Dangerous cracks have appeared in Yemen; there are cracks courtesy of the Huthi rebels, the Al Qaeda organization, and the southern separatist movement, not to mention the cracks of poverty, drugs, and corruption, as well as the proliferation of light and heavy arms. The recent London Conference attempted to put forward solutions to overcome these cracks and faults; however it seems that the Yemeni division has spread to the West. Everybody is aware that the West, led by the US, would not have moved towards Yemen to save what can be saved if it weren’t for the presence of Al Qaeda there, whose current situation is a result of the afore-mentioned cracks.
Al Qaeda found a geographic, political, social, and topographical environment in Yemen that contains all the elements needed by the organization’s theorists to implement its policies and promote its ideology, enabling Yemen and its strategic position [in the region] to serve as the springboard for Al Qaeda’s attacks. Al Qaeda in Yemen is very close to achieving its goals, for following the movement’s presence in Afghanistan and Somalia, and after its failure in Iraq for reasons including the countries geographic position. Whereas in Yemen, Al Qaeda has found an environment that is similar to that of Afghanistan with regards to tribal and geographic complications, the presence of corruption that leaves the country vulnerable to threats, and the presence of a large section of the public who are disillusioned with the political leadership. A report issued by the Institute of the Middle East in Moscow said that Al Qaeda and its hard-line followers are waiting for the government to socially and economically collapse in order to take advantage of the situation. This is why Al Qaeda today is expanding its support amongst the tribes, as well as recruiting more people to their ranks, in order to be prepared for this.
The other complication faced by Yemen, and this is something that the recent London Conference would not have been able to resolve even if all the UN countries and their advisers and experts were in attendance, and this is the weak sense of national belonging in Yemen, especially amongst a section of the youth who represent the decisive factor with regards to the cohesion or collapse of the country. As for the educated section of society, that is influential in Yemen’s public opinion, they have entered the cycle of political outbidding and gains. This can be seen in the actions of this section of society towards the Huthi insurgency, describing it as an external threat and an Iranian proxy that could – God forbid – affect the political future and unity of the country, and this is something that will be felt by the regional countries as well. Despite this, this educated section of society dealt with the insurgents in a vague and unclear manner while holding the political leadership responsible for the causes and consequences of this.
The Arab countries that are concerned with Yemeni stability must be aware that providing financial assistance to political and tribal leaders does not have any affect on the reality of the Yemeni youths suffering under poverty and destitution. The time has come, especially at this stage when the Yemeni government is fighting for its own survival, that it is in its interests, and the interests of its people, to take advantage of Arab and international support for development projects that benefit the people of Yemen, especially projects in the fields of healthcare, education, training and rehabilitation.
It is also time for the Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC] countries to be aware that the disregard of Yemen due to its support of Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait is not necessary, and that this need not last forever. The reality and the latest developments in the Yemeni arena necessitate that every GCC country must join with Yemen as part of an integrated strategy, and block the path of Iranian ambitions and ideological expansion. Yemeni workers, for example, would be given a good alternative to working abroad in the far reaches of East Asia. It is simple for GCC countries to benefit in this regard from the European experience with regards to the redistribution of wealth from the wealthy west to the poor East that was newly liberated from Communism.