Yemen does not need a fish [Archives:2006/1005/Opinion]

December 7 2006

By: Dr. Omar Abdulaziz
New horizons in Yemeni-Gulf relations open with the convention of the Gulf Cooperation Council foreign ministers after Yemen has already joined some committees of the GCC. They are the basis of the Yemeni historical relations governed by geographical proximity and joint future and are enhanced by the challenges facing the countries of the Arabian Peninsula.

Yemen neighbors the largest of the GCC countries, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Sultanate of Oman while the Yemeni-Saudi-Omani desert extends to join together with the United Arab Emirates. The Red Sea and the Arab Gulf coastline as two historical bridges of communication emphasizing the unity of the origin and destiny.

During the past years Yemen has managed a balanced regional policy and with a political will and was able to break into the future and to put an end to pending border issues with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Sultanate of Oman. By that Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Oman have presented a great example on the importance of the future and abandoned dwelling on the past and understand Yemenis and Arabs are from one origin. In addition they provide that differences over kilometers are not the origin of the problem it is rather the work for the human welfare and his development.

Managing the period of the post-1994 ill-fated war was one of the vital elements in consolidation of national unity mending mental premeditations that came ahead of the war and callings for addresses of the past and its bad circumstances. All those introductions have constituted genuine bases for open skies in the Yemeni-Gulf relations that time has come for them to come out of the cocoon of variant and hostile examples to the space of inevitable coexistence despite of procedural differences in some questions.

Surely these variations present relative privileges in each country. The deficiencies in some aspects are parallel to other deficiencies in the neighboring countries and there is no condition better than other conditions and there is ultimately no end of the reforms and developing in Yemen or outside it. The Arab order in general is alike in deficiencies to an extent of similarity and far from the future to an extent of too distant.

The Gulf social development contract has succeeded because it has accommodated diversification among the countries of the GCC and this constitutes support to accommodate the Yemeni case with all its peculiarities that may instigate fear or suspicion by some Gulf political elites. It is a good chance for the Yemeni government and opposition to admit the mistakes and give proof of the declared goals from the recent elections. The most prominent goals are fighting the corruption, enhancing state prestige, quick development, abandoning financial and administrative centralization and consolidating local rule. Paving the way for partnership of Yemen and the Gulf started with a series of financial, customs and investment measures.

If Yemen is in dire need of exceptional financial support to consolidate development what encourages that is the following: the human depth accompanied with historical recognized work culture. The Yemenis are genuine builders and serious in work. They love to depend on themselves and conquer nature, cooperative and eager for development.

The second thing is availability of experimented professional labor experienced all professional works in Yemen and outside it. All of them compose basic support in investment and services development. One other important thing is that Yemenis love for dignity of giving and legitimate earning. The original thing in Yemen is the commitment and honor of the profession not theft and fraud and kidnapping that are considered unusual things for the culture of Yemen and its people.

The climactic, geographic and geological diversity provides many types of agricultural, fish and tourist economies. There is also an extent of infrastructure capable of more development. Roads are spread all over the country with more than 57,000 km of roads built in the past few years. There are pumps for water irrigation spread throughout the country and people are benefiting from water and energy, but that does not mean at all that the infrastructure projects were completed. Yemen is in urgent need for thousands of megawatts of electricity and a network of express roads linking cities, hundreds rather thousands of mountainous tunnels and bridges and more of air, land and sea transportation hubs.

All these things cannot be provided for the mere provision of funding, but there must be an administrative and development environment depending on creative initiatives associated with decentralization and local responsibility.

In the face of all these indications it is inevitable to say the GCC countries are in need of Yemen whether for its promising environment for investment and rotation of potentials or for the human standpoint capable of automatic harmony with elements of Arab culture and identity.

Yemen should not wager much on an open tap for Gulf funding and gifts of donors. This is an illusion having nothing to do with standing facts. A Chinese proverb says, “Don't give me a fish but teach me how to catch a fish.” Yemen is not need of a fish or a fishing lesson, but rather a will of a state progressing on the road of development and discard things other than that.

Source: Al-Khaleej of the Emirates