It is only Yemen, who cares?

November 20, 2018 Middle East , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS

unicef photo

 

By

Sami Jamil Jadallah

 

 

All of a sudden the world has woken up and discovered there was a war on Yemen, most probably a reaction to the gruesome murder and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

 

The US Senate all of a sudden is interested in ending the war on Yemen, the Defense Department announcing it was stopping the refueling of Saudi jet fighters on their bombing raids of Yemen. The Europeans also woke up and discovered there was a war on Yemen and that tens of million are starving. Arab and Islamic institutions continue for political reasons to support the war and they remain silent.

 

All of a sudden the world is interested in ending this stupid, reckless and criminal war on Yemen and in Yemen. All sides of the conflict take full responsibility for the devastation and murders that took place, the Yemeni factions and their sponsors, but mostly the Yemeni so called “legitimate” government that initiated and “legitimized” the war.

 

For over 3 years of relentless aerial bombing by the Arab Coalition (Saudi Arabia and UAE) with critical and material support from the US and UK, including aerial refueling and “smart bombs” that only hits schools, hospitals, wedding parties, school buses, and public markets among others.

 

The war on Yemen and in Yemen took Yemen back to the dark ages, bombing the hell out of the country, leaving nothing standing, hospitals, schools, roads, homes, and other infrastructures in total ruins in a country with little infrastructure to begin with, leaving a generation of Yemenis without hope and a future.

 

Tens of thousands of Yemenis were killed, hundreds of thousands suffering from diseases, and millions made homeless and over 15 million facing starvation, perhaps the worst case of deliberate starvation of an entire country in modern history and the world stood by, the UN, the Arab League, the EU, the Conference of Islamic States and many international institutions all simply watched as Yemen fell into the abyss.

 

With a population of 28.25 (2017) million and with over 40 million pieces of arms, the Yemeni Arab Spring (Revolution of Dignity) was a model of civility and peaceful uprising demanding basic and badly needed constitutional reforms in the governance of the country, ending a long time criminal and corrupt dictatorship that corrupted the entire governing institutions and looted the country, stashing tens of millions out of the country, in UAE, Germany, and in the US.

 

Like Assad, Ali Saleh did not accept the demands of his “subjects” for modest reforms, he answered with the killing of 52 Yemeni on the “Friday of No Return”, precipitating a civil war inviting competing regional parties in their bids for power and influence in Yemen taking good advantage of the long history of conflict between the central government of Ali Saleh and the Houthis and the conflict between Saudi Arabia and the Houthis.

 

Ali Abdullah Saleh, who ruled the country single handily with sham and almost non existing governing institutions, looted the country to the tune of over $40 billion in his 33 years governing Yemen, fully supported by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the US, even though he was somehow involved in clandestine relations with Al-Qaeda blackmailing the US and the Saudis for continued support.

 

The United Nations’ intervention was in the form of appointing Jamal Benomar as the UN Special Envoy to Yemen organizing and leading the National Dialogue Conference held over a period of one year, diffusing the volatile situation.

 

Jamal Benomar did an exceptional job in a country with so many factions and with so much mistrust, leading and managing the National Dialogue Conference for over a year, holding many sessions between fractious factions especially on the issue of the North and the South in Yemen and on the revised and new constitution. However, Benomar was unable to bridge the gap between the North and the South.

 

By all accounts the National Dialogue Conference was a great success, applauded by the US State Department, “the debate, discussions and compromises throughout the process evidence of the will of the Yemeni people to work together constructively for the future of the country.” The European Union Foreign Affairs Council stated “NDC has set an example in the region for transitional phases.”

 

All of this was blown away however when the GCC interceded making a deal with Ali Abdullah Saleh giving him full immunity from criminal and civil prosecutions, keeping tens of billions he looted, staying in the country (manipulating the army and the parliament) keeping the same corrupt incompetent government in place handing over power to his deputy of over 27 years Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, who was kept on for one year, later on running for full term winning 99.8% of the vote for the full term.

 

How can anyone with their right minds believe that Hadi received 99.8% of the votes when the country was divided into so many factions and everyone knew that he was an extension of the corrupt regime of Ali Saleh.

 

It was this government of Hadi with the help of the Saudis that pushed the UN to dismiss Benomar as special envoy, aborting the idea of a new constitution, precipitating the takeover of Sanaa by the Houthis, who placed Hadi under house arrest, later escaping to Aden and then flying to Saudi Arabia where he “invited” Saudi Arabia to go to war to regain his “legitimacy”.

 

The war on and in Yemen must come to an end, with the need for both Saudi Arabia and Iran to stay out of Yemen; let them settle their scores elsewhere. The Yemeni people can take care of their own and can solve their own conflicts.

 

With a ceasefire in place, the entire political and reconciliation process must begin once again. Hadi, with his 99.8% and his government, do not have superior legitimacy over the Houthis and their own allies within the country. A new national dialogue must begin to create an independent governing system, address proposed regional divisions, putting term limits, keeping the army out of politics, and of course once and for all deciding on the issues dividing the North and the South, away from the GCC, and especially keeping Saudi Arabia and Iran away. Yemen, that has resisted foreign invaders throughout history, can resist new colonization by its neighbors.

 

Perhaps even placing the country under an international trusteeship for an interim period of three years, might be the way to go forward. The good people of Yemen need a break, and a chance to reconcile their differences and regain their political and sovereign independence which they lost.

 

Let us hope the US Congress will put real pressure on the Trump administration to end this war and force its allies in the Gulf to withdraw their forces and force other Arab nations to withdraw their forces, also making sure Iran stays out of Yemen.

 

PS – Perhaps someone can explain to me why Hadi’s government is legitimate and not Bashar Assad, both winning by 99.8% and both extensions of a long time corrupt and criminal dictatorship?

 

 

 

 

sami-jamil-jadallah

Sami Jamil Jadallah

Sami Jamil Jadallah is a US citizen, an immigrant from Palestine with over 35 years of international legal and business experience in the US, Middle East, Europe and North Africa. He is a Veteran of the US Army and holds a BA degree in political science and economics, a master degree in public and environmental affairs and doctor of jurisprudence from Indiana University.

Active in international and local affairs, Sami is a co-drafter of the Preamble for the Constitution of the One State for All of its People in Palestine and is active in veteran’s affairs in support of their re-integration in American society. He lectures and writes on a variety of topics including terrorism, social, economic and political issues related to the US and the Middle East.

Sami believes that education is the only way to transform the Middle East into a peaceful productive region and calls on all foreign troops to get out of the Middle East, leaving the people to shape their own destiny. Sami is in semi-retirement but fully engaged in voluntary work and engaged in the peace movement in the Middle East.

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