Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Is It Too Late For Yemen? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
Select Page

Yemen is in real danger. The Al Qaeda organization sees Yemen as a haven, and this has been a long term dream of Osama Bin Laden due to the country’s geographic location. There are also the Houthi rebels who have been in control of the region that borders Saudi Arabia for some two weeks, and the situation has developed to the point that they have threatened Saudi Arabia. Finally, there are the separatists in the south.

These three tests do not just challenge the Yemeni government, for the situation went beyond this long ago, rather these disaster threaten Yemeni unity as a whole, as well as the security of Saudi Arabia and all Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC] countries without exception.

Is it too late to rectify the disaster that is affecting Yemen and which threatens us all?

At this point we must also remember that Al Qaeda continues to be active and have a strong presence in Yemen. Reliable security information also revealed that due to the situation in Somalia, almost 160 suicide bombers from the country entered Yemen and are prepared to carry out [operations of] murder and destruction, and that they are attempting to target objectives outside of Yemen.

As for the Houthi rebels, they have established a number of armed checkpoints along the road that links the capital Sana with the Saada Governorate which is just some 100km from the Yemeni capital. They are [also] heavily armed with a variety of weaponry.

As for the [separatists] in the south, and despite the fact that they include statesmen and intellectuals, they have been moving actively and tirelessly internally and externally. These intellectuals are searching for solutions, however the extremists are searching for separation, and this will result in the collapse of Yemen as a whole and the resurgence of chaos. This is the dream of the Al Qaeda organization that thrives on chaos.

This is why we say that it is dangerous to leave Yemen alone today. Solutions must not only be military solutions or financial assistance, the real solution in Yemen today is the political solution, and this requires courage and a genuine desire to safeguard Yemen as a whole.

The first of these solutions is with regards to the issue of the [separatists in the] South, and [must be achieved] by dealing with the intellectuals there, rather than by surrendering to the extremists. This requires a broader and more comprehensive vision to resolve the crisis in Yemen. If the issue in the South is able to be resolved, then the issue of the Houthis will not be a big deal, for they do not enjoy any real popular support in Yemen, and the unification of Yemen as a whole will weaken them.

The search for short-term solutions today in Yemen will not solve the problems and may even exacerbate them. Arming the tribes against the Houthi rebels, for example, may incite a sectarian war which Al Qaeda could benefit from to recruit more Yemeni youth. This does not mean that there should be any leniency towards the Houthi rebels, but that the state itself must respond with its own forces against those that take up arms against it.

The political solution of the issue of the [separatists in the] south, and finding logical, rational, and practical ideas to resolve this will safeguard the state of Yemen as a whole, and give the people in the south a sense of the importance of remaining with the motherland, even if [after this] they pursue the policy of decentralization, which may be the appropriate solution.

The crisis in Yemen requires rapid and intense Saudi Arabian and Gulf action, with a clear uncompetitive vision, as well as prudence from both the Yemenis in the North and those in the South. It also requires solutions, some of which may be difficult and tough, but these are a last resort to safeguard the Yemeni state and the security of the Gulf before the situation in the Southern Arabian Peninsula implodes and afflicts us all.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

More Posts