Political Analysis

Amer Moussa & Al-Siniora Call for New Gulf Initiative

National Yemen

By NY staff

Due to the worsening political situation in Yemen, both the Former Secretary General of the Arab League, Amre Moussa, and the former Lebanese Prime Minister, Fuad Siniora, have called to hold an Arab initiative in order to unify the Yemeni army and help it to regain the cities controlled by the Houthis.

In a joint article published by Al-Ahram newspaper titled “The Disintegration of Yemen and the Danger to Arab Security”, Moussa and Siniora said that the events in Yemen surprised everyone and made them worry at the same time.

“During the years 2011 and 2012, the situation in Yemen began like the Tunisian situation. The fall of the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh took long time and led to the death of many victims. However, the situation became better as a result of the Gulf Cooperation Council initiative and the cooperation of the Security Council,” Moussa and Siniora claimed.

The veteran politicians confirmed that what happened in Yemen didn’t happen in any countries of the Arab revolutions. “A comprehensive National Dialogue Conference (NDC) was held with the participation of all political parties, including the southern Herak, Houthis, and the party of the former president. The dialogue sessions took a long time but in the end it resulted in outcomes about decentralization, the new regions, and the nature of the federal and democratic regime,” they said.

They added that after the NDC, the situation became worse, especially because some of the Gulf initiative items had not been implemented like the restructuring of the army and security forces.

The report mentioned events in Yemen, such as the fall of Amran and Sana’a and the spread of the militants on the coasts, Hodeidah, Hajjah, and the center of Yemen to Albaidha and Marib.

It pointed out that all the events happened while the army was silent and the transitional government abdicated its responsibilities and resigned, which made President Hadi sign the Agreement of Peace and Partnership that didn’t help anything.

Moussa and Siniora said it’s very useful now to answer the confusing questions about the conspiracy that happened in the NDC from some of its members about and the division of the army. The most important thing is to find an escape from the crises, which are now in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and may be in other countries tomorrow.

They pointed out that Yemen has a special value among the Arab countries, with a very important strategic location among the Arabian Sea, Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, as well as on the borders of Saudi Arabia and Oman.

 “Despite the poverty in Yemen, the tribal system, and the weakness of the central authority, Yemen has achieved important success through uniting the north and south in 1990,” they continued. “Among 2004 and 2010, Yemeni army has launched six wars against the Houthis in the north of the country.”

According to Moussa and Siniora, during the last ten years, Yemeni army forced to fight in two sides, Houthi in Sa’ada and its surroundings and Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the south of Yemen.

“It is said that former president Saleh, who has a strong power in the army, has allied with the Houthis since 2012 in order to remove his enemies and return to power. Actually, the problem now isn’t with the return of Saleh to power, it’s with the disintegration of Yemen to more than a small state, and the threatened security of the Gulf states and Arabs in general, especially after Houthis arrived in the Strait of Bab el Mandeb with the support of Iran,“ they added.

They explained that international powers exist in the Indian Ocean and in the islands nearby shores of Yemen and close to the Red Sea, but if Iran, which controls the Strait of Hormuz, can control Bab el Mandeb, this may negatively affect the security of Egypt, the Gulf, and Arab states in general, and may lead to civil wars and sectarian conflicts as what happened in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and now in Yemen.

They added Yemen now is threatened by the secession of the south from the north and by the civil war in the north and center. The biggest problem is if al-Qaeda works to protect Sunnis by fighting the Houthis.

Both Moussa and Siniora suggested holding a Gulf and Arab initiative in order to unify the army and begin parliamentary elections, which will determine the features of the near future and the sizes of the political forces without the influence of arms and militants.

They also wondered if it’s possible to free the army from the control of Saleh, confirming that the Yemeni army is the only entity able to force the Houthis from the cities they control, mentioning that it’s the army that defended the unity of Yemen in 1994 and is the only power not affected by sectarian and tribal factors.

Moussa and Siniora confirmed that what happened Syria, Yemen, Libya and Iraq increased the concerns about Arab security in general. Therefore they called for practical and serious thinking about the future and about the expansion of joint Arab defense by discussing the Arab and regional components of national security in light of the escalating threats, as well as creating a joint Arab force on land, sea, and air to protect peace in the Arab region.

They also called on the Arab League Council to study the plan to approve it and implement it.