Yemen: A nation torn apart

Yemen: A nation torn apart
Comment: The Houthi takeover has plunged the country into a dark cycle, and shows the failure of revolution in a country that has been forsaken by international and regional powers.
3 min read
12 Feb, 2015
Security was tight as the Houthis made their constitutional declaration [Anadolu]
The only way Yemenis resemble other nations' citizenry is in their dreams and revolutionary aspirations.

The only thing Yemenis receive from their homeland is disappointment and broken promises of the humanity they deserve.

Only in Yemen do calamities come in droves and last longer than most people's lifespans.

Just like every noble revolution, the oppressed united at the start of 2011 to topple the dictatorship of Ali Abdullah Saleh, president of Yemen from 1990 to 2012.

Unlike other revolutions, however, Saleh was not forced into exile, put on trial, or degraded as Gaddafi was in Libya. However, Yemenis suffered from an agreement between forces domestic and foreign to suffocate their revolution and ignore their interests and hopes.

Yemen had the bogeyman of Saleh who was ousted by the revolution. Even after his departure, Saleh continued to strike fear among Yemenis. Those fears were only increased by the Islamist al-Islah Party's appropriation of other political forces and its appetite to devour everything.

Yemenis then had two bogeymen: Saleh and al-Islah, with each using the other to scare and blackmail the population.

     Only in Yemen do calamities come in droves and last longer than most people's lifespans.

Today, Yemenis have a third bogeyman - the Houthi group that has allied with its arch nemesis, Saleh. This group also has a large appetite for power, but it lacks the political experience of either Saleh or al-Islah.

The Houthis have widened the area under their military control by capitalising on squabbles between tribes, the army and religious leaders; a newly formed external alliance against the Islamic State group (IS, formerly known as Isis); and US - Iranian rapprochement.

The group has used its armed revolutionary committees to take control of the Yemeni capital and state institutions, and succeeded in storming the republican palace and President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi's residence at the end of January.

In doing so, the Houthis muted the last civil voices supporting the group against its oppression in Saada governorate in northwest Yemen.

On 6 February, the Houthis announced parliament had been dissolved and they were transferring power to a national council, a presidential council and a supreme security committee.

This confirmed the Houthis' desire to monopolise power after failing to rule from behind the scenes under Hadi's presidency. Hadi's resignation on 22 January placed the group in direct confrontation with the population and damaged its legitimacy.

The Houthi announcement was not surprising, but it was worrying because it means the future of the Yemeni state and people's dreams of a dignified life are at the mercy of a gang-like militia.

The announcement was the decision of a dominant force trying to complete its domination of power, and it can in no way be considered a "constitutional declaration" - as the Houthis declared it to be.

After this, people began discussing national fragmentation.

In South Yemen they are talking about an "historic opportunity" to disengage from Sanaa, while the idea of autonomy is also being reinforced in other areas, threatening to destroy what is left of Yemen's unity.

The response of regional and international powers to the Houthi announcement exposes the deep moral crisis of these forces - who only care about their own interests, and not the security and safety of Yemenis or Yemen's unity.

The US, for example, does not care the Houthis have taken power because of its rapprochement with Iran, and its war against the Islamic State group. The US simply wants to maintain its security capabilities so it can continue operations against al-Qaeda in Yemen.

Yemenis will live through another dark cycle after being let down by everyone. However, they will again rise up to resist oppression and aggression as they have in the past.

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of al-Araby al-Jadeed, its editorial board or staff.

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.