By Bushra al-Amari
The dialogue partners’ visions remain blurry regarding what they are to depend on to build up their part in the dialogue. The same goes for their seriousness about discussing major issues and how to come up with visions of building a new regime and country. It is apprehended that the country will slide into further division and disintegration.
Tawfeeq Al-Hemeari, Member of the Political Department of the Democratic Yemeni Party and Managing Editor of Democratic Newspaper:
I think what most of the political powers doing right now as far as agreeing on points of dispute between them serves nothing but more division and contradictions between them. This is also due to the intended absence of cooperation among them to build a lawful state. The political, social and religious requirements must be determined for a modern, civil state to be built. The most important among these requirements is the building of a democratic regime which results in the transmitting of power between generations and different sides, rather than for power to be seized.
Yahiya Al-Sha’eebi, Former Minister of Education:
Though I appreciate all the efforts, I see that it is still difficult to escape from the bottleneck. The vision is still not clear and contradictions are still the master of the situation. Nonetheless, I hope Yemen survives the crisis. Yet this will be achieved only by way of a genuine reconciliation. This will also help to foster real visions which will direct the dialogue to agreed-upon results. Coming up with a constitution and a new regime which suit the big sacrifices of our people who deserve consideration is the least that can be offered them.
Abdulwahab Hadi Tawaf, Ambassador:
We are approaching a dialogue which will gather all effective political powers on the Yemeni scene. We will encounter complicated problems and various views regarding the style and shape of our future ruling system. Doubtless, some powers have agendas which will represent great threats to us in the coming time. Also, some will resort to excuses and justifications for imposing their desires – or else they will exit the dialogue conference.
During this stage, we notice that most of the political powers agree on the necessity to move Yemen towards safety. They also agree on the necessity of translating the goals of the Youth Revolution into effective decisions and visions which move Yemen into a better situation.
Putting all that aside, we have to be realistic and realize that the dialogue conference will not achieve all of what Yemenis aspire to. Our problems will not be solved in such a relatively short time. Still, we must remain positive and start the dialogue with the conviction that Yemen is for all its people, and that it will move forward with the help of its people.
Abdulhafeez Al-Nahari, Deputy of the GPC Party Media Department:
We are approaching the national dialogue conference, the mission of which will include the observation of the constitution, in accordance with the GCC initiative. This will hopefully result in the making of some necessary constitutional changes which meet people’s aspirations. The current constitution is an advanced document, but the problem has been in the implementation of the constitution’s articles.
The other option for the dialogue’s possible outcomes is the formation of a new constitution with some modifications which include changing the political system into a parliamentary one. This will be done with consideration for the general state of change, which means taking public demands into consideration. It also must consider the level of demands and aspirations of the different political powers, including the GPC, which should be included in the new constitution.
When the opposition wanted to change the regime, they targeted specific people at the top of the regime and took revenge against them on the basis of personal motives. Moreover, the powers that stood behind incitement against the regime don’t represent a vision of progress. This was mostly because their first motive was the rejection of a democratic institutional reference.
The challenges now lay before the ability of the forces and youth to activate their role in the dialogue conference and constitutional committee. They also lay before their ability to democratically curb their separatist desires in the first place and then the addressing of and control of their forces on the ground. This also will help these forces to cut the way before those who want to destroy the republican regime and democracy, which represent the only ways that we can move into the future. The future of Yemen without unity, democracy and public partnership is a meaningless one. It is also meaningless without a strong civil state and an equal citizenship and freedom for all Yemenis, with no exceptions. Such values can enable the establishment of a new republic which leaves behind the culture of revenge and the achievement of a civil national culture.
Naif Ahmed Al-Qanes, Chairman of the Executive Authority, Spokesman for the JMP, and Chairman of Political Development for the Ba’ath Party:
All forces that participated in the Youth Revolution strongly believed in finding a formula for compromise to build a civil state. We have a complete vision which was proposed for discussion at the dialogue. In case it is accepted, we will feel proud that we can present a project agreed upon by all Yemeni people. We will similarly feel proud in the event it is rejected, since we are participating in the dialogue and its outcomes.
We feel assured that all effective political forces should take part in the dialogue, including women, youths and Southern Movement members. Without these three pillars, the dialogue will be incomplete and we will not reach a full Yemeni project towards a civil state.
The drafting of the constitution simply means agreement by the dialogue committee on the shape of the state and its political and electoral systems. If these axes are agreed upon, the constitution will be the major line for what all Yemenis wish to be discussed during the dialogue for a new state.
We are positive about the chances for success for the dialogue if all conflicts are put aside. The Yemeni political mind stands before a real test, one in which it must make use of Yemeni wisdom. We should stop depending on the west to solve our problems and be major partners in the building of our state. Moreover, we must go over certain points like shifting the division of the armed forces and create a new model to be followed.
If the situation remains one of selecting and sharing positions, we will not reach a civil state, and especially if the state of division in the army persists.
Personal interests appeared on the surface and were seen in the attacks on the Interior Ministry and the Council of Representatives. To wrap up, it is vital to finish attending to the divided state of the army to achieve a peaceful transition of power.
Ahmed Saif Hashed, Member of Parliament:
It seems that traditional powers which managed to control and lead the revolution are reproducing themselves in the new regime. The spirit of the revolution still needs to be restored, and control of traditional forces needs to be achieved. Otherwise, it will be necessary to go through a new revolution that achieves the people’s dreams of building a civil democratic state which depends on international human rights and legislative standards. An important point to mention here is that the policy of sharing in state institutions does not in any way lead to a civil state, but rather to political crisis and the increased likelihood of oncoming war.
Noor Al-Deen Al-Aza’azy, Chairman of the Yemeni Center for Civil Rights:
What is called the JMP is a tactical combination based on the fact that each part comes from a different ideological background. All met at one point – when this point is left, differences or disputes appear, which was clear after the revolution. This is why we believe that this coalition will not last for long. They may tell people that they agree on the notion of a civil state, but reality shows that each part of the coalition has its own understanding of the concept of a ‘civil state’. The agreement between these parts may have taken come as part of the effort to overthrow and do away with injustice and oppression, but it will not last forever, as they will find grounds on which to disagree.
To be realistic, we did not realize the true meaning of a ‘republic’, and I am sure that many of the leaders and religious figures contradict the principles of a republic. There have been many statements, either by Sheikh Zindani or other against people’s desires to have a civil state, which will eventually create a gap between the youth and parties’ goals towards the construction of a modern state. Simultaneously, we hope that all these disputes will be discussed in the framework of a national dialogue rather than have them turn into motives for conflicts. Referring always back to our traditions and old ways of thinking which represent violence will lead to a new cycle of violence.
Yahiya Hussein Al-Arashi, Shura Council Member:
Progress for Yemen includes attending to the significant responsibility of drafting a new constitution. Yemen’s responsibility also includes drafting a new strategy that goes in harmony with contemporary local, regional and international realities.
I am so positive about the Yemenis’ ability to involve all so that great achievements can be made in different fields, including our relations with international organizations.
Dr. Tareq Abdullah Al-Harawi, Researcher in international relations and strategic affairs and political analyst:
One of the most significant realities is that the standards behind the establishment of any political system in any country to a great extent serve the interests of powerful parties. They serves those parties which seek to prove themselves and control the sources of wealth more than they care about the interests of the country and its people.
However, changes that Arab countries have witnessed allowed for important exceptions to such realities, as represented by the emergence of youth on the scene.
All parts concerned with representing the different fragments of Yemeni society represent only one single part of the society. Moreover, within the increasing divisions between these parts is a conflict which raises the potential for the full representation of the Yemeni people and their interests to not be achieved. There is no possibility of representing all fragments of society as a result of considerations of technical matters. It is also due to the difficulty of finding points of agreement between them.
The movement towards national change should include a national project for the coming forty years. The project should represent the maximum limit of national interests. Doing so will bring the Yemeni people to the shores of a civil state and towards the creation of a modern regime. This will help to overcome most of the defects in the dialogue which are in fact difficult to ignore or pass by.
Achieving all of this will result in a dialogue that will be a natural and real representation of the movement towards national change which has been in motion over the decades. From another perspective, it will open a wide door for all the national forces and factions to effectively and efficiently participate in this historical event and form a picture of their fate.