Cairo, Sanaa, Asharq Al-Awsat- At the same time that the international conference on Yemen is taking place in London in the attendance of international and Arab Foreign Ministers, Yemeni Minister of Information Ahmed al-Lozi told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Iranian Marjas are responsible for financing the Huthi insurgency, and that the Iranian State is a threat to the Arab world.
Speaking about the London conference, al-Lozi told Asharq Al-Awsat “If people are patient they would see that the London conference is good for Yemen. We have confidence in everybody who is participating in the London conference, and we are confident that this is a conference that serves Yemeni national goals and objectives.”
However contrary to this, dozens of Yemeni scholars and tribal leaders met in Sanaa yesterday in order to discuss the most recent developments in the Yemeni arena, including the London conference. This meeting considered this conference to indirectly be one of the “conspiracies launched against Yemen” and an attempt to “internationalize the internal problems of the country.” Yemeni cleric and head of the Imam University, Sheikh Abdul Majid al-Zindani, was one of the most prominent figures to attend this meeting.
In other news, the Yemeni government has recognized the need for urgent economic and political reforms to help fight al Qaeda militancy which risks threatening regional stability, according to a draft document at the scheduled London international conference.
According to the Reuters news agency, major powers are committed to supporting the Yemeni government which agreed to pursue discussions with the International Monetary Fund to tackle the poverty which is conducive to radicalization.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called the meeting after a Yemen-based al Qaeda affiliate said it was behind a failed attempt to blow up a U.S.-bound plane with 300 people on board.
“The challenges in Yemen are growing and, if not addressed, risk threatening the stability of the country and broader region,” the statement said.
“The government of Yemen recognizes the urgent need to address these issues which will take sustained and focused engagement,” the statement added. Yemen said it would pursue talks with the IMF as part of its reform program.
The Dec. 25 attack drove home how al Qaeda could threaten Western interests from Yemen and highlighted the risk that it could become a failed state, compounding security challenges already posed by lawless Somalia just across the Gulf of Aden.
About 42 percent of Yemen’s 23 million people live on less than $2 a day, the World Bank says. The population is set to double in 20 years, but jobs are already scarce and water resources are collapsing, making it easier for militant groups such as al Qaeda to recruit disenchanted youths.