A: What you mentioned in your question as a compound crisis which is ready to escalate is not only an opinion but a fact that exists in reality. We lived the crisis with its complexities phase by phase. After the 1994 war, we expressed our opinion regarding each development, simple or complex, and warned of its dangers. The latest of our calls for attention was reflected in my speech on the 42nd anniversary of the Independence in last November. Regretfully, most of these alarming calls were not heeded. What we warned against has happened not as one episode but the series may be long and every episode will be worse than its predecessor. This will happen if we don’t use our minds and voice of reasons and logic as well as the constructive, meaningful and effective dialogue. The dialogue we had in the past was as an effective solution to all Yemeni crisis and problems . All the experiences we had testify to this fact. Wars, violence, arms and insurgencies never provided solutions to the problems.
The reasons behind the current situation are clear and were repeated over and over in every occasion we talked about the Yemeni crisis. Overall the Yemeni crisis in the nut shell is caused by the mismanagement, authoritarianism, improvisation in taking decisions and the transformation of corruption to a ruling system.
The (war) in Sa’da has its own reasons which are not far from the cause of Yemen crisis I described earlier. In addition, the mystery of this war transformed Sa’da into a theater for the warlords. For six lost rounds of war the people had paid dearly from their blood, wealth and stability. At the end, Sa’da became what is widely believed as a ground for settling regional disputes. If this is correct, then what’s happening is a result, not a cause. We warned against this and called early for a stop to the war, and resort to the comprehensive dialogue. We called the neighboring countries and regional states to support Yemen get out of the crisis by supporting the political peaceful solutions through a serious and responsible dialogue, instead of channeling the support to the war machine. We have drawn the attention to the fact that the current damage to Yemen today will expand over a wide geographical area. Yemen's security is undoubtedly important for the security of the Gulf and the region in general.
With regard to the Southern problem, it goes back to the crisis of 1993 which caused the war of 1994 and the following practices of exclusion, expulsion and layoff of the (southern) civilian and military personnel and the confiscation of land, properties and rights. I said then the war was determined militarily but not politically, and the street will express its indignation and expose the truth. That day has arrived, and (the street movement) continues for days, months and years without getting any attention ( from the authorities). Martyrs fell in the march of the Southern Movement despite its clear and genuine adoption of the peaceful option. The security authorities never learned from the lessons of the past. They confront the nonsense with nonsense, therefore we find the present perilous and the future becomes uncertain with dire consequences.
The Southern Movement continues over more than four years with demonstrations. Some officials have been dismissive of this movement, which has never been experienced in any other country in the world, describing it as a group of people traveling from a bus station to another (from Farza to Farza in Yemen’s dialect) seeking the attention of the TV satellite channels. The fact is that the regime in the South have not been able to mobilize a million or half a million people in major occasions despite the means of the state and its institutions and its mass organizations. This applies to the North as well. Yemen has been described as a burning tent that demands everyone to help extinguish its fires instead of pouring oil on it, which may extend the damage to the outside. The game of playing with fire must stop in order to save Yemen’s future, security and stability”.
Q: The Yemeni government links between the unrest in the Southern provinces and the Hothi insurgency in the North. Do you see such link exist? Especially when leaders in the ruling General Peoples’ Congress Party stress that the common goal of the Hothis and the Southern Movement is to dismantle Yemen’s unity?.
A: I said earlier there is no relationship between the two issues, but they may intersect in a specific detail within an objective relationship. The Hothi problem differs greatly from the problem of the South with respect to its background and ramifications. In addition, the language of arms is dominant between the authorities and Hothis due to the specific nature of the Northern regions, specially Sa’da. Added to this, the circumstances around the Sa’da issue which the authority knows better than us. Sa’da is an ambiguous case par excellence. The politicians and even the members of the representative council (the parliament), who are supposed to represent the people and hold the government accountable, express their inability in understanding the details of this case.
The Southern case is clear in the essence and the form. The Southern Movement is a peaceful struggle that adopts legitimate means that are acknowledged in all laws and systems. The officials tend to link both cases when they find themselves cornered by the media, the foreign in particular. We don’t believe the disengagement or division could result without the existence of the welcoming internal situation. Regretfully, all practices and policies today lead to that end instead of unifying the people and securing the national peace through dialogue and voice of reason.
Q: What are the roots and the background of the Hothi insurgency? How it can be solved? Is it rue that foreign factors have supported this insurgency?
A: I mentioned the roots and background of the Hothi case in my previous answer. This case is very ambiguous. We stood against the war and called for a dialogue as a solution to this problem. We are grateful to the state of Qatar who helped achieve Al-Doha Accord to resolve this case, but things had reached an impasse. Once again the war episodes were repeated and also the violence and bloodshed.
Unfortunately no one responded to our calls and the calls of others to save the innocent lives and rescue more than 200,000 displaced persons who have nothing to do with this war. The siege is still being imposed on all levels, political, humanitarian, and the media. Many times I have expressed my sorrow for this tragedy, and now I repeat my call for abandoning the language of arms and resorting to the dialogue. I call for the support of the dialogue locally and externally.
Q: What are the bases of solving the South problem within unity and halting the Hothi insurgency?
A: The problem today is not in defining the bases. The problem lies in the absence of the political will. For a long time we were and still are aware of the political arguments of the parties, thinkers and intellectuals who are independent and in the opposition, even personalities from the ruling party who realize the dangers of the situation. The latest of such contributions are the declarations of the Joint Meeting Parties and the National Dialogue Committee who issued the national salvation document. There also are repeated calls for a comprehensive and integrated dialogue which I believe would not succeed if it is not based on the platform of change. The dialogue we call for is the one that would include all parties, put all issues for discussion, stop the war machine in Sada’a and Umran, and completely acknowledge the fairness and priority of the Southern cause and stop the repression in the South, free the prisoners and the kidnapped, lift the ban on the press, and reestablish the political and civic life as an indication of the will for a serious dialogue. The South is represented by its peaceful movement, and the Hothis should have their representatives too in any dialogue on equal footing with other political forces.
Q: How do you look at the involvement of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a part in this war after the Hothis entered the Saudi territories? Do expect the Yemeni government to ask the Saudis to intervene to destroy the Hothis inside the Yemeni territories?
A: Such question must be directed to the Yemeni and Saudi governments. We ask our brothers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other neighboring countries to contribute in solving the dangerous crisis Yemen is having today through supporting the constructive dialogue among all parties in the North and South of Yemen in order to preserve Yemen stability and the stability of the region. I here repeat my call to stop the war and support the peaceful solutions which guarantee the rights of all parties. I am worried about the regretful level this war and the humanitarian conditions have reached.
Q: How correct is the view that says the current war in Yemen is a regional war between the United States which supports Yemen government and Iran?
A: The remarks in this context expand the circles of doubts and do not lead to certainty. We have read the American statements which expressed the uncertainty that Iran is interfering directly in the Sa'ada war. The latest of these statements has been announced by Jeffrey Feltman the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs in Manama (Bahrain) who said that no evidence of Iran's support for the Houthis; and we read otherwise, statements and counter-accusations from here and there, and there is a mounting talk of a regional war with Sa’da as its theater. We warned of this and reiterate our warning because we understand the risks of such war on the security of Yemen and the region, and that no one can benefit from it other than the enemies of our nation.