Hussein Al-Ahmar warns of gloomy future for Yemen [Archives:2007/1104/Front Page]

November 19 2007

By: Mohammed Bin Sallam
AMRAN, Nov. 18 ) The Hashid Tribe held a huge public rally on Saturday for its people in Amran's Khamer District, 50 km northwest of Sana'a. Attended by more than ten thousand people from the Hashid and other loyal tribes, the rally is the first of its kind for the tribe, the second largest in Yemen after the Bakeel tribe.

During the rally, named the 'broader meeting for Hashid tribesmen', Parliament member (MP) Hussein Abdullah Al-Ahmar welcomed the attendees who came from different parts of the tribe to participate in the meeting. Al-Ahmar considered the meeting a new peaceful revolution to reform the situations and infringements which, according to him, are symptomatic of poor government policies.

“Yemen is undergoing serious difficulties due to the failed policies pursued by the government,” Al-Ahmar said, reminding attendees of his father's statement at the Islah Party's Third Conference, that 'Yemen is passing through a gloomy tunnel.' He pointed out that corruption has become rampant in all the government offices, and therefore has permeated every house and family in the nation, adding that such a destructive phenomenon has spread to judicial, education and health sectors.

The tribal leader, who chairs the National Solidarity Council (NSC), went on to say, “If we want to continue the march toward a modern and strong Yemen, the Yemeni people must understand that the country's problems will never be solved without a nationwide struggle. Today, Yemen is threatened by secession and fragmentation, which the corrupt regime is responsible for.”

Declaring his solidarity with the protests staged by military and civil retirees in the southern and eastern governorates, Al-Ahmar stressed the necessity of confronting secession, adhering to national unity and struggling for its survival. “The regime wants tribesmen to be highwaymen, illiterates or guards at the doors of officials' houses,” the MP commented. “The regime doesn't want us to join universities and unions. It doesn't want us to be doctors, scholars, journalists and engineers.” He accused the authority of damaging national unity by its unwise conduct and policies.

According to the NSC chairman, the authority's practices constitute a danger to national unity and encourage secession. “We will no longer tolerate such practices. We will stand by oppressed citizens to obtain their rights without causing any damage to unity,” Al-Ahmar continued, assuring listeners that he will do his best for the sake of protecting the nation's revolution and unity.

Al-Ahmar called on oppressed citizens to claim their legal rights, adding that he will support them. “We are not intent on destruction. We want to provide a typical example for people on how to behave and claim their rights, as our habits and traditions oblige us to stand for justice, equality and loyalty, and support those who suffer from injustice and oppression.” During the rally, he invited Hashid tribesmen to get rid of habits that stain the nation's present and future, advising them to work with a unified spirit to confront threats and challenges, as well as avoid working in an unorganized manner.

The public rally released a statement containing two important points, the first of which focuses on the tribe's domestic situations. The statement recommended present tribesmen to unite and obey their tribal leaders and sheikhs. The second point clarified the tribe's strong objection to public statements made by the government, which it described as 'irresponsible' for denying their efforts toward establishing national unity. The statement strongly denounced the government's indifference toward the behavior of corrupt officials, accusing them of property theft and embezzlement under different guises.

Participants in the meeting listed several urgent demands for the government to fulfill, such as providing their areas with electricity, health care and water. They vowed to continue defending the achievements of the September and October revolutions, and to maintain the republican government, national unity and democracy.

The participants agreed to continue fighting oppression, corruption, treason, tyranny, slavery and totalitarianism, and expressed solidarity with all civil community organizations and other human rights groups in Yemen. They praised the role of these groups in defending press freedoms and protecting journalists from repeated assaults by security agents.

The meeting insisted that the state put a stop to the skyrocketing prices of basic foodstuffs and impose tough policies against tradesmen who play with pricelists and monopolize commodities. It also advised the state to stop using force in dealing with problems that can be resolved through peaceful means, and demanded that it separate between the three authorities, set up an independent judiciary and neutral army, and set scientific plans to implement them in various fields, rather than follow random policies that damage the nation.

All the participants unanimously agreed to hold regular meetings and conferences, as well as expand them to include all Yemenis in order to serve the national interest. During the tribal meeting, Hussein Al-Ahmar declared the foundation of a charitable society in Hashid in the name of Sheikh Abdullah Bin Hussein Al-Ahmar to support the poor and needy, help patients get treatment, support youths who are getting married, and encourage school enrollment rates. He pledged YR 10 million per month for the newly established society.

On Saturday afternoon, policemen held Al-Arabiyya Satellite Channel reporters and other media personnel at a security checkpoint on the road to Sana'a as they were returning from the rally. The police asked journalists to submit their ID cards and prevented them from entering Sana'a with the footage they had taken at the rally. The media personnel were held at the checkpoint for more than one hour.

The huge rally, which the son of Parliament Speaker organized to display his popularity and the large numbers of supporters who stand by him against the regime, increased growing tension between him and the authority.

A few days ago, an excessive presence of security troops at a checkpoint north of Sana'a prevented Sheikh Hussein Al-Ahmar from entering the capital, under the pretext that his bodyguards were carrying machine guns, although the tribal leader told the police that he was ready to have his guards return home and then enter Sana'a with his personal gun.