Despite Yemen’s Clear Condemnation of Attacks on NYC and Washington DC Yemeni Public Opposes Planned US Strikes [Archives:2001/38/Front Page]

September 17 2001

Results of a limited survey carried out by Yemen Times in three main Yemeni cities revealed that the public is opposing the planned US strikes against Afghanistan. This comes after Yemen officially denounced and condemned the attack of last Tuesday, September 11. In the survey, the public also condemned the attack and considered it a clear act of ruthless terror that comes against Islam as a religion. However, they also pointed out the hatred that has resulted from the US stances regarding issues concerning the Third World. In addition, they criticized USA’s biased position regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Yemeni officials refrained from responding to the Yemen Times’ questions regarding whether Yemen will join the alliance called for by the USA against terrorism, and whether Yemen will support any military action against Afghanistan, claiming that the official response is “shaping up”.
However, the main opposition party, the Yemeni Congregation for Reform Party (Islah) has clearly opposed any future action against Afghanistan or any Islamic or Arab country.
Sheikh Hamoud bin Hashim Al-Dharihi, Supreme Committee member of Islah, has clearly opposed any military action against any country. “The USA has to understand that it should not rush to reckless conclusions and accusations and commit a military action that it will later regret!,” he said. As far as the official stand of Islah is concerned, Sheikh Al-Dharihi added, “Islah has condemned the terrorist attacks against the US, but at the same time, Islah openly opposes any uncalculated move or retaliation without collecting enough evidence about the culprits.”
Being part of the survey, Faris Al-Saqqaf, Chairman of the Sana’a-based Future Studies Center, said, “Yemenis are all united in condemning the terrorist actions against the USA. However, they are also united in opposing any violence in the form of retaliation by the USA, which will not solve the problem. Fundamentalist Islamists seem to be the main target of the USA, regardless of Osama bin Laden, and any strike against Afghanistan alone will certainly add to the hatred of those fundamentalists who could seek revenge in even more ruthless attacks. The decision of the USA to use force at this time is definitely not at all wise. It will open a Pandora’s box that will cause more troubles for this superpower. The USA should instead concentrate on realizing why this hatred has developed, and try to reconsider its strategies and actions.”This comes after the U.S. President George W. Bush on Saturday, called Yemeni-born migrant to Saudi 
Arabia, millionaire Osama bin Laden, a “prime suspect” in Tuesday’s terrorist attacks on the country, saying that he cannot “hide from the United States.”The Yemen Times also learned that the cabinet, along with the leadership, have been holding meetings to discuss Yemen’s stance regarding the “war” that has been declared by US President Bush, who urged U.S. troops to get ready to retaliate for America’s worst terrorist attack. This is a clear-cut indication that attacking Afghanistan is now very much imminent.
On another level, members of the Yemeni community, including journalists, politicians, NGO representatives, and many citizens paid their condolences to the US embassy on Friday. Among the condolers was the Editor-in-Chief of the Yemen Times who said, “The large number of people who have come to pay their condolences reflects the sympathy of Yemenis toward the US, which has lost thousands of its citizens in this tragedy.”