Arab domains of Yemen’s Reunification [Archives:2007/1082/Opinion]

September 3 2007

Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Tarb
It has been 17 years now since Yemen's National Unity was established. Establishment of this unity left behind a widely-spread controversy between its proponents and opponents, the latter of who cast doubt on survival of this unity, specifically after the 1994 Civil War, which broke out when the unity was four years old. Every side reads the unity and interprets its content according to his own thoughts and the unity's harmony with his own interests and goals.

The real-life situation tells that the unity has achieved a lengthily awaited dream, on the one hand, and constituted an approach for restoring confidence to the Arab citizen, on the other. It proves that if there is a will, dreams and ambitions are easily reachable even amid regional and international fragmentations and conflicts.

The national unity was initiated in 1972, but it remained merely a dream, which had been controlled by the Cold War between the two poles (the Soviet Union and its Socialist Army, one the one hand, and the United States of America and its Western Army, on the other). The idea of establishing Yemen's unity was enhanced after the 1979 War between the two parts of Yemen and the consecutive assassinations of a president from South Yemen and two presidents from North Yemen.

The joint institutions and companies began forming union committees and preparing new systems, which culminated with drafting the Constitution of Unified Yemen. The bloody events of January 13, 1986 forced the then Arab regimes to review the unity or fragmentation of Yemen, based on the fact that the events had left behind tragic consequences impacting emotions and feelings of Arabs.

We can not claim that the Arab idea was backing the National Unity after the 1994 Civil War. But will of the people, who belong to different social classes and political organizations, stood by the legitimacy troops to ensure survival of the great achievement (the unity) during the worst times of Arabs.

We and others may have numerous remarks about what is required from the regime after amending the constitution and conducting presidential and local council elections for more than once since the unity was established. Also, we shouldn't forget the successes reached at London Conference, as well as the positive results the Sana'a Investment Conference came up with. But, the National Unity demands the ruling General People Congress to review a variety of issues and suggest workable solutions to them in the light what is contained in the President's platform, which has won a national consensus.

For their part, Yemen's opposition parties are needed to exert pressure on President Saleh and his ruling party to interpret speeches into actions because we realize that gradual reform amid the current democratic practices and pluralism is the only practical approach. Gradual reform is the most useful move for Yemen and its economic, social and political conditions, as I believe that sudden changes may cause fierce reactions to happen, democracy to disappear and law to be breached.

This is why I felt compelled to say that Yemen is in an urgent need to encourage its people, belonging to different tribes and political organizations, to come together and behave in favor of their society. In addition, President Saleh's platform needs to be implemented. Otherwise, the ruling party will find itself experiencing a situation similar to what happened in the most recent Palestinian parliamentary elections when the majority of Palestinians voted for Hamas. They weren't fund of Hamas Movement. They were enraged by violations and rampant corruption observed under Fatah's regime, however.

Yemen's coming parliamentary and local council elections require the ruling party to work on planning good solutions to the rampant corruption and price hikes, as well as to create more job opportunities and enhance security and equality. Otherwise, results of the coming elections may reverse expectations.

These are the internal and external domains in the national unity's history that needs us to conduct more studies and analyses, and parties and civil community organizations to suggest applicable alternatives to the current situations. To maintain Yemen's stability and smooth prosperity at the time of regional and international crises, the state mustn't allow political conflicts and sectarian seditions to erupt.

Prof. Abdulaziz Al-Tarb is an economist and a professor in Political Science. He is the head of the Arab Group for Investment and Development.