Q&A: The Current Situation in Yemen

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Question: What is the current situation in Yemen? Is this a local religious conflict wherein the Houthi people are pitched against the state? Or is this an international conflict wherein the local tools are being used? Please clarify, may Allah reward you.

Answer: Indeed the events in Yemen indicate a global conflict which is exploiting local issues. The United States is trying to intimidate the authority of Ali Abdullah Saleh who is Britain’s man in Yemen. The US is well aware that Ali Saleh, who has either detained or killed his political adversaries, so no one of his adversaries politicians remain capable of coming to power. Therefore it is now mobilising and training some small time politicians from southern Yemen and grooming them for future political authority. At the same time Iran, by influence of the US, is mobilising, arming and funding the Houthi people to create a potential hot spot about which Yemen and the Saudis are apprehensive and concerned. However, until now the US policy is to threaten the authority of Ali Abdullah Saleh so as to facilitate its own interests in Yemen and this is merely the initial maneuvers which are part of an eventual plan aimed at gaining complete influence and a stronghold there, and this process will perhaps not be short term.

Ali Abdullah Saleh realises this and he is seeking a security agreement with the United States in order to please the Americans and gain their tacit approval. The al Sharq al Awsat newspaper carried a report on 12th November, 2009 which said that Yemen may have reached a security and military agreement with the US after a few rounds of dialogues that were held in Sana’a during the last two days between the military and security leadership.

The scope of this agreement includes areas of military and security cooperation and sharing of intelligence & expertise in both areas. The announcement of this agreement was made after discussions were held between Major General Ahmed Ali al Ashwal, the Chief of Staff of the Yemeni armed forces and Brigadier General Geoffrey Smith, Director of planning at the US joint command.

Therefore the issue is fully understood by all politicians that the events in Yemen represent a global conflict which employs the local tools and as such this has been evident from the statements of leaders of the concerned countries. The British Deputy Foreign Secretary for Middle Eastern affairs Evan Louis while meeting the Yemeni Ambassador in London on 24th November, 2009 clarified and pointed to Iranian involvement in the event in Yemen, he said: “What is happening in Yemen is a proxy war.”

Further, the British minister also held a meeting with British law-makers on the same day to brief them on the situation in Yemen which was also attended by Timothy Achille Torlot, the British Ambassador to Yemen who also spoke about Iran’s role there and said: “There is Iranian influence to certain extent…” Britain has already committed aid amounting to 105 million pound sterling to Yemen which would be spent over a three year period commencing this year.

All this clearly proves that the events in Yemen represent a global conflict which employs local issues as tools.

11th Dhull Hijjah, 1430 A.H
28th November, 2009

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