Assassinations for dialogue and negotiations?
By Nasser Arrabyee, 27/03/2013
It is only cowards who resort to guns instead of dialogue, said Abdullah Al Fadhli,before he left Yemen to Jordan for treatments from assassination attempt he survived in Sanaa earlier this week. Al Fadhli, tribal leader of south, and also head of authority of lands real estates, advised the dialogue conference to continue and forget about attempts to foil it.
At least four people were killed in three assassination attempts implemented by conflicting tribal and political groups involved in Yemen dialogue over two days.
The targets of the assassinations were tribal leaders from the south and northern province of Saada, where the biggest challenges facing dialogue exist
Despite the fact that 60,000 soldiers were deployed to secure the 565 member dialogue conference, the first assassination happened at one of the military check points nearby the place of dialogue in the Yemeni capital Sanaa.
On March 23, 2013, when the car of the tribal leader, Abdul Wahid Abu Ras was told to stop for checking, armed tribesmen wearing military uniforms were waiting to kill their political and ideological opponent Abu Ras.
They fired at the car killing immediately three bodyguards of Abu Ras who survived only because he was not in the car. The disguised tribesmen escaped quickly and soldiers of the check point were then busy with helping the victims.
The tribal leader Abu Ras, originally from Al Jawf province at the border of Saada, is one of prominent representatives of Al Houthi Shiite rebels ( Al Houthis have 35 representatives out of 565 who represent all groups).
Al Jawf province witnessed and still witness clashes and tensions between Al Houthi supporters and the Sunni Islamists of Islah party ( Yemen brotherhood).
Immediately after the assassination attempt of Abu Ras, Al Houthi group threatened to withdraw from dialogue if the killers are not arrested and put on trial. Al Houthi accused in statements military and tribal forces of doing their best to foil the dialogue in clear reference to Islah Sunni Islamists who are in direct connection with the defected general Ali Muhsen and Al Ahmar tribal leaders who led six wars against Al Houthi from 2004 to 2010.
The assassins were tribesmen loyal to the tribal leader Barash from Al Jawf province also. Barash, Sunni Islamist leader, is accusing Al Houthi and his supporters from Al Jawf of killing relatives and destroying houses and looting properties while trying to expand Shiite influence in the neighboring province of Al Jawf.
The second assassination happened in a tunnel close to the Palace of President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, which means in one of the most security tightened areas in the capital Sanaa.
The southern tribal leader Abdullah Al Fadhli along with his armed bodyguards were driving their car in the tunnel of Aser, when gunmen attacked them. The tribal leader Al Fadhli, who is also head of State Authority of Lands and Real Estates, was seriously injured and one his bodyguards was killed.
On the same day, Monday March 25, 2013, the tribal leader Sulaiman bin Ali from the northern province of Saada survived an assassination attempt when his car exploded immediately after he left it to go shopping in the northern part of Sanaa. The car was destroyed but no casualties.
After these assassinations, tribal leaders found a good chance to use their heavily armed body guards even in the place of dialogue. The most famous tribal leaders like Ahmar and Shayif, the symbols of the most influential two tribes of Yemen, Hashed and Bakil, come with their armed convoys to a square close to dialogue place and stop convoys there. Only one armored car takes Sadek Ahmar, for instance, to dialogue room in the hotel of Movenpic and all other cars with tens of armed tribesmen wait outside the hotel .
After assassinations, Sadek Al Ahmar tried to get in the hotel with three armed bodyguards. Most of the dialogue members blamed him and asked him to apologize for doing that.
" From tomorrow, I will wear suit with tie, and will speak English and French if this will please you," said Sadek Al Ahmar ironically.
There is increasing concerns after these assassinations that dialogue may stop of fail.