The road to upcoming elections [Archives:2008/1210/Opinion]

November 24 2008

By: Ahmad Al-Hubeishi
In a previous article, we discussed the necessity of determining a clear position about fighting terrorism, particularly as the Joint Meeting Parties' stances seemed to be unclear and ambiguous. The fact that the opposition parties demonstrate unclear positions posed a great risk to the past electoral processes. We need to take into consideration the failed dialogue the ruling General People's Congress (GPC) had with opposition parties late in 2002 in light of a kind initiative made by President Saleh.

At that time, President Saleh called on all political parties and organizations to pass the law against those who commit terrorist crimes in order to embody collective responsibility toward homeland and the higher interests of the society, which requires joint work by a unified team to help the country avoid potential terror risks.

Obviously, the JMP member parties has been releasing ambiguous and unclear statements condemning terrorism and at the same time lamenting sovereignty and independence of the nation by accusing the government and the ruling party of being lenient with the killing of citizens, constitutional violations and human right abuses.

We still remember an absurd statement issued by JMP ahead of the past parliamentary elections that took place in 2003. In the statement, the opposition alliance demanded that GPC provide detailed reports and information about plans of security authorities and their activities in the areas of fighting terrorist groups. Their request also included thorough and comprehensive details, characterized by transparency and publicity, on security and intelligence cooperation between Yemen and other Arab and foreign states in the area of fighting terrorism.

The riskiest thing in that statement as published by pro-JMP newspapers is that all the JMP member parties stressed the necessity of reviewing the government policy in this regard. These parties didn't demand that homeland be protected, nor did they seek effective engagement in combating terrorism and preventing terrorists from having safe havens in our society and homeland. Instead, they clamored for what they called 'defending the Constitution, law, human rights, public freedoms and homeland sovereignty.

It is a misleading speech via which the opposition parties intend to conceal its unclear positions about terrorism. They appear to exploit terrorism as a pretext to escape condemning the terrorist groups and determining a clear stance toward those groups.

“So-called terrorism”

The JMP's speech doesn't only escape condemning terrorism and terrorist operatives, as it also insists on using the term terrorism associated with what the so-called before it, thus producing the term “the so-called terrorism”, which implies that what terrorists commit against homeland and citizens is pondered upon as a heroic act, alleging that this act should not be insulted by the official and pro-government media outlets.

It is impossible for a judicious man to trust what JMP members say about the Constitution, law, public freedoms, democratic practice and human rights as long as these parties and their newspapers escape condemning the terrorist groups that are attempting to destroy the Constitution and law, confiscate freedoms and human rights and oppress women.

In this context, one may criticize the seemingly negative position shown by JMP about terrorism-relate risks via highlighting this risk to democracy, civil freedoms and multi-party system, which our political system is based on. The situation necessitates analyzing the ideological principles of Taliban Movement and Al-Qaeda Organization, which opposition newspapers prefer to conduct interviews with their leaders in Yemen and publish statements about their plots and threats to the nation.