OP-ED

The Big Question Mark

 

Fakhri al-Arashi

Yemen remains the best country out of the Arab spring countries. Despite being the best, a big question mark still lingers over the good transition. In the past few weeks, small ministerial changes made for the good of the country. The new Ministers of Oil and the Interior have done well from day one.

This is positive and remarkable, but the question remains: how will Yemenis adapt to the philosophy of considering opponents, which are necessary for a good movement to happen? The Minister of the Interior made a great change by nominating the best candidates for new positions as determined by competition and placement tests, which has never happened before in the history of modern Yemen. This also allowed him to avoid prioritizing friendships and nepotism, keeping him on the right path. Still, it was unsatisfactory for some. Why? Because they simply do not want to see stability and peace.

The new Oil Minister is trying to improve the oil industry business in the same way, by seeking new investors to increase declining production, and also tackling the ongoing energy crisis. 

This harms the traders that actually benefit from each problem, and for this reason, Sana’a is facing an oil and diesel problem because some villagers and tribesmen in the mountains of Haraz cut the road between Sana’a and Hodeidah port. They are backed and paid by the sheikhs, and actually suffer because of their actions.

When the government tries to apply rules and regulation through an aggressive stance, a sheikh will appear from here or there to mediate with the President or the Defense Minister to “avoid bloodshed” by actually just preventing positive reform. The same circle repeats again and again, with change being increasingly uncertain.

The big question mark is at the end of the following: will powerful Yemenis allow change to happen, in order to save the country? Until the answer is yes, people will continue to pay the price, and the government will continue to be pressured to take serious action that ends tiny problems which ultimately disrupt daily life.