Written By: Moustafa Bahran*
Article Date: Aug 18, 2010 - 10:36:08 PM
Ménage à trois is a French term which literally translates as “household of three”. In contemporary usage, the meaning of the term has been extended to mean any living relationship between three people, whether or not sex is involved and therefore can be used in politics. Today, I will borrow this term to be applied to Yemeni politics.
Recently, the Yemeni political landscape has improved significantly with the July 17th agreement between the ruling party representing the State and the opposition led by the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), as the kind of political bridge between the two sides that we all have been calling for. Subsequently both sides have exchanged lists naming each side 100 members of the Dialog Preparatory Committee (DPC).
An initial meeting has taken place and a 30-member subcommittee has been named. Therefore, a two-wheel dialogue engine is running. The hope is that the dialog will lead to a marriage between the two sides (hybrid cabinet), even if by necessity, leading to a successful parliamentary election next April.
Most recently, the rank-and-file of the opposition is experiencing some turbulences caused by those in the opposition calling for regime change as well as by a third party which is claiming to represent the so-called “Al herak” movement in some southern governorates. A number of the opposition members of its list of 100 have removed themselves from the list acting in effect as a third wheel trying to sabotage the dialogue process. The motive behind this kind of third-wheeling is mostly self interest. Yet, “Al herak” movement is real and must become a member of the political household; otherwise the marriage between the State and the JMP will not succeed. This suggests that a Yemeni political ménage à trios may be the way to go. The problem is: “Al herak” does not have a coherent and clear cut leadership. Many claim to be just that, but most are self serving or personalities that are better mummified than revitalized. Some have old hidden agendas. That is why they are conspiring to use naïve minded activists and ex-soldiers in Ad dali, Lahij and Abyan Governorates as a ladder to get where they want! The conspiracy is to exploit the situation and push those activists and ex-soldiers as a front confronting the State and calling for secession. They are taking advantage of the hardship that the average citizen is experiencing not only in these Governorates but all over the country as well as specifically magnifying local grievances.
The conspiracy is that they will be picking up the flag at the right time when conditions are ripe for them to fulfill their own agenda leaving Ad dali, Lahij and Abyan in turmoil. In principal, those conspirators will get nowhere because the old hidden regional backing is no more and international will is against them. Therefore these “Al herak” elements in Ad dali, Lahij and Abyan need genuine advice, wise leadership and must realize that they are being used. They must realize that in order to address their legitimate concerns, they need to dissociate themselves from secessionist doctrine simply because it will not pay off for them. Certainly the Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP) who is a member of the JPM has strong ties to “Al herak” because numbers of its leadership in these Governorates are leading activists of various groups. Therefore, the YSP immediate and future role could be crucial.
It seems to me that the committee of 200 must work hard to identify and bring “Al herak” to the table. The government in particular must change its attitudes and ground policies towards “Al herak”. The Government must shake its economic policies and create some relief for the average citizen. The State also must refrain from crediting and/or financing those within its ranks that continue to play dual and self-serving political roles, including those who are against the April 2009-on time elections; this is if a Yemeni political ménage à trios is to take place. If not, the Yemeni household will be in danger of breaking up, and the hidden agendas may then find some ground. The Sate then is to be blamed and blaming will be of no use!
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