2013, for better or worse

By Fakhri al-Arashi

In Yemen, the side effects of the past year are in the process of being carried forward into 2013. Our calendars may be replaced, yet 2012’s bad memories will continue to linger, at least for a matter of months.

When it comes to ‘news’, 2012 will be classified as a year that saw a bad economy, slow business, military restructuring, an official end to Saleh’s presidency and the transition into a new one. And yes, it was a year of targeted killings/assassinations.

When it comes down to it, the Yemeni people wish to see the second phase of the transitional process meet with success. This is a reasonable aspiration, of course, as the GCC initiative – no matter what people felt/feel about it – is the path which has been provided the Yemeni people. Whether or not the initiative represents a good or a bad bet is beside the point: it’s the only bet going in town, and the stakes for the country’s future are exceedingly high.

Stability is, by and large, the question. We can see the government scrambling to come up with answers – from a continued fight against Al-Qaeda to an increased military presence in the streets as part of efforts to curb the past year’s spate of targeted killings. If the National Dialogue Conference can (finally) begin, and do so in the midst of secure and stable surroundings, it will be an achievement – and one worth building on.

2013 should be an active year. If the year ends up being regarded as a success, there’s a good chance that it will have carried the added bonus of allowing the Yemeni people to begin to see their way into a new and positive future. For that reason, it would rightly be regarded as ‘historic’.