Yemen’s Darfive crisis [Archives:2007/1052/Opinion]

May 21 2007

Ali Al-Sarari
The Darfur problem in Sudan continues to exacerbate with the door ever open to numerous international interventions which has made the fate, sovereignty, and unity of Sudan exposed to many bad possibilities.

Step by step, the Sudanese official insistence turned to approve the legitimacy of international interventions in Darfur's issue while the country's stances became more modest. Instead of sending international troops, the Sudanese government agreed to send troops from the African Union and accepted that these troops receive arms and technical equipment from the European Union countries as well as the United States of America.

Furthermore, instead of handing over the Sudanese officials who are accused of committing war crimes in Darfur to the International Criminal Court, the Sudanese government agreed to refer these suspects to a national tribunal. From time to time, proposals are presented to the International Security Council to impose sanctions on Sudan.

Even the Arab public opinion, which seemed to sympathize with the Sudanese government at the very beginning with the faith that Sudan is a victim of international conspiracies. The Arabs started to perceive the nature of the human tragedy endured by the Dafurers and then the legitimacy of international conventions that aim to put an end to the strategy.

In addition, the Sudanese authorities lost its credibility for the way it dealt with Darfur's problem. It appealed to the mind that these authorities don't have a sense of the national and human responsibility toward their people while the world public opinion seemed to better understand the reasons and motives of the conflicts among the Sudanese people, which express themselves (the conflicts) in several armed rebellions. There has been no strong reason to necessitate much attention about what had been said regarding the international interests foment conspiracies against the Sudanese regime.

Comparing what has happened in the Yemeni governorate of Sa'ada since 2004 and the renewal of fighting between the military forces and tribal armed groups supporting Hussein Badraddin Al-Houthi, who was killed in September 2004, to the situation in Darfur, it seems that the Yemeni authorities haven't benefited from the Sudanese lesson.

On the contrary, they have taken the same approach followed by Sudan, embodying the same insult of their citizens' rights. Actually, the behavior of the concerned authorities is the main cause of human catastrophes in Sa'ada, where civilians and soldiers pay the price of the war. Besides, cities and villages were destroyed and thousands of families were displaced.

The Yemeni authorities are held accountable for foiling all mediation efforts exerted by religious clerics, tribal, and party leaders. Also, they are held answerable for exercising media blackout in the Sa'ada war, waging fabricated campaigns against Al-Houthi followers, and fomenting different types of animosity. In fact, these authorities don't publish reports about war casualties and destruction, thus disgracing the reactions of those having clear conscience, whether they are inside or outside Yemen.

Attempts by the authorities to exercise intellectual terrorism haven't succeeded to silence the voices opposing Sa'ada war and advocacies for ending the fighting. Additionally, their efforts couldn't establish regional and international coordination to give a name to the war as “a war on terrorism” once, a war to protect Saudi Arabia from a Libyan conspiracy at another time, a strike on local current supporting Iran at a third time, or a war to protect the Jewish minorities from Al-Houthis at a fourth time.

In response to these allegations, the U.S. authorities refused to name the Sa'ada war 'a war on terrorism' while American diplomats advised the Yemeni authorities to work hard for the sake of reaching a peaceful solution, ending the war and protecting the rights of citizens in Sa'ada. The Saudi authorities don't care about allegations of maintaining its security, considering what is happening in Sa'adaa as a Yemeni domestic affair.

For his part, the Libyan leader Muammar Al-Ghadhafi disclosed that his country is not involved in extending assistance to the Houthi followers. He clarified that his contact with the MP Yahya Al-Houthi is for the purpose of mediation to end the fighting upon the request of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

In the meantime, the Yemeni authorities haven't provided evidence in support of their allegations that Al-Houthi followers receive external support, specifically from Iran. Also, their allegations that the rebellion plans coup against the current regime to restore the monarchy regime are baseless and proofless. Actually, the Yemeni authorities' capability to impose media silencing is not that absolute and its success in fabricating lies and fools on what happens in Sa'ada is impossible to last until the end.

As a matter of fact, the fighting has become a point of interest for the regional and international media and some famous Arab writers, like Dr. Ahmad Al-Rub'ei and Fahmi Howaidi, started to discuss the issue of Sa'ada war through viewpoints, analyses, and advice.

Those interested in the issue expressed curiosity about the Yemeni authorities' invitation to the Arab League to intervene in the fighting and settle the issue before such an issue turns to be the main focus of international conferences, particularly as the war continues to expand and attract different social groups.

Additionally, the war, which might become a complicated issue, has a tendency to last for a longer period of time and reach other governorates. In other words, the Sa'ada war is expected to change into Yemen's Darfive crisis with the authorities being unable to convince the world not to intervene in its internal affairs and that Yemen has absolute freedom to manipulate its citizens' rights, in any way it likes.

Ali Al-Sarari is a Yemeni Journalist and a well-known politician. He is the head of the information department at the Yemeni Socialist Party.

Source: Al-Nass Weekly