Reminding all Yemenis to fight terror before corruption

Reminding all Yemenis to fight terror before corruption

Recent clashes in Aden between forces loyal to Aidrous Al-Zoubaidi, the former governor of Aden, who is one of the southern movement’s symbols, and forces allied with the legitimate government, have proved to be short-sighted, floundering and ill-conceived. Far from demanding anything of separatists in Yemen, we must remind them of the Arab coalition’s goals: A legitimate government in Yemen and a Yemen unified in the face of a threat made by Iran based on terrorism and sectarianism, implemented by the Houthi militia. This problem has its roots back in 1994, when the militia waged six wars against the Yemeni state. Not only that, but in 2009 they went beyond struggling against the Yemeni government by placing their arms on the borders of Saudi Arabia, which led Riyadh to respond to the Houthi militia’s acts of aggression.
After the six wars, most of the Yemeni people and their neighbors realized the Houthi goals and Houthi involvement in Iranian plans in the region. In 2011, a revolution erupted in Yemen that coincided with the so-called Arab Spring. The revolution took place in the name of needed change and fighting against ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh and widespread corruption. The Houthi militia deceived the Yemeni people by leading them to believe the people were a component of the revolution. At the time, the Yemeni people did not understand the goals of the Houthis and they also seemed to forget what they had learned during the six wars. The real revolution should have been against terrorism instead of corruption and that would have enabled people to reform their country. A failure to recognize priorities led to a great mistake.
Saleh himself made the same mistake by attempting to punish the Yemeni people and take revenge against them because they had asked him to step down. He used the same weapon, the same devil — the Houthi militia — and allowed them to enter Sanaa, the capital of Yemen. He also empowered them to take possession of stored weapons and to assume important government positions. In the end, however, the Houthis deceived Saleh and killed him, just as they have done the Yemeni people. 
If the people of South Yemen start a revolution like in 2011, this might lead to the same problems and allow the Houthi militia to exploit the scenario once again, with the same unfortunate results.
Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri
We are trying here to remind all parties in Yemen not to be blind to the great danger of terrorism because they are thinking only of minor goals. If the people of South Yemen think in the same way that the Yemeni people in 2011 thought about Saleh and start a revolution, this might lead to the same problems and allow the Houthis to use the same scenario once again with the same unfortunate results. 
At the same time, some people in North Yemen may think that, after Yemen’s liberation from the Houthis, it will lead to a separate South Yemen. The south, on the other hand, believes that a separate southern Yemeni state would disable and delay the liberation of the north and force the Arab coalition to accept the separation of the two regions. These minor goals will not serve Yemen’s liberation but will be very dangerous and threatening to stability and prosperity. Understanding that is very important in order not to serve Iranian aims in the region. 
In addition, harm will be done to the Arab coalition and its reputation. It is the coalition that is backing the people in Yemen in order to liberate them from the Iranian aggression, and giving an indication of who wants to use terror against the coalition. They will say they are not in agreement, and they are working for different agendas in Yemen. Of course, that is not true since Saudi Arabia is working to save Yemen from the Iranian terror and its danger to them and their national stability. 
Up to now, we have not seen any country joining Riyadh and the UAE in fighting the Iranian designs in the region with the same determination and the same force. Only one thing can help the Yemenis and that is learning from their mistakes, knowing their priorities and using the wisdom they are well known for. That will enable them to see the real danger to their stability and prosperity and to show them what should be done.
•  Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri is a political analyst and international relations scholar.
Twitter: @DrHamsheri
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