Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Yemen to make or break

Yemen to make or break
By Nasser Arrabyee/04/05/2009

The southern Yemen has been engulfed in violence since late last April. Restive groups from the south want to secede from the north because of being politically "marginalized" by the central government in the north which united with the south in 1990.

The disgruntled groups say the unity is no longer peaceful since after the civil war of 1994 when the first separation attempt ended in failure.

The 27th of April this year was celebrated by these groups, south movements, as a day of "declaring the war against the south". They pointed to a speech delivered by President Ali Abdullah Saleh in April 27th, 1994, after which the war broke out.

Two days before the groups' celebrations, which turned into violence and riots in at least four provinces, in which dozens of people were killed and injured, the President Saleh warned from a new a civil war if calls for separation continue.

"Yemen, Allah forbid, will not divide into two partitions, south and north, but into villages and small states, and people will be fighting with each other from door to door and from window to window," Saleh said in a big rally in Sana'a on April 27th, 2009, which brought together all the State's officials, and military and security commanders, notably from the south.

The marginalization felt by the southern groups was mainly expressed in two major issues since early 2006: The retirement or exclusion of thousands of military, security, and civil officials from their employments after the war of 1994. The second is the issue of lands in the south which were plundered by corrupted, influential official after the war.

The President Saleh and other officials admitted to some mistakes especially these two big issues, but they keep saying all wrongs must be corrected in the frame work of the unity.

For instance Saleh said his government treated the issue of the retirees with 52 billion YR (US$ 125,000,000).

In 2007, Saleh formed special committees to fact find about the two major issues. The committees, at the end of the day, recommended that Saleh should get rid of 15 senior officials who were responsible for those wrongs of the two major issues, if he wants to preserve the unity. However, no one of those 15 official included in the presidential committee's report was held accountable until now.

Tareq Al Fadhli, a southern prominent tribal sheikh in Abyan, joined the groups of south movement only last month after he served as one of the President Saleh's advisors since 1994.

Al Fadhli in his home town Zunjubar, Abyan, he sponsored in April 27th, 2009, a big rally in which he called for unity of the south to "Drive away the northern occupation and have the southern independence."

Only then, the state-run media said Al Fadhli, a former Jihadist in Afghanistan, was "the biggest plunderer of the lands in the south."

On his part, Mohammed Al Dhahri, politics professor at Sana'a University, said what's going on in Yemen now is a crisis of partnership, a national integration crisis, and economic and legislation crisis. "The official shy recognition of this crisis is not enough," he said.

The separation calls also receive political and media support from out side the country mainly from the socialist leaders who have been living in the gulf countries since after the civil war of 1994.

The government said it had requested the governments of Saudi Arabia and Oman in particular to hand over those leaders who are politically supporting the south movements. The most important three leaders are Ali Saleh Al Baidh, former president of the south, in Oman, and Ali Nasser Mohammed, former president, in Syria, and Haidar Abu Bakar Al Attas, former prime minister, in Saudi Arabia.

President Saleh accuses them of trying to enter Yemen into new wars and of being agents to the British colony. "It's not the right of any one to claim guardianship on revolution, unity, or and the south," Saleh said.

The Yemeni foreign minister Abu Bakr Al Querbi, said in a meet with the Arab ambassadors in Sana'a last Sunday, that calls for separation pose a threat not only to Yemen but to the whole region.

"Any action or saying which touches Yemen's unity is a red line," he said.

It seems that the President Saleh's regime , which faces three other major changes: the northern armed rebellion, Al Qaeda growing activity, and the fall of oil price which cover more 75 percent of the State's budget, depends much on regional and international support for the unity.

The United States said it support the Yemen's unity and stability calling all Yemenis to solve their problems through dialogue and not violence.

In a press release issued by the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a on Sunday, it said it supports a stable, unified, and democratic Yemen.

“The United States was one of the first countries to recognize the newly unified Yemen in 1990. During the 1994 Civil War, the United States was a strong supporter of Yemen’s unity and called for a cease-fire and negotiations between the opposing sides,” said the statement.

The United States believes that Yemen’s unity depends on its ability to guarantee every citizen equal treatment under the law, and the opportunity to participate fully in the political and economic life of the nation, the release said.

No comments:

Post a Comment