Spirit of Unity a Must for Yemen's Political Transition
National Yemen, February 1st 2015
The recent history of Yemen, one of the oldest civilizations in the world and described as "Happy Arabia" in ancient times, is filled with wars, coups and political instability. Internal disorder in the country is continuing relentlessly.
Yemen is one of the main countries to experience the flames of the revolt that started with the Arab Spring. Now, it is once again on the world agenda due to political conflicts and acts of violence.
Houthis are once again at the core of these incidents. The Shia'a Houthis claim they are ignored by the government and are facing discrimination. What they aim to achieve with their actions is to obtain more rights and autonomy and to revitalize the Zaidi consciousness against the current administration, which they claim is harming the traditions of the Zaidi sect they belong to; that is why they have been fighting the military since 2004 and forced the government and President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi to resign through their recent actions.
Some time ago, the leader of the Houthis, Abdel-Malek Houthi, asked President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi to establish a new government that would represent different factions in a just power-sharing agreement. Immediately afterwards thousands of Houthi supporters staged a massive sit-in right in front of the government offices. Tensions escalated and fierce fighting broke out. The Houthis then stormed the government buildings. Finally, the Houthis that had seized the presidential palace and the capital first forced the government, and later on President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, to resign. Tens of thousands of people then took to the streets from all parts of the country.
The ousting of the legitimate prime minister and president of a country by force will obviously threaten and impair the unity and integrity of that nation. What is more, such circumstances will lead to considerable loss of stability and security and in that sense to the loss of the gains made up to that point. These incidents in Yemen, which is in the process of a political transition, may have damaging implications for the country's future and may lead to sectarian conflicts or widen the scope of terror organizations. Therefore, in order to heal the wounds and reinstitute stability in the country as quickly as possible, all parties must behave as peacefully, prudently, calmly and conciliatory as possible.
All the relevant parties should implement the requirements of the Gulf Cooperation Council, National Dialogue Conference and Peace and National Partnership of September 21, 2014, allow the ratification of a new constitution, establish independent institutions, and bring about the free mechanisms that can dispense justice. Yemen has many issues to resolve, including riots in the north, separatist groups in the south, lack of capacity in local administrations, widespread poverty and malnutrition, an increasingly deteriorating economy, worsening unemployment, and the fragmented structure of the military. These problems can only be overcome when the entire nation joins hands, sets aside its differences and overcomes the disunity in the country.
In order for Yemen to embrace tranquility, prosperity, peace and stability, there first needs to be an atmosphere of love based on mutual compassion, friendship and brotherhood. Only then can the nation be settled on strong foundations of justice, freedom and democracy.
It must not be forgotten that Yemen has been close to collapse for a long time. The revolts in 2011 that led to the stepping down of the former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, attacks by al-Qaeda, conflicts between the Houthis, Sunni tribes and the military, as well as fighting between the separatist Southern Movement and the security forces, attacks by al-Qaeda militants on petroleum and natural gas pipelines, and the ensuing natural gas and fuel oil shortages, and in addition the running of the country being in the hands of external powers, have destroyed internal peace and social order in Yemen.
The only salvation for the nation is to preserve social integrity and to take certain self-sacrificing steps to build a spirit of unity and togetherness.