New Age Islam Edit Bureau
03 February 2018
Saudi Society Is Not Special
By Muhammad Al-Asheikh
Religious Discourse and the Diagnosis of Sahwa
By Fahad Suleiman Shoqiran
Bill Richardson Spotted Aung San Suu Kyi’s Stitch Up
By Dr. Azeem Ibrahim
The Deafening Silence On China's Human Rights Abuses
By Sophie Richardson
Trump, the Ayatollah and Twitter
By Amir Taheri
Russia and Turkey’s Win-Win Situation at Sochi
By Sinem Cengiz
A Firm and Unifying Saudi-Emirati Stance in Aden
By Mashari Althaydi
Who Is Behind Militants In Aden?
By Abdulrahman Al-Rashed
Compiled By New Age Islam Edit Bureau
2 February 2018
There are no cultural peculiarities in Saudi society. The entire thing has been one huge lie that Saudis have believed for the past four decades. Activists influenced by the religious “Awakening Movement” conjured this concept up and used it as a pretext to ban and permit things. They could ban anything and blame the cultural peculiarities of Saudi society.
Over time, these peculiarities turned into shackles that have hindered development and undermined official efforts to keep up with modernity. On Friday 13 January, one so-called peculiarity was put to the test. Women were finally allowed to enter stadiums and watch football matches. This was a first in the Kingdom’s history. Everything went smoothly and not a single woman was harassed or complained. All of the fears promoted by activists were found to be baseless. We have become sick and tired of these so-called peculiarities. We are not special human beings; we are like other ordinary people. These activists should know that.
People today are aware that these peculiarities are a figment of our imagination that exists only in the minds of activists. Many of the myths associated with women and their rights will soon be dispelled. Personally, I believe that the religious activists of the “Awakening Movement” have been unjust to Saudi women.
This is especially true when we look at the history of human development, especially for Saudi women. In the early 1960s, open-minded people and intellectuals exerted efforts to educate women and end female illiteracy so that women could take part in the general development of the country.
The first thing they did was to open girls’ schools. However, the “Islamic Awakening” appeared and destroyed all efforts to develop women. In fact, many social and cultural shackles were imposed on women as they were deprived of their rights as human beings. The activists proclaimed men to be guardians of women and worked hard to promote the guardian system in the name of Shariah.
All of these shackles have been destroyed today thanks to our brave King and Crown Prince, who fear no one but Allah Almighty and treat everyone equally. They have taken calculated steps to liberate women and open our society up to the world. They have ended the control of these activists.
On 7 October 1993, a royal decree was issued for the establishment of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs in Saudi Arabia, with its full nomenclature being The Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance.
From its preamble, we come to know that Sheikh Mufti General Abdul Aziz bin Baz had adjudged “the need to establish the Ministry of Islamic Affairs and Endowments and guidance and advocacy to God Almighty, and our support for it”. At that time, the state of Islamic understanding in the region was characterized by agitation and impulsiveness.
Its rhetoric opposed the Gulf War, the deployment of American forces, and there was a rise in ‘jihadist literature’ after the Afghan-Soviet war. All these developments made governments more interested than ever in monitoring the religious discourse, and controlling any potential political fallout.
Monitoring the radical discourse
Before the establishment of the Ministry, anyone could deliver a lecture in any mosque or distribute political flyers in any shop or mosque. The government had to find a formula for institutionalizing the religious discourse against any politicization of any religious interpretation of the time.
The implementation of the royal decree in mid-1994 helped extinguish the fires. The symbols of the so-called ‘Sahwa’ or ‘awakening’ were seized before things could get out of hand.
A few days ago, Dr. Tewfik al-Sudairi, deputy minister of Islamic affairs, published a book entitled Diagnosing the Sahwa - Analysis and Recollections, in which he recalls the different trends of the times.
The author admits that the current situation allows him to write such a book and bring out memories out of the drawer and in to the printing press.
Al-Sudairi is known for his moderate views – both in the administrative and intellectual realms. He has been critical of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Sahwa movement since his early years, although his criticism was not abrasive because of the circumstances of the past. The ministry, since its establishment, could not stay away from all the confusion of various Islamic currents.
On the one hand, the Muslim Brotherhood developed its own strategies for garnering leadership, while the Sahwa sought to spread its influence through propaganda and through its control over mosques.
These two trends opposed al-Madinah Salafism, what is currently known as al-Jamiyya. However, the ministry now has more than 90,000 mosques, but still these currents wish to dominate them.
A guiding light
In the book Dr. Tewfik al-Sudairi says: “My generation witnessed the refraction of the national left, and the beginning of the glow of Islamic thought, or what can be called the thought of the lucrative interpretation and the employment of religion specifically with a political interest. I was aware of this new wave and I followed the intellectual movement of my predecessors which took full form before the 1967 war. But I have not fully witnessed it because of my age.”
“I also grew up in a conservative and religious environment that is deeply loyal to the identity of the Saudi state, and therefore I cannot write about that period as I write about the Islamic political dynamic movement since I witnessed it in school, mosques, the university, the cultural activities and the different walks of life.”
Dr. Tewfik al-Sudairi discusses in the book the formation of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Juhayman incident and the effects of the Sahwa. Saudi newspapers have published several reviews of the book, according importance to this book, given the position and the eminence of the writer.
The book can be turned into a guide at the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, in order to immunize the workers from the radical ideas of various Islamist movements. This is not difficult, as this lies at the core of the ministry's work. I recall that one of the main objectives and policies of the Ministry, specifically its second objective, refers to the subject of “qualified preachers”.
The book could prove useful in refining the qualification of those responsible for religious discourse. Al-Sudairi is not far from drawing policies and adapting to the great Saudi shift against the outlook of the past 30 years that destroyed, exhausted and ruined both society and government.
Let the experience be a lesson to us; vital institutions lead societies to change, especially since there is a political desire to bridge the gap and overcome the old discourse. It is a difficult and necessary task so as not to witness turmoil once or twice every year, leaving behind many who neither repent nor remember.
Myanmar is in an untenable position internationally in the wake of the Rohingya crisis. But that does not seem to have stopped the country’s leadership, not least Aung San Suu Kyi, to attempt to maintain some semblance of international credibility.
Just prior to the flaring up of the latest wave of violence in August last year, the civilian government of Myanmar was attempting to recover buttress the country’s public image by supporting a UN commission on the Rohingya situation led by Kofi Annan.
Agreeing to that commission did get Myanmar substantial sanctions relief. But as soon as the sanctions were lifted, the recommendations of the Annan commission were dismissed out of hand.
After nearly 700,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh in the second half of last year, international patience seems to have mostly run out. Nobody seems under any illusions that the former human rights icon will be either willing or able to help with the sustained attacks that the Myanmar military are carrying out against this civilian population.
Nevertheless, it is the duty of every humanitarian to pursue every available avenue available to them, if there is even a slight possibility of helping.
In this spirit, Bill Richardson, one of America’s most experienced diplomats, and a man with a remarkable humanitarian history in the Balkans and Iraq, had agreed to join an international panel set up by Aung San Suu Kyi to advise on the Rohingya refugee crisis.
But, this week he has quit this position, stating that the “advisory board is a whitewash”, and that he did not wish to be “cheerleading” the policies of the Myanmar government. This was to be expected.
Bill Richardson is a man of principle, while the political gestures that Aung San Suu Kyi has been making towards the Rohingya situation ever since she has come to power have never had the weight of conviction behind them.
The Kofi Annan Commission
The story of this advisory panel is the same story as the Kofi Annan commission, and the same story as the repatriation agreement with Bangladesh. While the Myanmar army continues to purge the Rohingya off their native lands, Aung San Suu Kyi has made it her business to provide them with political cover by setting up commissions, signing deals and treaties, and generally keeping busy and looking like useful things are being done.
But Richardson is a highly experienced diplomat, and he can spot a stitch-up when he sees one. It is hardly surprising that he should refuse to be complicit in this farce. On the other hand, this is also a highly significant moment for the relationship between Myanmar and the international community.
With his departure, Richardson has helped dispel any lingering hopes that Aung San Suu Kyi, or her government, might come around on the Rohingya issue, and might take active measures to help them. There is no longer any ambiguity behind which the leaders of Myanmar can hide. They are complicit in this genocide, and are happy to serve as enablers for the military commanders who are carrying it out.
What is less clear is whether the international community will now assume responsibility for what is happening in Myanmar. But my bet is that we will stand by and watch, as we have done so many times before. My contacts in the international diplomatic circles all seem to believe that the permanent removal of the Rohingya from Myanmar is a done deal, and there is nothing we can do except to wait for the process to be complete.
Where is China headed in 2018? President Xi Jinping promised "world peace" for the new year - but his 2017 track record suggests otherwise. Remember the singular stain of the July death of 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, surrounded by state security? Many condemned China's conduct, but such interventions are fewer and further between these days. Increasingly, abusive Chinese authorities are garnering international support for their principles and policies.
In a single December week, the Chinese Communist Party hosted an international political forum in Beijing attended by representatives of political parties from democracies including New Zealand and the United States, seemingly unbothered that their hosts run an authoritarian, one-party state.
China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the State Council Information Office held an international symposium in Beijing on human rights - attended by United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, a UN body that, unlike two dozen other UN agencies, is systematically denied the ability to operate in China.
And China held another global information technology summit on connectivity - attended by Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, who in the US argues hard for privacy rights but in China lauds Beijing's plans for a "common future in cyberspace" despite rampant censorship and electronic surveillance.
The term "normalising" is in heavy use these days, typically to mean the implicit or explicit acceptance of problematic behaviour. In diplomacy, it means two countries establishing formal diplomatic relations.
But it's now also a perverse hybrid in contemporary international politics: individuals and institutions from parts of the world where human rights are generally protected aren't just cosying up to, but also increasingly publicly praising, their Chinese counterparts - while failing to defend the principles and institutions that underpin their very existence. In doing so, they enable a whitewash of an abusive regime, one with global aspirations to change and set the rules of modern political life.
While it's true that many people across different realms - academia, business, politics - have, over the years, pushed the Chinese government to adopt international human rights standards and end its persecution of peaceful critics, few now stand against Beijing's intransigence. Many now choose to engage on Beijing's terms, even when doing so is perverse and even harmful to their interests. Will Apple still thrive if China's vision of state control of all sources of information and the use of artificial intelligence to monitor all citizens' behaviour becomes a reality?
Those who participate in these kinds of gatherings invariably insist that it's better they engage than not: after all, the logic goes, who else will set out different or higher standards on everything from democratic governance to corporate social responsibility?
But, increasingly, they simply don't bother to set out or defend those standards. Did any of the political party conference attendees publicly dissociate themselves from their hosts' closing statements praising President Xi's leadership, or offer up publicly available remarks reflecting concern about the lack of elections or multiple political parties in China? No. Did anyone at the human rights conference make a public statement, while in China, about the death penalty, or torture by police? No.
While Chinese authorities host these substantively through-the-looking-glass gatherings and proclaim international support for their vision, increasingly they exploit openness elsewhere to do the same, often through state organisations like the United Front Work Department. Australian politicians have been discovered receiving political donations from Chinese businesses.
The Chinese authorities have been limiting access of human rights groups to the country. Police from Cambodia to France have capitulated to pressure from Chinese law enforcement or Party "discipline" officers and handed over allegedly corrupt fugitives without any semblance of due process. Universities struggle with ferocious complaints from Chinese diplomats about whether the institutions may describe Taiwan as an independent country, or have the Dalai Lama as a commencement speaker.
The question for democracies or businesses isn't whether to engage: it is how to engage in a principled manner. This means treating China like many governments treat US President Donald Trump when he makes outrageous statements or adopts retrograde policies. Democratic leaders condemn Trump's remarks about "fake news" - but don't condemn China for its censorship or propaganda. They criticise Trump for his hostility towards the UN, but have nothing to say on China's efforts to weaken the institution.
It is time for new standards to reverse these highly abnormal relationships with China. Forty years into China's "reform era", Beijing has made clear it's not moving on democracy, a free press, or an independent legal system, though courageous people continue to push for these at considerable personal risk. If powerful outside voices mindlessly engage, they not only stab these brave people in the back - they may also find themselves obliged to dance to the tune of a highly repressive government.
In his first year as US president, Donald Trump has been credited, and more often blamed, for numerous things. His admirers credit him with the 32-percent rise in the American Stock Exchange, and the lowest unemployment rate since the Halcyon days of the 1950s. His detractors blame him for everything they do not like under the sun.
But Trump has his own barometer of success: The number of followers of his Twitter account. At a dinner party in Florida a few weeks ago, he told a friend that his aim was to have at least 100 million Twitter followers by the end of his first term. Trump also boasted that no political leader came anywhere near him in terms of the number of Twitter followers.
Do political leaders worry about how many Twitter followers they have? We have no means of finding out. What is certain is that many politicians share Trump’s obsession. The foreign minister of a country whose total population is under half a million claims he has 2.5 million Twitter followers. His jealous rivals claim he has bought most of them through “Twitter marketing” companies operating from Macedonia, for an average price of $1 for every 1,000.
One leader we did not expect to be worried about his Twitter account is Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. To his entourage, he is not only the arbiter of Iran’s fate but also “leader of all Muslims in the world,” whether they like it or not. Khamenei fancies himself as a poet and author, while also doubling as professor of applied theology in a private seminary for students on his payroll.
A chorus of flatterers keeps telling him that all mankind is thirsty for his thoughts. Khamenei pens periodical open letters to the “youths of the world.” His literary exercises are translated into countless languages, and distributed by Iranian embassies and Hezbollah branches.
According to the Kayhan daily, Khamenei’s presence in a province leads to a return of the spring at any season, with birds chirping earlier and flowers blooming while the air acquires an inexplicable fragrance. He has written on many issues, including healthy Islamic diet, the secrets of a successful marriage, composing poetry, naval warfare, and last but not least, destroying Israel and America.
None dare question his supremacy. At least, if one ignores Twitter which, even if you purchased followers in Macedonia, may still ditch you as a fickle lover might in a tiff. This seems to be what happened to Khamenei last month when the number of his Twitter followers fell from 2.2 million on Jan. 1 to just over 960,000 on Jan. 25.
What happened? First, we had the uprising that mobilized thousands of people in 100 cities across Iran. The uprising was not the work of traditional opponents of the regime, but an expression of anger by ordinary citizens from all walks of life.
For the first time, Khamenei was denounced by name while regime grandees tried to earn kudos by slyly blaming him for everything. He made the mistake of going into seclusion for almost a week while top officials, notably President Hassan Rouhani, Islamic Chief Justice Sadeq Amoli, and even payroll ayatollahs such as Makarem Shirazi, tried to curry favor with the protesters at Khamenei’s expense.
Khamenei reminds one of the wizard of Oz, who knew he was no wizard but could not escape the role because others needed him to pose as one.
Next, a cyberspace bomb was detonated against him with the online publication of a video from 1989 depicting the proceedings of the Assembly of Experts, a body of mullahs tasked with choosing a successor to Khamenei’s predecessor Ayatollah Khomeini, who had died.
In the video, since seen by more than 10 million visitors to various websites, we see the late Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the regime’s Machiavellian wheeler-dealer, trying to persuade a horrified Khamenei to accept the post of supreme leader. The deal offered is: Rafsanjani becomes president in place of Khamenei, who becomes supreme leader in place of Khomeini.
We see Khamenei almost shouting that he is wholly unqualified for such a lofty position. He is a junior mullah who has not completed even the first stages of training as a Mujtahid, a person authorized to issue Fatwas or opinions on matters of doctrine. It is like promoting an army private to the position of five-star marshal and commander-in-chief. “We should shed tears of blood for a nation who might even consider me as leader,” Khamenei says.
But the wily Rafsanjani calms the situation by telling him that his promotion would be temporary, until a permanent successor is found. The rest is history. The temporary becomes permanent, and Rafsanjani, who gets the presidency in time, finds out what Dr. Frankenstein did belatedly. The publication of the video unleashed a storm because it reveals the ugly truth that the Khomeinist regime has always been founded on lies and subterfuge.
The so-called “election” violated Article 109 of the constitution, under which the supreme leader must be chosen from among the maraj’e (sources of emulation) — a handful of grand ayatollahs, not just anyone who wore a turban.
The irony is that Khamenei is better educated than Khomeini, and his command of Persian and Arabic firmer. Having spent years studying Khomeini’s work to write his biography, I could claim that the late ayatollah was far from qualified to pose as senior theologian, an opinion that almost all top ayatollahs share, albeit in private.
Also, the cult of personality built around Khamenei, though distasteful, is nowhere near the idolatrous chorus barking around Khomeini. Even when it comes to such evil records as the number of executions and political prisoners, Khamenei’s is still far from nearing Khomeini’s.
I do not know if Khamenei still believes he is unqualified to be supreme leader. In any case, it does not matter now. What matters is that the whole supreme leader rigmarole and the mythology built around it have been exposed as a sham.
Khamenei reminds one of the wizard of Oz, who knew he was no wizard but could not escape the role because others needed him to pose as one. The wizard had no Twitter account, but had he had one, he would have felt the same pain at being shunned as Khamenei does these days.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated: “Today all the conditions are in place to turn this tragic page in Syria’s history,” when he spoke at the Black Sea city of Sochi, where talks on the future of war-torn Syria were held last week.
The conference was chaired by Moscow and had Tehran and Ankara as the other two guarantors of the Syrian peace process. The Syrian National Dialogue Congress ended with a final statement that agreed on the establishment of a constitutional committee that will include 150 candidates from the opposition and the regime, who will discuss amendments or additions to the existing Syrian constitution. Turkey, which is content with the formation of the committee, stated that it would follow the process closely and had already submitted a list of 50 candidates in consultation with the opposition.
The Kremlin invited 1,600 Syrians to Sochi. However, a delegation of opposition members who travelled from Ankara refused to participate after seeing posters and flags bearing images of the Syrian regime all over the airport and congress centre. This group passed their voting rights to Turkey, which was represented by Foreign Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Sedat Onal, a very experienced diplomat who served in Arab capitals for many years.
The absence of this group was not the only crisis in the Sochi talks. The attendance of Mihrac Ural, who is one of Turkey’s most sought-after terrorists as he is blamed for bloody massacres in the Syrian coastal towns of Baniyas and Bayda and also in the Turkish city of Reyhanli, caused controversy. The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs immediately demanded an explanation from the Russians and asked Moscow to extradite him. “His name was not included on the list of invited delegates given to Turkey by Russia. We reacted and now Russia is working on the issue,” said Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. Also, during a phone conversation between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, Ankara voiced its discomfort over the matter.
Needless to say, it would be naive to expect a meeting on Syria to take place without disagreements or crises, and nobody argued that talks at Sochi would be easy. However, several questions come to mind. Why didn’t Russia inform Turkey of the attendance of Ural, who has an Interpol red notice to his name? How were the regime posters put up without organizers being aware of how they could cause a potential crisis? Were the presence of the posters and logos of the regime a clear message to the participants and guarantor countries, especially Turkey?
We don’t know the answers to these questions, but a meeting held between Putin and his Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad prior to the Sochi talks seems to tell a lot. From the very beginning of the Astana process, Moscow’s main aim was to consolidate the position of the Syrian regime and it succeeded in this with the Sochi talks. Secondly, Moscow wanted to create a broader platform for Syrian talks, where it will have the upper hand rather than the US. That is why the Astana process is now on the agenda more than the Geneva talks, in which the US and the Western-backed opposition members have the greater influence. Thirdly, already being on the ground in Syria, and now on the table, Moscow asserted itself as the main playmaker in Syria. Russia wanted to show all the actors who have a stake in Syria that: “All roads lead to Moscow.” Lastly, Putin, who is Russia’s sole foreign policy maker, achieved his aim of being a powerful global player once again.
Despite the problems that arose at the meeting, the Sochi talks also provided Ankara, along with Russia, a positive outcome. Representing a segment of Syrian opposition at the Sochi table strengthens Turkey’s hand from one side; but also increased its responsibility during the process. Secondly, by being part of the process with Moscow and Tehran, Ankara strengthened its position in the Afrin operation, with which it aims to curb the terrorist presence along its borders. Thirdly, Turkey being in the Astana process sends a message to Western countries, namely the US, that Ankara is not without alternatives in its engagement in Syria.
We do still have a fragmented Syria picture in front of us and there are still disagreements among the members of the peace platform guaranteed by Turkey, Iran and Russia. However, the Sochi talks created a win-win situation for both Moscow and Ankara at a time when the future of the country is being shaped.
A Firm and Unifying Saudi-Emirati Stance In Aden
After fighting between Yemeni parties calmed down in the temporary capital of the “legitimate” Yemeni state Aden, a high-ranking military and security delegation from Saudi Arabia and the UAE visited the city to check the response to the Arab coalition’s decision to a ceasefire.
We all know about the unfortunate and “foolish” battles which recently erupted between the supporters of Aidarus al-Zoubaidi, Aden’s former governor and one of the Southern movement’s symbols, and forces loyal to President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi and which killed some and injured others.
The dispute between these two parties is “real” and it actually has deep roots. People in the South think they have a rare historical chance to separate from the North and become independent.
Meanwhile, people in the North, who are the pillar of political, military and media strength which Yemeni legitimacy (that’s headed by a president and a prime minister who are from the South) relies on, think that maintaining Yemen’s entity is a higher interest that cannot be given up on.
Recent Lack Of Maturity
It’s a strange scene that’s not unusual in Yemen which hasn’t been lacking in maturity recently. This is why the Arab coalition dispatched a Saudi-Emirati military delegation to set things straight and remind oblivious parties that the real battle in Yemen is about restoring the Yemeni state from Iran’s spider web which the Houthis are weaving.
The delegation in Aden issued a statement voicing the importance of rejecting fighting among people of the same country. It reiterated that the coalition’s task is to restore legitimacy in Yemen and implement UN Security Council Resolution 2216.
“Saudi Arabia’s and the UAE’s goal is one and they share the same vision,” the delegation added. An Emirati military commander said: “We stand with Saudi Arabia to achieve reconciliation among Yemeni parties.”
Qatar’s and the Muslim Brotherhood’s policies aim to create a rift between Saudi Arabia and the UAE. This is one of their major goals as the alliance between the two countries is strong and it is the base of the solid confrontational policy against Khomeinism, the Brotherhood and “revolutionaries” who revolve in their orbit. Their aim is to harm this alliance whether in Yemen or in Egypt or in Iraq. All they care about is demolishing what Abu Dhabi and Riyadh have agreed on!
We hope that the Arab coalition’s “political” command holds a unifying Yemeni conference for all those in support of the coalition to reach a common word.
As signs of the Houthi rebels’ defeat in the Yemeni capital Sanaa emerged, battle erupted in the temporary capital Sanaa.
Igniting battles in the South is no coincidence as it reflects the worries of those who are gambling on the war to persist in the North. They believe that the legitimate forces will not win since this would guarantee their establishment of a state in South Yemen.
The prospects of rebels, i.e. the Houthis’, defeat have increased in the North ever since their former ally Ali Abdullah Saleh ended his alliance with them. The Houthis’ situation worsened after they killed Saleh as most of the latter’s supporters turned against them.
Hostile regional parties like Qatar sought to fuel the situation by worsening the southern separatist militias’ propaganda that incites against the government. This political activity is nothing new but it now harmonizes with the Houthis’ interests and seeks to create a front that compensates the Houthis for losing Saleh’s camp by besieging the government in Aden.
Government forces which thought they will restore Sanaa realized they can lose Aden. It’s a bad political and military development that proves old fears that southern parties which tend to favor separation are infiltrated by the same powers – specifically Iran and Qatar – that want to prolong the duration of war in Yemen.
This contradicts with what Qatar has been marketing as it claimed there are disputes among the members of the coalition in support of the legitimate government. Doha has been playing the same old tune as it thinks if it convinces people, it will be able to neutralize the anti-terror quartet that’s boycotted it.
This analysis does not mean there is no desire to separate into North and South and that there are no movements in favour of this separation; however, it shows the relation between the events in which more than 20 people were killed - or who were rather killed during unjustified confrontations.
Those calling for separation call for using military power based on complaints from the current situation due to the brutal war. What’s certain is that the armed attack on the premiership headquarters has gone beyond the limits of a political dispute.
The armed group behind the attack, and which raises slogans that appeal to the sentiment of Yemenis in the South, is now like the Houthis in terms of committing the same crime of taking up arms against the state.
What about their desire to separate Yemen into two independent states? This is up to the Yemeni people. If they agree on separation in the future, then so be it, and if they don’t, the party in favor of separation can go ahead and take its demand to specialized international organizations under the excuse that “Yemen consisted of two independent states and its time to separate again after unity failed.”
The UN may agree to this demand via the international court or another institution, and the dispute would thus end in a civilized, legal and safe way. It may also reject it and the controversy would come to an end. The Kurds in Iraq tried their luck and they had a long history that supported this right.
Laws That Govern
However, countries are not managed according to the desires of politicians and parties calling for separation but according to laws that govern peoples’ relations.
There is a wide segment of people in the South who believe that unification impoverished them and led to oppression and injustice. What’s certain is that late President Saleh’s governance destroyed all of Yemen and is in fact greatly responsible for the failure of the state.
The current war was launched to eliminate pockets of rebellion and end attempts to illegitimately seize power. It seeks to restore the state’s entity according to the UN’s project for a democratic Yemen as supported by the Gulf initiative - to establish an interim government then draft a constitution under international supervision, hold parliamentary elections then presidential elections and form a government.
Only the Yemenis choose their leaders under international supervision. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Iran or Qatar do not decide on their behalf. The Iranians, however, are using the Houthis to keep what they gained during the coup and to prevent the implementation of the aforementioned international plan.
Those calling for separation in the South can wait and then legally and properly request separation instead of destroying the country with their own hands and of being dragged behind countries that scheme chaotic plans to target the coalition’s countries at the expense of the Yemeni people’s lives, security and stability.