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Federalism: A better option for Yemen?

Dr. Abdel Nasser Hussein Al-Moda delivered a lecture about Federalism in Yemen, asking if the system of governance provided a way for different regions to merge or if was a formula for chaos. The lecture was sponsored and delivered at the Sheba Center for Strategic Studies.

By Asma Al-Mohattwari

The Sheba Center for Strategic studies recently sponsored a lecture on federalism in Yemen, delivered by Dr. Abdel Nasser Hussein Al-Moda, addressing the risks and limitations of a federalist government. Slated to start this week, The National Dialogue Conference will bring together the nation’s various political parties, factions and groups to decide on Yemen’s political future.

Even under the authoritarian rule of Yemen’s previous 33-year ruler, Ali Abdullah Saleh, the government has traditionally had limited power and influence outside of its capital, Sana’a. Al-Moda highlighted several positive possibilities that federalism could offer. Federalism, Al-Moda says, would allow for a strong system of governance, sovereignty, and a strong economic base in each region. The system of governance would allow each region to conduct much of its affairs. While those ruling out of Sana’a are often accused of misappropriating wealth from other regions for the benefit of the capital and it’s surrounding areas, federalism would allow regions more autonomy with regards to their natural resources and industries.

He added that when the zoning must take into account the social status of each region and beyond so as to avoid the collide with handicaps may make federal state fail in the first test, pointing out there are many difficulties in re-division of the state in the time that is suffering from the absence of state.

Al-Moda considered the temporary division in to two regions is a decision of suicide. “The division into different regions is so dangerous in which the wealth concentrated in some areas,” he said.

He explained that Yemen will suffer from exposure to the outside world in which Sa’ada and Houthis will be exposure to Iran; Amran will be ruled by Islah, Hadramout by Saudi Arabia. Yemen will suffer from external interference and conflict will occur between these states.

He pointed out that Yemen is a fourth depends on the source of the oil and gas that confined in some provinces in Yemen, so in case of federalism the poor provinces will grow poorer. it will cause in increase tendencies within regions and  tribal disputes.

In his part Dr. Mohammed Al-Motwakel said that the federal is a part of the state and our thoughts were to switch people from power and did not think about the state system switch.

He pointed out that the choice is for the participants in the national dialogue so the committee should be given the right to discuss rights and must agree to build modern civil state , rest then they can agree of the form of the state.

The seminar was attended by a number of stakeholders and researchers.