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Whither Yemen?

The Yemeni “youth” revolution came as a Tsunami. It brought in its wake a new life and vitality to millions of Yemenis determined to rid themselves of decades of dynastic and dictatorial rule. 33 years of such a corrupt rule left millions of children and their families in the grip of starvation. Recent events have shown that both Saleh and the Houthy have been allowed to assume power in Sana’a and expand elsewhere in the country. The regional and international community in their role as the engineers and patrons of the Gulf Cooperation Council initiative maintained dubious silence.
Many Yemenis today believe that their revolution has been betrayed by traditional local political players, regional and international interests. To many of them the fig leaf has finally fallen.

The following is an open letter, which we believe is self explanatory, and is but one example of the manner with which the British government and the International community have let down the Yemeni people.

An Open Letter to the Right Honourable William Hague- HM Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs  

Dear Sir,  

At our meeting with you, Alan Duncan and Alistair Burt in honour of the Nobel Laureate Tawakol Karman on the 15th December 2011, you reassured us that the British government was monitoring the situation in Yemen very closely.  

You said then that while you were applying all kinds of pressure on Saleh and his regime to adhere to the GCC’s initiative, you were also considering further action against him if it became clear to you that he was continuing to frustrate its implementation process.     

We believe that the situation in Yemen has deteriorated so badly precisely because the nominally ousted Yemeni president has never relinquished his practical hold over the political scene, despite his signing of the GCC accord.

This vindicates Mrs Karman’s prediction at our meeting that the unusual tolerance of Saleh by the International Community, and the “kid glove” approach to his political manipulation would lead to increased insecurity in Yemen and the wider region.  

The reason for the International Community encouraging the granting of immunity to Saleh and his political and tribal affiliates, was ostensibly to give peace a chance and to secure a smooth transition to a more democratic Yemen; this, despite it flying in the face of International Law. Yet millions of Yemenis accepted this price, and elected a new President.  

Your office is no doubt aware of recent developments in Yemen, and the role that Saleh and his cronies are playing. Their active efforts are aimed at defeating all the objectives of the transitional process, as outlined by the GCC implementation road map, which the British government supported and helped to bring about. They probably wish to install Saleh’s son Ahmed as Presidente-for-life once he reaches 40 years of age in 2013.  

The last few days have clearly shown the rogue and “unconstitutional” activities of Saleh and his cronies in response to Pres. Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi’s various decrees. This has included holding the country to ransom by besieging Sana’a airport, thus halting all international flights. Furthermore, it has not gone unnoticed that terrorist activities have increased rapidly since Abdu Rabu Mansour assumed the Presidency – indeed many Yemenis have been unlawfully killed since the signing of the GCC accord, and in particular since Saleh no longer had day-to-day Presidential issues to distract him.

We believe that the British government must stop turning a blind eye to Saleh’s activities, and start to treat him as nothing more than a bandit, hell bent on wreaking havoc in an already wracked region. We therefore add our support to Mrs Karman’s request to the British government to scrutinise Saleh’s Human Rights record seriously, and charge him as a common criminal under the relevant international laws. In particular, we ask that you freeze his (and his family’s) dubiously acquired assets, and assist us in returning the billions of pounds he misappropriated from the Yemeni population.  

Galal Maktari – A British academic of Yemeni origin and founding member of the Independent Yemen Group-
Independent Yemen Group, campaigning for a democratic Yemen where justice, fairness and freedom are fundamental human rights

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