to all what restructure of the army means, Minister of Defence Mohamed Ahmed said on Monday in a military symposium on restructuring that a strategic plan of 10 years is being made for genuine restructure of the army. The deal, the GCC Initiative, stipulates that army should be restructured.
Economically, donors and friends of Yemen pledged last September to give about $8 billion, half of it from the Gulf states, but they seem to be very reluctant to pay the money if chaos continues. “Without good administration this money would not work,” said Abdallah Al-Maktari, member of economic and financial committee of parliament. “We need to have good administration based on competence, then we can absorb this money and use it for reforms.”
Many observers say if the economic problem is solved in Yemen, more than 70 per cent of the problems will be automatically solved. But this solution can not happen as long as there is no security and political stability. “The economy can not be improved while politicians are fighting with each other,” said Mohammed Afandi, chairman of the Yemeni Centre for Statistic Studies.

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