Mr. President Stop the Saddah war! [Archives:2004/754/Opinion]

July 12 2004

Mohammed bin Sallam
Abduljabar Saad, the known writer and politician wanted to express his personal views on today's hottest issue that has preoccupied the general public, the young and the old, men and women, with the presentation of an honest and sincere message to the president of the Republic of Yemen concerning the ongoing bloody events in Saddah Governorate between the security forces and Al-Hawthi's supports. I have tried very hard to summarize it without distorting its contents.

I was surprised at the high number of casualties, misplaced citizens and detainees, in addition the scenes of violent bombardment and destruction broadcast by various satellite channels, and at Al-Hawthi's letter printed on Yemen Times' front page. I found myself compelled to write and to present my humble advice as I felt it was my duty and part of my responsibility as a decent compatriot and a faithful Muslim.
You were very wise and your statements were accurate, due to your good sense and prudence. There was just one element that I wish to comment on, that is that you hastily resorted to the military option since Al-Hawthi, through mediators, had promised to come to you, which was sufficient to release the state's grip on him and his followers after he had suspended his activities. Where would have been the harm if he had taken another three weeks to come to you? During the extra grace period, the government could strengthen it security positions in the region and to monitor his activities closely while rectifying at the same time the provocations and ill-advised behavior of some state officials.
Mr. President, any war must be motivated by religious convictions required to encourage and strengthen the combatants morale to sustain battles until objectives are achieved successfully. These strong convictions apparently were demonstrated by Al-Hawthi's followers and not the military forces. If he were the outlaw portrayed and a rebel against the law and the state, why had he voluntarily committed himself to turn himself over to you? Why did the troops have to rush into fighting him? Victory at this point, if we look into the subsequent development and sectarian conflicts locally and at the regional level, can only be considered as a defeat, and what a defeat!
I just do not know how you Mr. President were not aware that the 'Faithful Youths' could have been confronted by the youths of Emna's University, in a similar to their confrontation with the separatists in the 1994 war.
What would be the harm, in a democratic society such as our, from a group of youths chanting weekly or even daily some anti-American and Israeli slogans, “Death to America Death to Israel”? It is true that loud voice should not be raised inside a mosque even if it is during reciting of verses from the Holy Book of Quran, but if some insist on doing so, they could have been provided with the chance voice their opinions at later times when the worshipers have left the mosque, instead of detaining hundreds of them without court hearings, trials or specific accusations.
According to Islamic legislation, Al-Hawthi does not necessarily have to render himself to be tried, but according to the verse in Quran, “When two groups fight each other, settle between them fairly Even if the situation results in fighting between rebels and the state, and the fighting ends when he decides to obey, he does not bear any punitive consequences.
Finally, we are not with the 'Republic of Bush' or his democracy and we are not with the religious clerics such as Abu Hamza Al-Masri or his extremism. But we could ask ourselves the question, why can't we accept a democratic Imamate regime – like other democratic Kingdoms in many countries- if that were the choice of the people through democratic practices. That would be sufficient to save us from the democracy of Bush or the extremism of others!