Yemen’s Peace Roadmap: Feasible

Opinion

Yemen’s government had brushed off the recently proposed draft for a peace solution by the U.N. special delegate Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, labeling it harshly as unsound and flawed. Despite its arguable conditions, the proposition is still worth a positive take.

One of the proposal’s highly constructive features is that it preserves the constitutional legitimacy of the country, and refuses coup plots aiming to demolish the rule of law.

Mr. Ahmed’s initiative states that all insurgency militiamen should withdraw from central cities, such as Sanaa, Al Hudaydah and Taiz— more so, coup militants are urged to turn in all arms.

One must keep in mind that the above mentioned conditions had long inhibited the progress of peace talks over the past few months.

Not only does the withdrawal of militias and the hand in of illegal arms put an end to civil war, but it also proves that the only existing legitimate armed forces are those constitutionally recognized. Moving forward with the proposal also serves as a tell on whether coup forces harbor serious intentions on achieving peace for Yemen, which cannot be shown otherwise by mere political negotiations of appointed delegates.

The U.N.’s proposal also calls for the insurgents to create a cut off zone separating Saudi Arabia from Yemen; coup militants would retreat behind a 30 km distance from all borderline territory. The drawback would thwart any potential clashes or aggression.

Yemen’s internationally-recognized government made an abrupt rebuff for the proposal, considering that the draft rewards the insurgency more than it backs legitimacy in Yemen.

The main objection was that a new vice president who holds executive power would be named whilst the legitimate president is left to serve as an unable figurehead–such is the case in Lebanon.

The internationally recognized president of Yemen and his deputy will not step down or hand over their powers to new leaders without certain conditions being met- which is a very reasonable case made.

Even though the objection is justifiable, a one sided compromise cannot be asked of the warring parties in Yemen.

If Yemen’s President Hadi could impose a better solution whether through concession or force, anyone would back his proposition. Nonetheless, the case can’t be made so that either the insurgency or the government is left content.

Coup militias must also abandon their agenda on overruling the government and imposing their authority over Sanaa.

Albeit the proposition is flawed and beneath expectations, it still is the best there is, and definitely a better option than the fighting. More so, the draft is built on the basis of a previously approved draft called the Gulf initiative which introduces a period of political transition, which eventually leads to elections leaving the interim government in limited power.

The critical phase would kick-start as the better kept short – political transition comes to an end— the people of Yemen would have the right to self-determination. Yemen is a country which belongs to Yemenis themselves.

What is more is if the people elect a government outside the coup camps, composed of Houthis or the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh loyalists , then it would ascertain the interim government and international stance. As to who would rule Yemen; it remains a decision to be made by the people themselves, neither by Gulf countries nor Iran.

As for whether Mr. Ahmed’s proposal being a reward for the insurgency as some government officials would say—the argument can be settled if an effective implementation mechanism is found and enforced. If so, the draft is the best chance for mediation between the two conflicting parties to arrive to each of their demands.

What should be kept in mind is that no peace proposition ever made in Yemen objected to including the political blocs of the Houthi movement or Saleh loyalists in the country’s political future.

Only a limited list of names was put on figures prohibited of partaking in Yemen’s political transition.

What is new in Mr.Ahmed’s proposal is that the interim government’s vice presidency might be handed over to the insurgency camp, until elections are made.

Mr. Ahmed is expected to announce the date on the elections. It is noteworthy to mention that the interim vice presidency, like other posts in political transition, holds no effective power.

The proposal does not present a final outline for a solution, yet it serves to shorten the political rift—especially after many talks being held on an international scale in each of Kuwait, Riyadh, Switzerland and Britain.

The initial draft put forth this time presents a good chance for progress in negotiations and arriving to a peace solution that ends war in Yemen, restores legitimacy and blocks the way of foreign interference in the country’s sovereignty.

What is left is that the U.N. envoy proves successful in providing clear commitments from the Security Council on guaranteeing the withdrawal of insurgency militias and curbing the armaments of coup militants. The mechanism of implementation should not only control illegal armament of combatants but also ensure fighting any party that attempts on undermining constitutional authority.

Formation of a Detailed Road Map to Achieve Saudi’s Vision 2030

Saudi Arabia revealed a detailed road map for the implementation of Saudi’s Vision 2030 that was approved by the Council of Ministers on the 25th of April. This map was presented after the Saudi Council of Economic and Development Affairs approved a governance framework to achieve the Vision at a meeting chaired by the Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who is also the Second Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence on Wednesday.

The announcement of the governance framework began by explaining that “Based on the Cabinet’s assignment for the Economic and Development Affairs Council to develop mechanisms and arrangements to achieve “the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030”, the Council has developed an integrated governance regulation to ensure institutionalisation of the work, increase its efficiency and facilitate the coordination of efforts among the relevant authorities”. The announcement also discusses in detail the standards of directives, the development of strategies and mechanisms to solve problems.

The announcement affirms that Saudi Arabia is currently working towards achieving the objectives of Vision 2030 according to the highest levels of transparency, precision and control. There is also a specific orientation towards a media presence which aims to provide all the correct information about Vision 2030 and correct any misconceptions that the public have about it.

Egypt: Mursi defiant as army deadline nears

Egyptian army soldiers are seen deployed ahead of demonstrations against Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, in Cairo June 28, 2013. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
Egyptian army soldiers are seen deployed ahead of demonstrations against Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, in Cairo June 28, 2013. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi has made a televised speech in which he reiterated his refusal to leave office, and called on Egyptians to avoid violence and respect the rule of law.

In a 45-minute speech late Tuesday night on Egyptian state TV, Mursi said he was the legitimate leader of the country and that “he would give his life to constitutional legitimacy.” He added: “The January 25 revolution will achieve its goals. Legitimacy will be protected, and I will give my own life to protect it.”

Various sources have said the Egyptian army has formulated an initial road map which includes forming a transitional presidential council and drawing a new constitution. The road map will be announced on Wednesday, when the 48-hour ultimatum given by the army to the political parties to resolve the crisis, expires.

Reuters quoted military sources on Wednesday as saying “the army had drafted a plan to sideline Mursi and suspend the constitution after the deadline passes.”

Reuters also reported that Muslim Brotherhood supporters clashed with security forces at Cairo University, where 16 people were killed and about 200 wounded.

Meanwhile, former Muslim Brotherhood general guide Mahdi Akif, told Asharq Al-Awsat that talk about an army ultimatum was “worthless chatter,” adding that “President Mursi will complete his term.”

Akif said he expected “the presidency to reach agreement with the opposition, which will end the crisis,” adding that “I have a strong feeling that Mursi will win and complete his term,” adding that “anything other than that will be chaos . . . how will the army confront millions of his supporters?”

Muslim Brotherhood protesters demand that Mursi is allowed to complete his constitutional presidential term, saying they would not allow anyone to attack the legitimacy which brought by the ballot box.

In another development, the Muslim Brotherhood issued a statement which said “it received information that there were plans to attack protesters in Tahrir square and the Al-Ittihadiyah Palace, and to blame the Muslim Brotherhood for the attacks, in order to provoke people against them, and to spread sedition in the country.”

The statement added that “we wish that all Egyptians put the country’s interests first in an atmosphere of democracy within a modern civil state which resolves its differences democratically, away from violence, terrorism and murder.”

Security forces have implemented a number of measures to protect demonstrators. A security source told Asharq Al-Awsat yesterday that security forces have stationed a number of officers from the central security department in areas close to Tahrir Square and similar areas, in readiness to protect protesters.

And withe the US facing a dilemma on the situation in Egypt, the BBC quoted the unnamed American official on Wednesday as saying: “We have not called for anything as specific as early elections. What we have said is that the government must respond to the legitimate concerns of the Egyptian people.”