Sunday, 29 March 2015 20:10

The armed conflict between Yemen and Saudi Arabia is a catastrophe not only for Yemen itself, but for the whole region.

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The crisis in Yemen is entering a new, extremely dangerous stage and I will further list the reasons for that. A direct threat of an outbreak of the civil war has reappeared. The international peace settlement plan active in Yemen since 2011 the key goal of which was to avert the war, as it was considered, is failing now.

The condition of diarchy created both due to the logic of internal processes and to the artificial factors are the main causes of current aggravation of the situation. President Hadi’s sudden resignation on January 22, 2015, his firm refusal to revoke this decision in response to the demands of all the political forces and the UN special representative, and then his unexpected appearance in Aden (ex-capital of the South-Yemeni state) on February 21, 2015 and simultaneous revocation of his resignation – all this forms a background for the performance we witness. Diarchy supposes the polarization of forces, which in the Yemeni conditions means the confluence of a great ensemble of contradictions that have not been resolved three years since the implementation of the international plan – the Gulf Cooperation Council initiative. The issues of the destroyed nationhood, the conflict between the North and the South and finally the sectarian conflict between the Houthis and the Salafi, where Al-Qaeda plays an important role, supporting the Salafi side, are all put in the same pot. President Hadi’s belligerence is alarming, as he has at once started arming the tribes against the Houthis on the background of the ongoing that time dialogue of all the political parties of the country in Sana under the aegis of the Special UN Envoy Jamal Benomar.

Hadi’s move to Aden and his sudden revocation of resignation was followed by the unanimous recognition of his legitimacy both by the forces within the country and by the leading world and regional powers. Meanwhile, the negotiation process in Sana under the UN aegis was going on and was aimed at carrying a reform in order to mitigate the conflict in the upper government institutions. It should be mentioned, that after the declarations of resignation made by the President Hadi and the Prime Minister Bahah on the January 22, 2015, the Parliament in Sana has become the only legitimate institution. Why were the representatives of different Yemeni political forces not allowed to to work on restoration of the executive government in the country, that has been facing the deepest crisis in its history? Oddly enough, that, having rapidly recognized Hadi’s legitimacy in Aden, the international community has derailed the negotiations in Sana that undoubtedly had a true legitimate nature.

The difficult situation in Yemen has allowed Hadi to interpret the events after the fact (post factum) as a coup committed by the Ansar Allah movement after the signing of the “The Peace and National Partnership Agreement” on September 21, 2014. But if this act was a coup, why did Hadi himself preserved his President office till his voluntarily resignation on January 22, 2015? Why the UN Security Council has approved the signing of a new Agreement that put emphasis on the practical implementation of the decisions of the National Dialogue Conference that was finished on January 25, 2014 in Sana, and legitimized by the special UN Security Council resolution? This strange coup would not be such if Hadi and PM Bahah had not resigned themselves. These events have fairly increased Ansar Allah’s role to an unprecedented level in the crisis settlement process, but they did not serve as a prelude to the violent seizure of power, to be frank.

The discontent was caused by the very fact that during the implementation of the settlement plan elaborated by Saudi Arabia the former outsiders, as the Ansar Allah movement, have strengthened their positions, instead of the forces desired by the US and the Saudi Arabia. Once again, as years ago, during the Saad wars, they were accused of the ties with Iran.

The guided President Hadi, having arrived in Aden, did not even expect to receive the support of al-Hirak (the Southern Movement), as after the war 1994 (in which, by the way, was in command of the forces of the West) they have been declaring that de facto unification of Yemen is invalid, and so he has started at once to call the UN and the Gulf Cooperation Council to deploy troops in Yemen in order to begin war with the Houthis. He was not ready for this war, but does it mean that the scenario had already been ready?

Besides their militia, Ansar Allah is supported by the loyal armed tribes in 12 provinces of the Northern Yemen, where in coordination with security forces Ansar Allah is trying to establish order in the conditions of power vacuum. Besides that, the ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh who has retained the post of the Chairman the Yemeni ruling party, of the General People’s Congress (in full concordance with the international settlement plan after the resignation) that has majority in the Parliament and the key positions in the Army and the Security Forces, also assists them. This strange and unlikely to exist for a long time alliance has been created due to a set of random circumstances, but it represents a political reality that should be taken into consideration.

President Hadi having returned to his duties has mainly external support, as it was mentioned before, and sets hopes upon the support from the rapid deployment forces of the Gulf Cooperation Council. But for what? And how it will influence Yemen?

Saudi Arabia has traditionally been playing an important role in many aspects and nobody intended to contest it in the economic sphere. In their declarations Ansar Allah always stated their allegiance to friendly relations with all the neighbors and mainly with Saudi Arabia. Without the financial aid from the Saudi Arabia Yemen would have faced much more difficulties during the revolution crisis settlement started in 2011 (and even before that). The cut of donor aid to Yemen by Saudi Arabia after the arrival of Ansar Allah in Sana in September 2014 has led to the dismissal of Bahah’s Head of the Cabinet and put the country on the verge of bankruptcy. But I think that Saudi Arabia saw an Iranian Trojan Horse in Ansar Allah, however without sufficient proof. Zaidiyyah community constituted 40% of North Yemen population and represented the basis of the Yemeny statehood since the 9th century. The last Zaidiyyah imam was overthrown by the revolution of 1962, but the Houthis are the partisans of the republic. They just advocated the protection of Zaidiyyah cultural legacy.

The main accusation against Ansar Allah is the adoption of the Constitutional Declaration of 6 February that dissolved the Parliament and put instead a chamber of deputes extended from 301 to 551 members. The doubts in legitimacy of this action has provoked a furious reaction, but mainly from its “ally” ex-President Saleh who would lose control over them. As a result a new formula approved by all the parties of the country was created under the aegis of the UN. But the practical implementation did not follow due to the sudden return of President Hadi.

Before the evening of March 25, 2015 the development of the situation was the following: on the North the coalition of Ansar Allah and ex-President Saleh was opposed by President Hadi, who do not have support in the South, by armed tribal militia and some fragments of the Army Corps.

Any scenario becomes extremely dangerous. But the most hazardous one is an armed conflict between the North and the South that throws Yemen back to the situation of the Civil war of 1994.

But at 11 PM on March 25, 2015 a full-scale military operation was launched following the decision of five member-states of Gulf Cooperation Council (with the exception of Oman). According to the unconfirmed sources Saudi Arabia intends to engage 100 aircrafts and 150 thousand soldiers. The strong Air force will be strengthened by dozens of jets of Gulf countries, Jordan, Morocco. During the last years Saudi Arabia has accumulated a colossal amount of modern weaponry exceeding the Indian volumes of purchases. But the evident military superiority will not solve the political problems.

If the main fault of the Houthis is that they represent the Zaidiyyah community that belongs to the Shia school of Islam, if the religious factor determines the hostility between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and as the situation in Iraq, Syria and other Middle Eastern countries has already shown the examples of the possible consequences, then why not to call the Security Council to stop the invasion and sit down at the negotiating table?

Maybe they are guilty of condemning the role of the US and Israel played in the fates of the Arab countries?  Or maybe they are guilty of believing that the main responsibility for abolishing religious terrorism lays upon the Islamic states leaders and not on the US?

The armed conflict between Yemen and Saudi Arabia is a catastrophe not only for Yemen itself, but for the whole region.

It can lead not only to the radical changes in the Yemeni political map but also to a complete revision of the basic principles of the security system in the zone of the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait that is a transit artery for almost a third of the world trade.

Read 53082 times Last modified on Sunday, 31 May 2015 23:55