A country divided [Archives:2007/1075/Viewpoint]

August 9 2007

Yemen is going through extremely difficult times today, almost the worst in the last 35 years. The power struggle has reached a point whereby every influential party wants a piece of the cake, and every ambitious group is reaching out to grab a part of the falling body.

It is not an exaggeration. What is happening today in Yemen is a crisis of the highest level, where real threats to divide the country are eminent. Just yesterday, another call came from Taiz to create a federal state, siding by the already loud violent voices in Sa'ada, Marib, Dhale, Abyan, Shabwa, and recently Aden.

The powerful sheikh's of Yemen realize that the changes are coming. Therefore, they started creating their own collations in order to survive the approaching tide. The greatest fear, I believe, is that Yemen would turn into another Somalia, and instead of receiving refugees from the African Horn; now Yemenis would start seeking a place to go, where they can feel safe.

This is the situation today, and although the state is working hard in order to regain its control, it has committed many mistakes in the process. One of which is giving around 27 million dollars to the 60,000 pensioners in Abyan, led by the infamous Shahtoor who demands justice and to break from the Republic of Yemen.

The state thought it could buy the loyalty of such outraged retired soldiers by giving them money like it used to do with the sheikhs. However, the rebels used the money to buy weapons and arm themselves, even further to challenge the state again.

Additionally, the sheikhs seem not to know on whose side they must stand any more, especially when some of their “neighbours” are paying even more money to gain their loyalty. More so, the mistake the state has done in Sa'ada is unforgivable. The use of hard security to handle rebels and angry masses has only fired back and now there are even more people in different parts of the country demanding to divide Yemen.

The people of Yemen are not healthy, not educated, and not secure. They don't have enough jobs, good roads, respectable laws etc. In short; the people of Yemen are not happy. And as a result, they don't appreciate their country or the ruling system. Further, with more pressure, on the one hand, from the security, trying to regain control, and with seduction from parties, on the other hand, who want a strong place in the new map, the people of Yemen are starting to get agitated and violent.

Change is good, and the current system is too faulty to remain in power, but change that comes by force and through bloodshed is not good, and it will only take us to an even worse situation.