Analysis: How is the unity of the South supposed to affect the North?

English - Wednesday 17 May 2023 الساعة 09:58 am
Aden, NewsYemen, exclusive:

The momentum of the consultative meeting held in Aden (May 4-8, 2023) of the southern political forces and components is still pushing for more political developments throughout the Yemeni geography, including reactions to the outcomes of the consultative meeting / Southern National Dialogue Conference.

What happened in the Aden dialogue with the southern powers gave hope that the Yemenis could return to unitary behavior based on the principles of: dialogue, reconciliation and tolerance, and giving priority to the future over the fragmented present that requires courageous concessions and, at the same time, sublimating the pain of the past.

A few days after the conclusion of the activities of the Southern Dialogue, the Transitional Council - the initiator of this dialogue - witnessed changes in its administrative structure at the leadership level by appointing two vice-chairmen of the Council, both of whom are members of the Presidential Leadership Council authorized to manage the affairs of the Republic of Yemen since April 7, 2022. With these changes, the Council became The transitional council includes three of the four members who represent the south in the Presidential Leadership Council: Aidarous Al-Zubaidi, Abdul Rahman Al-Mahrami and Faraj Al-Bahsani. Uniting the national parties opposed to the Houthi group in order to break its strength and separate it from Iran, and then force it to accept the national partnership in power and stop its attacks on the Yemeni interior and neighboring countries?

Interest varied between local and regional

The reports of international organizations specialized in Yemeni affairs often included recommendations for the international and regional community to work to strengthen the Presidential Leadership Council, whether in terms of economic resources that enable it to run the country, or in terms of bringing the views of its members closer on any controversial issues or discrepancies in estimates. However, the dominant feature of the Presidential Leadership Council's performance a year ago indicates its lack of political dynamism in resolving issues that mean to the local parties a matter of fate, but at the same time are not a priority for the countries involved in the conflict and sponsoring political settlement efforts. The broad title of the interest of the countries of the region at the beginning of the war was represented in supporting their allies in the fighting that the Houthi group started by overthrowing the army camps, leading to the overthrow of the capital, Sana'a, and the coup against power by force of arms. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates led the Arab coalition to support legitimacy, and Iran and its proxies in the Arab region supported the Houthi militia. Today, the broad title of the Arab coalition countries is to end the war and its merchants, including Iran, at the level of the declared statements. However, Iran still supports the Houthis with weapons, training and war manufacturing, while the Arab coalition countries are trying to restrain their allies from the national forces for reasons that may not be convincing at times.

The various Iranian support for the Houthi militia enabled it to build an international and regional position sympathetic to it, and at home it enabled it to build an arsenal of heavy weapons, ballistic missiles and drones that it does not hesitate to launch at its local opponents or at neighboring countries. It uses these offensive weapons without regard to international laws, religious and humanitarian norms, and without regard also to the threat escalation poses to the political settlement efforts. On the other hand, during eight years of military and political support for the legitimate government and the national forces, the Arab coalition countries, specifically the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, turned to direct negotiations with the Houthi militia and tried to convince the parties under the umbrella of the Presidential Leadership Council to accept the results of these negotiations, despite the obvious disparity. Between the interests and objectives of these parties, and between the interests and objectives of the countries sponsoring the peace efforts. Practically, the desire to bring peace to the country exists among all parties, which was recently stated by the Saudi ambassador to Yemen, Mohammed Al Jaber. However, in addition to the parties' different perceptions of this peace, each party has fundamental issues that any peace agreement must include radical solutions to.

The most prominent of these core issues is the southern issue for the Transitional Council and the southern forces that form the peaceful southern movement, and for the northern patriotic parties that are fighting the Houthi group, their main issue is the republican system and the rejection of the principle of "mandate" in governance that the Houthi militia has been working to perpetuate since its coup against power. In the folds of these two main issues lie hundreds of details that Satan used to hide in its convolutions, details that the southern powers seem to have recently made remarkable progress in expelling Satan from and replacing it with the principle of dialogue.

Consensus in the south and diaspora in the north

Despite the different visions and perceptions of the southern political forces and components, there is now a link that unites them, which is "restoring the state" or, in the lightest of possibilities, "self-determination". The "Southern National Charter" stipulated both options, stipulating that a popular referendum be held in all governorates and regions of the south on any proposed solutions in the case of the second option, which puts the northern forces affiliated with the legitimate government in front of decisive challenges about the entitlements of the southern issue on the one hand, and about the fate of The governorates and regions of the north that are in the grip of the Houthi militia on the other hand.

In the north, the political situation appears in the worst manifestations of the diaspora, as the Houthi militia controls most of its geography. During the years of the war, it isolated these regions and brought about changes in the structure of state institutions, and it still continues to blur the features of the social and cultural identity that was formed after the September 26 revolution, and to redraw the features of the national identity in accordance with the policies and directions of the Imamate regime that tampered with the demographic and cultural composition of the north for a thousand years. However, as soon as there was a recent consensus in the south that the former "state restoration" of unity is a major option for the southern powers, the majority of the northern elites ignored the danger posed by the Houthi militia to the national identity politically, socially and intellectually, and were concerned with condemning the choices of the southerners and their own vision of their own destiny.

Despite the negative reaction by the northern elites to the southerners' vision of a unified Yemen, southern positions were nominated at the leadership level to confirm standing with the north in the face of the Houthi takeover of the decision of the fate of the Yemenis in the areas it controls. The meeting of the President of the Southern Transitional Council, Aidaroos Al-Zubaidi, with the governor of Sana'a appointed by the legitimate government, and the statements of his deputy, Faraj Al-Bahsani. It clearly reflected a southern position reminiscent of the positions of the leaders of the two parts in supporting the September and October revolutions in the early sixties of the last century. As long as the south currently represents a safe haven for the northern forces opposing the frontal Houthi tide, and as long as the northern cause enjoys this national and regional support. The national forces of the north may also need to take bolder steps in gathering their diaspora and coalescing with the southern forces in order to restore the state from the grip of the Houthi militia.