The scenarios of Sa’ada three wars [Archives:2007/1038/Opinion]

April 2 2007

By: Mohammed Al-Maqaleh
If the ongoing war in Sa'ada had clear and specific goals, we would have known when it ends and where and what the criteria of victory and defeat are. Two days ahead of the breakout of Sa'ada third war, President Ali Abdullah Saleh announced in a televised address a list of conditions for Abdulmalik Al-Houthi to abide by. If Al-Houthi doesn't abide by the laid conditions, he will be held accountable for any consequences, according to Saleh who said “We must not be blamed after giving this warning.” The conditions include the surrender of heavy and light arms, evicting mountains, forming a political party according to the law and constitution and applying the General Amnesty.

Three days after the third war erupted, Abdulmalik Al-Houthi welcomed all the conditions listed by President Saleh stipulating that rebels stop entrenching on the tops of mountains and form a political party according to the Law of Political Parties and Organizations. Leader of the rebellion reconfirmed his acceptance of the conditions in a statement issued on 24 of last February, but the war didn't end. Instead, the war expanded geographically and socially and in terms of increasing the death toll and the use of different types of weapons in the fighting. The matter means that the announced conditions aren't' the clear goals sought by the war, nor were they the goals drawn since the very beginning because they changed in the line with the developments of the battleground and according to the regional and international developments, which are indirectly related with the war.

As the war goals keep on changing everyday, the question raised to President Saleh, 40 days after the war broke out and after many people were killed, is that “What are the war's goals today and what are its goals tomorrow?” Simply, the answer is that “I don't know” and those engaged in the fighting may not know about the war's goals, too. If there is no answer to the question, the war is bound to escalate and claim the lives of soldiers and citizens until one of the following scenarios is achieved.

The first scenario is that the death toll of soldiers and citizens increases, making it difficult for the authorities to be responsible for its consequences. Consequently, the authorities will find themselves obliged to dialogue with Al-Houthi and his followers. Such is a dangerous scenario because it doesn't ensure reoccurrence of the war in a similar manner to what is happening at the moment.

The second of the scenarios is that when the authorities put an end to the war but after it kills thousands of citizens in Sa'ada. This is the most risky scenario because the death toll from a single area will go in favor of a local or a foreign force paving the way for overthrowing the current regime even after a while. In addition, this scenario is expected to pave the way for foreign interventions.

The third scenario is that of the intervention of a third party to help the fighting parties get rid of the war dilemma, and I prefer that it should be a local party to ensure maintaining rule of the law and order and the rights and freedoms of citizens, as well as to contribute to healing the war wounds.