Where Would Yemen Be?

By Fakhri al-Arashi

On Saturday night, Prime Minister Basindawah’s motorcade was struck by the bullets of a would-be assassin.  Thanks be to God, the Prime Minister was unharmed.  Many think that Basindawah has not offered much to the country in his tenure except the language of challenge with the former president and disagreements with the current president on the National Dialogue.  In a time of such political uncertainty, every close call brings with it a spate of uncomfortable questions.

What would have happened if one bullet had found its mark?  How would the face of Yemen have been changed from yesterday to today? The National Dialogue Conference has done a remarkable job at cobbling together shaky alliances between former enemies, but it is easy to imagine the severance of these bonds with such large political gains at stake.

At whom would people point the finger? Al-Qaeda is easily the crowd favorite when it comes to violent attacks, but almost no party in Yemen is truly innocent at this point. And how long would the search last? The bombing that almost killed Saleh took place in 2011, and he still searches for the perpetrators today.

If the assassination were successful, how would the youth have responded? Would such an act of violence have brought them back to their tents in Change Square? Many of Yemen’s youth just concluded a successful two-day conference on suggestions they wish to make to the National Dialogue Conference, but how much more violence is needed before the youth lose faith in the system altogether?

How would Yemen’s political figures treat the event? With so many interests at stake, and at a time when any event can be turned into a power play, it is easy to imagine politicians manipulating the tragedy to achieve their own ends.

Fortunately, we have not been forced to confront any of these questions, but the speed with which they come to mind hints at the delicacy of Yemen’s current circumstances. What we need now is stability, confidence, and trust. Please: put down the guns.