OP-ED

Goodwill makes a difference

Fighting Al-Qaeda in Abyan – fighting any type of terror which threatens citizens’ lives, for that matter – is highly admired by all.
Yes, it’s true: the soldiers now creating stories of victories in Abyan are the same soldiers who fought battles which dragged on and on to no end in the past, in Abyan. Nothing much has changed in their equipment, their pay, or their nutrition. But goodwill makes a difference.
Yes, I believe – and many share the same view – that the old government kept a ribbon (thin line) handy to constantly bargain for and extend its long run in power. From the local civil war in 1994 until today, the country has continued fighting without achieving any results on the ground.
One of the reasons behind the emergence of Al-Qeada in Yemen is the total failure of the old government in the past six wars in Sa’ada against the Houthis. The government’s weakness there has provided encouragement to Al-Qaeda militants and supporters to choose Yemen and dream of fashioning their empire here.
In the past, the absence of law and weak security pushed a few officials to leave their positions and allow militant opponents to grow stronger and overtake their forces. If the militants were stronger, and couldn’t be definitively beaten, the battles – and the military positions – could continue on indefinitely.
Beating al-Qaeda in Abyan sends a message that may mean as much as fighting corruption. We know that the Yemeni government isn’t alone in fighting terror. Such victories earn Yemen strong support from the international community.
All hands must come together to work for a safe Yemen, for a national dialogue which leads to a long-lasting and unified country. A few actions by small handfuls shouldn’t be allowed to harm the wishes of our great majority.