Security in Yemen: THE FIRST PRIORITY [Archives:2001/41/Viewpoint]

October 8 2001

Yemen is unfortunately among the few countries in the world where security is not well established, especially in rural areas. The violent incidents that we hear of in various parts of the country represent the great necessity to focus on this matter before things get out of hand. Just two weeks ago, around 20 people were killed in tribal clashes that were too “dangerous” for the armed forces to interfere. Tribes continue to slaughter each other while the state merely watches. Crimes are on the rise and continued incidents of kidnapping have resulted in a fear, not only among foreigners in the country, but also among Yemenis.
It is imperative that the Yemeni government try to find a solution to the ever increasing number of arms and light weapons in the country and for us to wake up to the security problems that surround us. It is also time to start realizing the threat that insecurity causes to our economic and social welfare.
Some who may read this article might say that we, “should not raise the issue of insecurity in the current global circumstances following the attacks against the USA. This might cause others to think that we have terrorism.” On the contrary, I believe that now is the time for us to target our security problems–problems that have so far been ignored. We saw what terrorists can do in a country where security and law enforcement measures are the toughest in the world. How would it be for Yemen, where we have an average of three pieces of weaponry per person?
Our call to concentrate on internal security is a national obligation and duty, and not, as some might argue, an attempt of betrayal to our country. We are raising such issues at such a time because we feel responsible towards our country’s future; we feel that we must do something about the lawlessness and insecurity that exists in our beloved Yemen.
As a matter of fact, the President has himself reiterated the fact that kidnapping is a form of terrorism, and as long as it is not stopped, Yemen will continue to witness insecurity and turbulence.
Only when we believe in the importance of controlling the security situation in the country by enforcing stiff and uniform punishments, no matter how highly ranked an individual might be, will we be able to have a stable country with a growing economy.
In conclusion, until we realize the high priority of security and uniform law enforcement, we will continue to face more difficulties and obstacles, thus hindering our country’s development.