Political Analysis

Can the Security Forces Deal with Aden Wisely?

By Fakhri al-Arashi, NY

Aden, the commercial capital of Yemen has achieved this reputation mainly before the country united in 1990. Since then, the city had major challenges politically, socially as well in terms of infrastructure to live up to its former glory.

The current divisions in the political scene of Yemen as well as, the ongoing demonstrations in the Arab world has raised resistance against the ruling party in overcoming business challenges in the Southern governorates.

Every Friday security were spread in the different corners to secure Aden from collective gathering.

The recent Arab revolutionary vision is not new to Yemen as few from the South are calling for breaking the unity since the civil war in the summer of 1994.

Aden witnessed few demonstrations moved by al-Harik members last January, at which point unrest calling for the improvement of the standards of living increased. The people in al-Dhala’a, Lahaj, Abyen and some other areas in the southern part of Yemen has failed to harm the government and they have decided to move to Aden for stronger influence.

The third Friday of rage in a row occurred February 25th, 2011, Aden had a quiet morning with very slow movement for cars and people.

More than ten thousands soldiers were spread all over the city, tanks and military vehicles were seen massively in the major access points banning the demonstrators from arriving to the gathering points at Khour Maksar and al-Shabat areas.

Passengers in a minibus in the Seirah Area were discussing President Saleh, and the President’s desire to avoid the end of the Tunisian, Egyptian and the Libyan Presidents.

They noted that president came to know that the people in these countries, including Yemen, who have been tortured and suffer the arbitrary, poverty and neglecting of their daily need.

They said that President Saleh has issued a decree to reduce the electricity invoice and he canceled the old balance bills.

A receptionist at the Royal Hotel said that the current problems have affected on the local tourism and the occupancy dropped to 10-15%. He said the lack of opportunities among the youth pushed them to protest the corruption that witness around them.

At a check point in front of the Mercury Aden Hotel, the people were diverted to move through Sahal Abyen road (Abyen beach).

The security guard was saying to his friend, “look, these are our friends during morning hours and they shot us at night.” The taxi driver smiled widely.

Mohammed Mahyoub, 26-years old, said that the demonstrations turn into a day for robbery and looting. “Dar Saa’ad and al-Shaikh Othman are the starting points for the youth to move, and it will end in clashes between the thieves and the protestors,” Mahyoub said.

While we were driving in different areas in Aden he was talking to his friends over the phone saying he could not go back to his house, as all streets are closed – “please close all shops and stay inside.”

On Friday, ATMs were cleared from money, mainly IBY, while the commercial bank had three to four security personnel in front of every ATM.

Shops were closed and a few cars could be seen in the street after the Friday majority went back home and some gathered at Khor Maksar were clashes had left Eighteenth injures from soldiers and demonstrators. At night clashes took place in al-Mua’la killed five.

A citizen was driving for a long distance to reach Aden Moll, said, “I am with security but not from earlier hours. Since 9 O’clock I cloud not reach my destination,” said Musadak.

The plate cars that reflects Sana’a sign meet no interest in the street. “I had my car where protestors were knocking car body because of the plate “ I will change the car plate, said Musadak.

The gathering increased in Aden after sunset till midnight and the majority of them were between 16 years to 35 years old.

While those who started demonstration at the earlier days has felt un-encouraged with continual failing on the interest of opposition leaders in their share in power.

The southern governorate leaders disagree with each other on what they want from the government and they have shared the ideas with northern governorate for President Saleh to stay in power and dismiss his family and relative from military power and strategic positions at the government.

Documentary papers reveal over 100 names are being distributed and shared through emails against those who stole and block properties in Aden.

The list had two categories of big names like President Saleh, his family members, northern sheikh, some governors, ministers, military men and businessmen too. The list details includes the areas size by kilometers and location.

Aden had an improvement in its infrastructure but has recently performed poorly in terms of business. The business at the free zone is slow and below demand –  governmental operations are slow too and people are suffering as a result.

A local businessman noted that all the business opportunities are in Sana’a, and that even medical treatment takes place in Sana’a and citizens from Aden or Lahj travel there for that purpose.

Graduated students from different faculties are working either as Qat sellers or at moll shops or running their own business.

The major sources for Aden’s income are from the local tourism, Fishing, Aden’s port, Aden’s refinery and other governmental and private business.

In the end, it is clear that the lack of serious economic opportunities or investment is driving youth to the street. Aden deserve more attention before it collapse .