Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Yemen trying to get out of danger 

By Nasser Arrabyee/28/03:2012

Without fixing the economic problems,the longstanding political crisis will not be solved in Yemen. 

And without external, direct and immediate development support, the poor and war-torn country might remain in chaos for years and years more.

The oil-rich neighboring Kingdom of Saudi Arabia realized this fact on Monday and supplied Yemen with the most  needed thing now which is fuels. The king sent a fuel grant enough for two months. 

The grant was declared after the new President of Yemen Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi paid a  very swift visit to Saudi monarch king Abdullah Bin Abdul Azeez on Mobday.

The two-hour visit, the first ever outside Yemen since Hadi was elected last February 2012, was not only for seeking economic support but also political.  

The security situation is not yet good enough to help the new President Hadi  and his unity government to go forward in implementing the Saudi-sponsored and US-backed deal that is expected to end  the power conflict between  the former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and two  powerful and influential men, who were always the wings of Saleh's 33-year rule. 

The two men,  one is tribal and the other is military, were mainly behind the one-year protests against their opponent Saleh.  

The Saudi King is almost the only external and powerful leader who can exercise pressure on the two men: tribal leader Hamid Al Ahmar, and the defected general Ali Muhsen. 

The three men Saleh, Al Ahmar and Ali Muhsen, belong to the same tribe, Hashid, the country's most powerful tribal  federation. Hashid was always the ruling tribe over the recent history of Yemen.

The Yemeni capital Sanaa is still divided under the forces of these two men on  one side and Hadi's  government forces on the other. 

The defected troops of Ali Muhsen are still in the streets around the square of protesters and Hamid Al Ahmar's tribal militants are still deployed in the neighborhoods around Al Ahmar compound in Al Hasaba area , north of the capital.  

Although Hamid Al Ahmar and Ali Muhsen publicly supported President Hadi in February's presidential elections as a new president and supreme commander of the armed forces, but they apparently  did not help him to remove security tensions and go to next step of the transitional period, which is the national dialogue. 

The two powerful  opponents of Saleh, wanted the new president Hadi to sack the son and nephews of Saleh from the army and security before going to the national  dialogue.  

The Saudi-sponsored and US-backed deal did not stipulate that the son and the nephews should leave their posts. But, the deal stipulates, after the national dialogue, the army and the security agencies should be restructured and reorganized, which means  some or all the army and security commanders including the son and nephews, should be changed according to the orders of the new president Hadi.

Neither Hamid Al Ahmar nor Ali Muhsen would dare to refuse the    "advices" of the Saudi King who is concerned that any failure in the political process will be in the advantage of Al Qaeda which is using Yemen as a launch pad to re-strike the kingdom. 
Both men receive financial support from the king.

If the Saudi king succeeded to  convince Ali Muhsen and Hamid Al Ahmar to cooperate with the new President Hadi, there will be another challenge that should be overcome before  going to the national dialogue which is expected to be held during April 2012.

The war between Al Qaeda and the government forces mainly  in the southern province of Abyan will be the second largest obstacle. The new President Hadi is from Abyan.

A committee  made up of nine people, four clerics and five tribal leaders, was formed secretly this week to stop the war in Abyan and start dialogue with Al Qaeda. 

A source from the committee expected to achieve success if some of Al Qaeda conditions were met. " They want to apply Shariah in their areas," the source said " and we want to stop the war, so we would  talk with them how to apply Sharia."

Meanwhile, the external  supporters of the stalling  political process in Yemen called all parties to hold the  comprehensive  national dialogue conference without delay, warning of any failure.

In a statement issued by the US embassy  in Sanaa, which leads the international efforts to bring stability to Yemen earlier in the week , they said they  would not accept any interference from any party to foil their efforts. 

The external supporters, who called themselves 'Witnesses' called all parties to stop political wrangles in media and focus on implementation of the Saudi-sponsored and US-backed deal, known as GCC Initiative.

The call came after the political process  almost stalled due to a war of  words between  the parties who form the unity government  over who was responsible for the crimes of  Friday March 18, 2011 in which about 50 protesters were killed.The parties exchanged accusations.    

The statement said,   Witnesses of the GCC Agreement, recalling the obligations of all parties under the GCC Agreement and UNSCR 2014, and recalling that all parties are accountable for their actions, note with concern the recent deterioration in political cooperation in Yemen and the risks this poses to Phase 2 of the GCC Implementation Plan.

   It is not acceptable for any party to interfere in the implementation of the GCC agreement.  

We call on all parties to calm the rhetoric in the media. 
We reaffirm our unequivocal commitment to the process and our support for President Hadi and the National Unity Government.  

We call upon all the signatories of the GCC Agreement to renew their commitment to and constructive engagement in the implementation of the second Phase. 

We call upon the President to convene the National Dialogue without delay and for all the parties to participate.
The friend donors of Yemen, from Gulf, US, and European Union, are expected to meet on May 23, 2012 to support the  development abs economy of Yemen.