OP-ED

Yemen Backs Into Narrow Corner

Fakhri al-Arashi

It is sad to see friends of Yemen being the first departures at the most critical time of Yemen’s political history, leaving behind doubt and concern. Yes, there is a very remarkable economic and political collapse happening today more than ever before, but this does not mean that Yemen will turn into a civil war like TV news channels are saying.

The simple fact of Yemen and the political parties is that no one is ready to fight because they have nothing left to fight for. They believe that the full control of Houthi militants of the whole government in the northern governorates happened in front of the eyes of the G10 countries who turned a blind eye to the Houthi advancement from Sa’ada to Sana’a. Now they have decided to leave.

When there was a spirit of consensus to achieve peace and stability, neighboring countries and donors were incapable of pushing the country toward real reform. They kept encouraging mistakes, whether it was the ex-government’s mistake or the sponsoring of the Gulf Initiative. There was still hope to defeat the Houthis despite their collaboration with ousted president.

Today, the GCC States and the US have shown their inability to protect Yemen. Sana’a is firmly under the strong hands of the Houthis. Why would the embassies feel the danger of the Houthis just now but not when Houthi militants put the president and the prime minister under house arrest?

Nothing serious has happened in the country since the American Embassy decided to evacuate its staff and suspend operations, followed by the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Turkey, the EU, KSA, UAE, and Qatar. Other embassies reduced their diplomatic staff like Japan, China, Russia, Iran, and Oman, who say there is still a chance for dialogue and they won’t withdraw from Yemen.

This diplomatic confusion in Yemen has disrupted citizens, just like the sudden power vacuum did. At the same time, they are aware that the withdrawals are more about politics than about a civil war or security measures.

Day by day, the country is backing into a narrow corner and the serious threat may come from neighboring countries choosing to support tribes to start proxy war as their means of diplomacy. Others may help the south achieve secessions, as southerners do not want to return to the old form of one government before the unity of 1990. Whatever the outcome, the withdrawals don’t bode well for Yemen.