Rule of the tank replaces rule of the law [Archives:2007/1086/Opinion]

September 17 2007

Ali Al-Sarari
The bloody clashes in Aden days ago prove that Yemen's regime has not yet made use of the lesson it learned from Sa'ada war. The regime's strong faith in the use of force makes it commit arbitrary malpractices against humanity within its territory. Also, this belief forces the regime and its institutions to show disrespect for the law, bearing in mind that the use of force is its real law.

The regime believes that by force it can run the country's affairs and approve the list of solutions to people's issues and demands. However, this force that replaces the law is unable to maintain the regime's sovereignty and status, which it depends on to control the country.

The barbaric use of force failed in Sa'ada during four bloody wars that experienced the use of different kinds of heavy and medium weapons. Finally, the regime found itself compelled to seek help of the Qatari mediation to end the fighting, as well as search for peaceful solutions to the crisis. It ignored its arrogant threats and wrong pretexts based on different harmful allegations to the national sovereignty, protection of the republican regime and defending Islam.

The regime had to learn a lot from the four Sa'ada wars that status of the state cannot be achieved or maintained through the use of force. It had to understand that status of the state can only be maintained by rule of the law and it should be a pioneer in respecting the law and abiding by its content. The Houthis have never demanded the regime to do anything for them except for abiding by the law. But when the regime behaved in a way contravening the law, it caused an insult on the military force it used in domestic conflicts. Whereas, these military forces had been established for the sake of defending the homeland and protecting it from any foreign enemies.

The Sa'ada war-related lesson has been sufficient to persuade the regime to quit force, but it repeated the same mistake in Aden a few days ago. What will the regime say this time? It used force to crack down on peaceful demonstrations, staged for the sake of defending the legal rights of military and civil servants, who had been illegally dismissed from their jobs. These servants have been deprived of enjoying their legal rights and good living in their homeland.

Shall we say that the regime used power this time to defend the National Unity? Do the protests staged by military and civil servants to claim their legal and constitutional rights constitute a threat to the unity? All the Yemeni people need to remember the official statements and what has been broadcast and published by the government media with regard to the reasons for the Sa'ada crisis.

The authorities deliberated to propagate a lot of lies, fabrications and misleading allegations and went on reversing facts. Despite the media silencing policy, which the authorities imposed with the aim of preventing pressmen from reporting what was taking place in the northern province of Sa'ada. Allegations made by the authorities disclosed that the government and its troops committed two inhuman crimes: the killing of innocent civilians and destruction of their property. They also committed an immoral crime that is of telling lies, forging facts and misleading the public opinion.

The regime exercises the same conduct in the southern governorates, such as the illegal use of force and excessiveness in the telling of lies and inventing fabrications. This time, the regime's lies and fabrications stem from baseless allegations to protect the National Unity.

The southern governorates have experienced peaceful protests while the protestors cared for streaming into streets in accordance with the Law that ensures them their legal rights and expression of opinion. They were not bearing any piece of arm and had no plots or plans to damage public and private property. They never approached any vital installations and facilities.

With regard to the saying that some of the protestors chanted slogans triggering animosity toward the unity, such doesn't give the regime any right to use force against them. Additionally, the marchers, who chanted such slogans, received directions from some government agencies to do so in order to justify the government's use of force and brutality against the protestors.

Equipped with a store of fabricated pretexts, the regime alleged that protestors have chosen Thursday, August 2, to take to streets and it is on this day when Saddam Hussein and his troops invaded the neighboring state of Kuwait. The regime feared that staging the protest on August 2 may remind other states of Yemen's stance toward the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

Instead of taking a different way from that taken by Saddam's troops in Kuwait, it deployed its tanks throughout Aden and used force against innocent citizens claiming their legal rights. The regime doesn't deny the similarity between it and that of Saddam Hussein. Such a similarity was confirmed by actions before speeches. If there is a chance for more comparison between the two regimes, those who cheered the fall of Saddam's regime should delay their happiness until further occasion.

In fact, the use of force against protestors in Aden was not for the sake of protecting the National Unity. Instead, the force was used to protect and harbor the acts of lootings that have been so far exercised by influential persons in the southern governorates since the 1994 Civil War. Additionally, the force was used with the aim of defending the illegal interests and earnings of corrupt officials, who plundered lands of citizens and the looted the public resources. Such corrupt officials transformed any public property to personal possessions and used the southern governorates as a field for fomenting chaos and committing crimes against humanity. Searching rule of the law, the protestors faced rule of the tank standing in their way to claim their legal rights.

Ali Al-Sarari is a Yemeni Journalist and a well-known politician. He is the head of the information department at the Yemeni Socialist Party.

Source: Al-Nass Weekly.