SILVER LININGDeadly consequences for Sada’a [Archives:2007/1023/Opinion]

February 8 2007

Last week saw an escalation of the ongoing political and armed confrontation between the supporters of Abdulmalik Al-Houthi, brother of the late Shiite insurgent Hussein Al-Houthi, and government troops. The National Defense Council held two meetings in the past days and said in its meeting last Thursday it would reconsider Yemen's relationship with those countries, without naming, interfering in Yemen's internal affairs. The chief of the presidential office and the National Security Organization Ali Al-Anisi and the head of the Shoura Council, Abdulaziz Abdulaghni, lashed out at Al-Houthis, dubbing them as terrorists; they also said that some countries are being involved in the third round of the insurgence that originally started in 2004.

I do think you agree with me that it is ridiculous of them to go into the third round of fierce fighting with the government simply because they want to just chant Israeli and American slogans. It is really mad of them to go to death on such a foolish ground.

Aalnaisi said that around eight of soldiers were killed and 6,000 others injured and that over $600 million is the bill since the first eruption of the fight. The number of deaths among Al-Houthis is not known. Is not that too much folks? I believe we do not need to lose such a big number of our people and waste such an amount of money on such an unruly war.

It seems that the political regime would like this time to defeat the Al-Houthis down to the earth to ensure that they are completely crushed and do not have the potential to erupt another insurgence or remain a pain in the neck. This spells out why, in addition to Al-Houthis dogmatic intolerance and foreign support, all doors before all attempts to reach any truce could not hit the nil on the head. But this would be very costly, it means much more deaths and injuries as well money. It will also mean deployment of more troops to be stationed at rebel positions and strongholds.

However, we seem to really know nothing about what is going on in the ground. The opposition leaders said they did not know what is happening. We as journalists do not know either as we cannot go there. Parliament, the most important constitutional institution in the country, is mute and toothless; it said it would debate the case but that was postponed last week. Our Parliament promptly responds to all problems happening here and there all over the world and issue statements condemning or praising, but when it comes to the fight in Sada'a, our MPs turn deaf. The people have the right to know why such fights are blown up and for what we should make this big loss. We have also the right to know by name those countries putting their nose in Yemen's internal business.

I was really discussing with one of my colleagues before the eruption of this round of fight the consequences of the regional fiasco of events on Yemen and we expected another fight between the government troops and the Al-Houthis would erupt and the possibility that Yemen turns a battlefield for face-off between regional forces, particularly with the new refueled gap between the Sunnis and Shiites.

It seems we are going on this track as last week the political regime said it would reconsider Yemen's relationship with some countries involved in the fight; Iran and Libya stand on the frontline to have a likely crisis with Yemen. Iran is keen to encourage the Shiite growth and intends to play a more regional role with this card with the U.S. Libya wants to create problems for the Saudis on their south borders. But what is dangerous is that the regime accepts such a deal and goes into a war just to appease some regional forces at the expense of Yemen's stability. The consequence could be catastrophic.

Mohammed Al-Qadhi ([email protected]) is a Yemeni journalist and columnist.