Editorial: April 2015
Yemen — Need for a Political Solution.
Dr.Rasheed Hasan Khan
What began as an internal power struggle in Yemen has turned into multifaceted crisis with the intervention of Saudi Arabia and the Saudi lead coalition of mainly Arab Powers.So far the coalition has relied mainly on massive air strikes but there is a strong possibility of the use of ground troops which will further aggravate the situation.The Nawaz Sharif government, after an over enthusiastic initial response to the Saudi lead coalition’s call, mercifully took into consideration the vehement opposition to Pakistan’s entry into the Yemen imbroligo by the opposition political parties and civic society as a whole, condescended to convene a joint session of the parliament on the 6 th of April 2015 to discuss the Yemen crisis and to decide on a course of action.
The power struggle in Yemen is rooted in the tussle between Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi — Yemen’s President who fled Yemen on 25 March 2015 — and Ali Abdullah Saleh, the longtime dictator who was deposed through a popular uprising in 2012 and is trying to return to power . It appears that Abdullah Saleh has cobbled together an alliance with the Houthis, who constitute nearly half of the population and belong to the Zaidi branch of the Shia sect.
The domestic power struggle has been rendered more problematical by the emergence of Al-Qaeda since 2009,. The US has been targeting Al- Qaeda terrorists through its drone attacks, which have also killed scores of innocent civilians. These drone attacks have made the US immensely unpopular among the Yemeni people. The Al –Qaeda is not just fighting the Yemeni government; it is also very inimical towards the Houthis .
Given the present course of events, Yemeni society which is already deeply polarized will become even more divided. An all-out war will make it more difficult to work towards future reconciliation and restoration of peace, Any escalation of aggression on the part of the Saudi Arabia and its allies will tear the region asunder. Projection of the Yemen crisis as a Sunni-Shia conflict. will have repercussions for Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and even Saudi Arabia itself. Iran, Turkey and Pakistan will also be seriously affected.
The crisis in Yemen is multifaceted, domestic power struggle, the contention between Saudi Arabia and Iran for regional influence, the Israeli maneuvers in the region and the continuing US drive for hegemony are all intertwined therein. Moreover, there is a north-south divide which was not really resolved when North Yemen and South Yemen, decided to merge in 1990. A civil war erupted in 1994 and thousands died. But the uneasy alliance somehow held on till the present. To bring order and stability to a nation which is in such a terrible state, one has to persuade all the relevant players to talk to one another, to negotiate, to find a political soltion to the crisis. The peaceful, non-violent approach to conflict resolution has not been given enough space and scope to succeed in Yemen.Here a word of caution is necessary,, Pakistan has had more than enough of bitter lessons after its myopic involvement in the war in Afghanistan, let that be a sufficient lesson in statecraft,because as a philosopher said “those who forget the lesson of history are condemned to repeat it”.