Will the New Government in Yemen Bring Stability?
National Yemen, December 1st 2014
Conflicts have been ongoing without slowing down in Yemen with acts of violence intensifying in the country. The Houthis' advance towards Sana'a, Ibb, al-Hudaydah and Al-Bayda increased the protests of some groups; the government has failed to disperse demonstrators and has signed a "Peace and National Partnership Agreement" with the leaders of the uprising and the Houthis. With this agreement a new political process has started in Yemen.
The President, Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, assigned the Chief of Staff, Ahmad Awad Bin Mubarak to form the new government. However Mubarak – who received a lot of reactions with this assignment – declined the post. The task of forming the new government was instead given to Khaled Mahafoudh Bahah by President Hadi and the new government was announced on November 7th of 2014.
40% of the members of the new government are from the states in the south of Yemen: 12% of them are women and 38% of them are from various political parties. The ministries in this new government, consisting of 36 ministers in total, have been apportioned between the political parties and groups. According to this apportioning, nine chairs have been given to the General People's Congress and its allies under the leadership of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh; nine chairs have been given to Joint Meeting Parties; six chairs to the Southern Peace Movement and six chairs have been given to the Ansar Allah group of the Houthis. However not even a day after the establishment of this new cabinet, tensions have been exacerbated. While the General People's Congress announced that they would boycott the new government, Houthis declared that they do not recognize the government and made a call for a new government. Before starting to discuss the reasons behind this, it would be beneficial to briefly remember the conflicts going on in the country over the last few years;
The Yemeni Uprisings of 2011 in which the former President Ali Abdullah Saleh had to resign; al-Qaeda attacks; conflicts between Houthis, Sunni tribes and the army in the North, and conflicts between the separatist Southern Movement and security forces in the South; the attack of al-Qaeda militants on petrol and natural gas pipelines and the problem of natural gas and petrol shortages that has arisen in the wake of these attacks and above all those the fact that the domestic issues of the country being manipulated by foreign forces have brought the domestic peace and social order of Yemen to the point of collapse. Undoubtedly just like material and spiritual problems, oppression and violent treatment and an environment bereft of love, compassion and friendship would lead to various illnesses in people, states too get sick due to these same reasons and collapse. Even though these states that have lost their health continue to exist like ghosts on the world map, those states are "unsuccessful" or "failed" states according to international recognition.
While the states that fail to put an end to the civil commotion going on in their lands are accepted as "unsuccessful states", the states that are unable to control their external borders and become subjects to foreign interventions are described as "failed states". In this respect, the profile of Yemen in the recent years fits the definitions of both "unsuccessful" and "failed" states. While it was thought that a new government formed in the wake of such a difficult process would be a hope for the future of the country, the government's ability to provide and sustain stability in the country has already become debatable. Under these conditions, what should be the tasks of the new government?
It is apparent that deep-rooted problems are awaiting the new cabinet in Yemen with its complex social structure. There are sectarian differences and a deep-seated order based on tribes in the country. People from different walks of life are complaining about not having their freedoms; some of those people are in search of freedom for their sect or tribe and some are in search of freedom for their political views. However none of those walks of life assert the freedoms of "others". In this respect, redefining sectarian and tribal identities with the hand of the state, strengthening a sense of social integrity, putting forth an attitude strictly against all sorts of segregation and strictly avoiding all sorts of special punishments or special favoritism towards any sect or tribe should be among the priorities of the state. It should be made possible for Houthis, Sunnis, Zaidis and all other groups with different views to put forth a shared will together and the problems within the fabric of society should urgently be solved, otherwise it would not be possible to bring lasting solutions to the problems of the country. The state should urgently find a solution for these people who live on the same lands, speak the same language and most importantly have the same faith. To do that, it should be made possible for a spirit of love, brotherhood, friendship, unity and solidarity to replace the feelings of hatred and animosity in the society.
It is beyond doubt that Yemen is in need of reconstruction and this reconstruction can only be made possible with love. The domestic turbulence cannot be solved unless everyone embraces each other with love and holds on to each other remembering that they are brothers. That is why the most important task for the new government is to put forth a serious effort for compassion, love and brotherhood to prevail in Yemeni society.