Saudi Arabia and the UAE will pay the price of treachery to the Yemeni people, said Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakkol Karman in the third and final episode of her interview with Araby 21. Text of the third and final episode of the interview:
* How do you see the coup of Aden and its repercussions on the situation in Yemen?
- The coup in Aden is the second after the Houthi coup on September 21, 2014, and because of it, the country will enter another phase of chaos. One of the most significant consequences of this coup is that is a fatal blow to Yemen's legitimacy, which suffers from significant weaknesses and imbalances.
In my opinion, the danger of this coup lies in the fact that it does not only establish the demolition of the Yemeni state, but also fuels regional conflicts between Yemenis, in the interests of foreign countries that do not want to see Yemen united or powerful, this is the most dangerous point.
The Aden coup, sponsored by the Saudi-Emirati coalition, provides conclusive evidence that this coalition intervened in Yemen in order to disintegrate it and undermine its national entity rather than restoring legitimacy as claimed on the eve of the declaration of war on Yemen.
*Yemeni Interior Minister Ahmed al-Maissari accused the UAE of slaughtering the legitimacy from vein to vein, as well as the Deputy Speaker of the Yemeni House of Representatives, Abdul Aziz Jubbari, said that Saudi Arabia and the UAE slaughter the legitimacy from vein to vein.. How do you see that?
- In fact, the Saudi-UAE coalition has been slaughtering the legitimacy since a long time. Many Yemenis realize that legitimacy has been slaughtered, when the president was not allowed to return to the country, when he was forced to change resistance leaders from their posts, such as Nayef al-Bakri, who was governor of Aden and leader of the resistance against the Houthis, and when they prevented state institutions from operating from within Yemen, when armed militias were formed in the south, in Taiz and in Hodeidah, which belong to the UAE, when prisons and detention centers were opened under the supervision of Emiratis.
For more than three years, most Yemenis have come to believe that the Saudi-UAE coalition is working for its own interests, and these interests will only pass by dividing Yemen and giving its agents power and authority in the south and north.
* Why did Saudi Arabia remain silent on the coup of Aden and did not take decisive and deterrent measures towards this?
- Some believe that Saudi Arabia was surprised with the coup of Aden, and that it could not stop what happened because of the acceleration of events, and because its partner in the coalition was involved in this scheme, but I think, fortunately this is what many Yemenis believe, that Saudi Arabia is involved in this coup. It managed the details and was in harmony, agreement and full harmony with the UAE plot in Yemen; the rulers of Al Saud have an old dream of dismantling Yemen, and believe that the current situation in Yemen represents a golden opportunity to achieve this dream.
What Saudi Arabia fears today is that the coalition will lose the legitimacy of its military intervention, so it has pressured President Hadi, the weak, and his fragile government to accept formal solutions to perpetuate the coup and divide Yemen.
*So how do you evaluate President Hadi's position on the coup of Aden? Has he been in Riyadh for almost four years with his will or against his will because he is under house arrest?
- President Hadi is weak and irresponsible. Four years ago, the man is doing nothing of value. He seems to have completely surrendered to the Saudi regime and has become a tool in their hand.
I was saying that the president was under house arrest, and some were making fun of this saying. Today I am not ready to reaffirm this. It is no longer important that he is under house arrest or that he has accepted this role. What is important is that Yemen is in great exposure because of the great power vacuum. There is no longer a national authority that defends the interests of Yemenis and protects their sovereignty.
Let me tell you that President Hadi, his government, and his deputy are completely dependent on Saudi Arabia. They are under house arrest in Riyadh. They cannot say a word that Saudi Arabia is not satisfied with. Saudi Arabia has legitimate authority to legitimize its fragmentation and occupation of the country instead of returning it and assuming its authority as it is supposed.
*Does this explain why President Hadi did not take a decision to exempt the UAE from participating in the Arab coalition and that he did not communicate with the Security Council regarding the recent developments in Aden and the dimensions of the UAE role in it?
- The president and his government, as I have told you, are mortgaged to far extent to Saudi Arabia. They cannot say a word. They do not want them to decide to exempt the UAE, so they will not.
Let me also tell you that the real snakehead is Saudi Arabia, and the UAE is only one of its dirty tools to destroy and break Yemen. The president will have to exempt Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and ask them to stop the war and stop interfering if he still has any word or the courage to make the right decision.
As for why President Hadi did not take the decision to exempt the UAE from participating in the Arab coalition, as I told you, it is due to Saudi Arabia's refusal to exempt the UAE from participating in the Arab coalition. As you know, Hadi cannot reply or even discuss Saudi orders.
Saudi Arabia asked him not to mention the UAE in any complaint to the Security Council, and this is what happened, the message of the Yemeni government to the Security Council was free from mentioning the suspicious UAE role, which is now known to all.
*Was the withdrawal of most of the UAE forces from Yemen a prelude to the coup in Aden, especially in light of the formation of a local force belonging to Abu Dhabi to maintain the influence of the UAE?
- So far there has been the repositioning of the UAE forces and there is no withdrawal. The UAE has withdrawn from the battles against the Houthis, but it has not withdrawn from Yemen as it claims.
Yes, it is clear that the UAE announcement of withdrawal was a prelude to the coup. It does not want to appear as a conspirator. At the end, the murderer prefers to leave the crime scene, and the UAE has tried to do so, but everyone refers to it as the sponsor of coups in Yemen in partnership and agreement with Saudi Arabia.
*The Yemeni Foreign Ministry, in its first statement, blamed the UAE for the coup against legitimacy in Aden, calling on it to withdraw and stop its military support for these "rebel groups completely and immediately". How do you see the future of relationship between the Yemeni government and the UAE?
- Any statement from the Yemeni Foreign Ministry or others does not hold Saudi Arabia and the UAE responsible is a deceptive statement and falsification of consciousness, aiming at clearing Saudi Arabia by blaming the UAE only, while Saudi Arabia is the leader of the Arab coalition, and is responsible before our people for all the mistakes and crimes committed by the coalition in Yemen and against Yemen, including the crimes of the UAE.
Relations between President Hadi and the United Arab Emirates have worsened since early, because all UAE requests have not been met. Hadi has met many of Abu Dhabi's requests, but that is not enough for the UAE's rulers who are arrogant.
Nothing will change on the level of relations between the UAE and the Yemeni government. Some of the Yemeni government and President Hadi have reservations about the UAE role, but there are entities within the Yemeni government that see otherwise.
The future of relationship between the government and the UAE depends on the nature of the Saudi position. It should not be forgotten that Prime Minister Moeen Abdul Malik is like a secretary for the Saudi ambassador to Yemen, and this is no longer a secret to anyone.
*Some say that the recent developments in Aden will succeed in removing the Islah party from the upcoming peace negotiations and will be replaced by the Southern Transitional Council.
- Islah leaders are in Riyadh, detained there, like President Hadi and his government. They are silent about Yemen's fragmentation and destruction of its entity by the coalition. Thus, they commit a betrayal against the country like President Hadi and his government. Islah is grumbling and dissatisfied with the coalition, but its decision has been hijacked by its reliant leaders in Riyadh. If the matter is to remove Islah, even it is not legal, it will be an easy matter, but the problem is that they want to remove Yemen as a whole.
I think that Islah is the hangover through which Yemen is dismantled and chaotic, preventing it from rising. The Southern Transitional Council is a political and security tool of the United Arab Emirates. Thus, the UAE wants to decide the fate of Yemen through its tools and with the blessing and satisfaction of Saudi Arabia.
*Some say that there is a common point between the southern separatists and the Emiratis, namely the hostility with the Islamists, especially the Yemeni Islah party, which is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. What is the secret of the alliance between the southern separatists and the Emiratis?
- The hostility against the Yemeni Islah party is not because it is an Islamic party, but because it is a stumbling block to the plans of the UAE and the separatists in Yemen. The party has a principled position on the Yemeni legitimacy, unity and democratic process, and its influence extends over the entire Yemeni geography, and this bothers Emirati and southern separatists alike.
*Was the Aden coup aimed primarily at trying to get rid of the Yemeni Islah Party or the legitimacy of Hadi and his government as a whole?
- I believe that the Aden coup aims to tear Yemen apart in the first place, under the pretext of fighting the Islah party. Their statements are clear in this direction. Getting rid of Hadi's legitimacy will cost them a lot at the moment, and why do they get rid of a man who gives them the political and legal cover that they need?
*Does the Saudi regime view the right-wing government of Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi as an ally or as a subordinate? How do you compare Saudi support for the legitimate government with Iran's support for the Houthis?
- The Saudi regime looks at the government of Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi only as a servile subordinate. The Saudi junior officers communicate with senior Yemeni officials. When former Yemeni Deputy Prime Minister Abdul Aziz Jubbari resigned, he asked the Arab coalition to treat the Yemeni president with respect.
As for the comparison between Saudi support for the legitimacy and Iran's support for the Houthis, I do not like such comparison. Saudi Arabia is like Iran in its view of Yemen, but perhaps Iran is more supportive of its allies while Saudi is working to weaken its allies.
*How do you see the recent developments in Yemen?
- The coalition, which tells the world that its war in Yemen is aimed at supporting legitimacy and the restoration of the state, has assured Yemenis and the world that it is the number one enemy of legitimacy. They supported militias in Aden and other southern provinces to rebel against legitimacy and the Yemeni state, besieging the government and hindering it from carrying out its duties and preventing the legitimate president from returning to the interim capital of Aden.
This happened during the five-year war. What happened recently was that these UAE-backed militias attacked the presidential palace in Aden and seized the state institutions by force, declared war and, with the help of the UAE and the silence and blessing of Saudi Arabia, they seized Aden, and went to try to impose their control on other southern provinces.
As you know, their thorn broke before the National Army, supported by the people of Shabwah province, and within one day the army was at the gates of Aden, but Emirates aircraft intervened with treacherous and brutal raids targeting the soldiers' gatherings.
The UAE killed 300 Yemeni soldiers, and its militias committed the killing of prisoners and wounded, and slaughtered the wounded inside hospitals.
These events have shown that the National Army has the ability to win and fully control all provinces that have been liberated from the Houthi militias and handed over to militias who are loyal to the UAE and are managed, financed and armed by the UAE. What prevented the army from doing that since the beginning of this war was the coalition, and the legitimacy’s lack of independent political decision and its subject to Saudi custody.
*There are those who believe that Saudi Arabia is directly responsible for what is happening in Yemen as the leader of the Arab coalition, as well as that the coalition operations room is based in Riyadh.. What is your comment?
- This is the case, and those who say otherwise are wrong and not deceive anyone but themselves. We cannot assume positions or variations based on expectations. What we see is Saudi Arabia's approval of what the UAE has done, and even more it is exercising legal guardianship and prevents any reactions against the UAE.
*Why did not Saudi Arabia declare any clear position on the UAE strikes and the recent UAE moves in general?
- This question should be directed to Saudi Arabia and not to me. All Yemen ask these questions and see the Saudi treachery against legitimacy and Yemen, and how it intervened to destroy Yemen and divide it, arguing that it supports legitimacy and saves Yemen from the Persian extension. Iran cannot harm Yemen as Saudi Arabia does.
In my estimation, there was a Saudi green light for the UAE to bomb the Yemeni army. Saudi Arabia was already aware of the bombing and gave it satisfaction and blessing. No military or civilian aircraft can fly over Yemen without the knowledge and permission of the Saudi-run Joint Operations Room from Riyadh.
*Is the UAE turned into a strategic enemy of Yemeni legitimacy? What are the reasons for this hostility?
- The Saudi-led coalition has become a strategic enemy of the Republic of Yemen, and the UAE is an essential part of this coalition. This is the situation after five years of war.
The southern governorates of Taiz and Marib were liberated before the end of 2015. They are more than three-quarters of the country. However, in Riyadh, the president remained barred from returning. Most of these areas remained closed to the militias created by the UAE, because the coalition is waging another undeclared war on legitimacy. I do not say the UAE alone, but Saudi Arabia is the leader of the coalition.
The UAE has insane ambitions, wants to occupy the Yemeni island of Socotra and naturalize its population, and salivate on the Yemeni coast. It wants to control the port of Aden, and has many goals close to the goals of an occupying country, and for this it works to fragment Yemen and use the militias created, funded and armed over the past five years.
Saudi Arabia shares these crazy ambitions; it also dreams of controlling the province of Mahra, which borders Oman, Hadramout and Shabwa.
*Do you expect the UAE to be removed from the Arab coalition soon or to cut relations with it? Why are such measures delayed?
- It was supposed to be expelled with the launch of the first bullet in the war in Aden at the beginning of August, and since it practiced hostility to legitimacy and provoked war against it in Aden. Relationship with the UAE must be cut, but Saudi Arabia puts enormous pressure on legitimacy, and hinders any action or the issuance of a position from legitimacy against the UAE. It works to bring legitimacy and the Transitional Council into dialogue and agreement politically while the situation remains as it is in Aden under the transitional control.
*What if Saudi Arabia insists on the continuation of the UAE in the Arab coalition and its intervention in Yemeni affairs?
- It is already insistent on the Emirates remaining because it is its partner in these trends, with different style.
*But there have been reports and analyzes pointing to the collision of the accounts of the UAE and Saudi Arabia in the Yemen war… To what extent do you see these reports accurate or there is harmony and exchange of roles between Riyadh and Abu Dhabi?
- I am not with those who say that there is a UAE-Saudi dispute in Yemen, and that there is a difference in their agenda. The two countries exchange roles and work together to destroy the Republic of Yemen and undermine its national entity.
I am not satisfied with the content of some reports and analyzes, some of which have been published in Western newspapers indicating that there is a contradiction between Saudi and Emirati politics in Yemen.
I believe that there are complementary roles between the two countries. The UAE is arming the militias, and Saudi Arabia is preventing the arming of the legitimate government and pressuring on it to accept the coup of the UAE militias and not face its insurgency.
Overall, it is important that Yemenis turn to their country and their future away from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, whether they are in harmony or hostility.
*Mohamed bin Zayed previously confirmed that Riyadh and Abu Dhabi stand in the same trench, and that the relations between them are still strong... To what extent do they match their goals in Yemen? Are the UAE's allies in Yemen not Saudi allies, as some say?
- I am not interested in the reality of Saudi-Emirati relations, but what I am sure of is that the Saudi-Emirati policy is one policy towards Yemen. The dispute may be over the size of each side's interests in Yemen, but they agree on the need to weaken and divide Yemen.
*How do you evaluate the role played by the Saudi-UAE coalition in Yemen since its intervention until now? Has this coalition become weak and collapsed to a large extent after the coup of Aden?
- Frankly, the role played by the Saudi-Emirati coalition was not in the interest of the Yemeni people, and it failed to fully achieve all its "stated" goals. The coalition has declared that its intervention is to achieve several objectives, including toppling the coup, restoring Yemeni legitimacy, preventing security threats on the Saudi-Yemeni border, and limiting Iranian influence.
What happened after more than four years of fighting is that the coup was not dropped, the coup has become more powerful than ever, and not only this, a new coup has been produced in Aden, which has weakened legitimacy, but it can be said that it has completely eliminated it.
Second, unlike Saudi Arabia's statements on the first day of the war that it had stopped any military threat to its territory from Yemen, Saudi territory and facilities have become a constant target of the Houthis shelling, signaling a catastrophic failure and a clear military defeat.
The third goal is that Iran has become more powerful, so much, so that the UAE itself has begun talks and cooperation with the Iranians. Support for the coup in Aden is a moral fall to the world, and the political and military fall has happened before.
All of this happened because the coalition had an undeclared agenda and goals that it sought to undermine by detaching the Yemeni entity into fragmented states that the UAE and Saudi Arabia would share and then dominate. It seems that the coalition has achieved its undeclared agenda.
*Will the legitimate government in Yemen, in the future, look for new allies away from Saudi Arabia and the UAE?
- This is what any government that respects itself and its people should do, but this government is a crowd of cowards who sold their conscience for Saudi riyal.
*Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Ahmed al-Maisari, confirmed that the Yemeni government will not talk with the Southern Transitional Council and will not sit with them at the same dialogue table. Does this indicate the Yemeni government's rejection of an invitation from Saudi Arabia to participate in the dialogue in Jeddah"?
- Al-Maisari is one of the few legitimate leaders who said the word of truth and confronted the militias and raised their voice. The rest hear Saudi directives and keep quiet. But today the situation is different. We have widespread public anger over the treachery of the coalition. This constitutes support for legitimacy to hold onto a position that rejects dialogue with a coup militia that took control of the interim capital and expelled the legitimate government from it.
The Jeddah Dialogue is a Saudi approach that seeks to complete what the UAE has begun, and an attempt to legitimize Aden's coup, no more. Therefore, the dialogue with legitimacy will be employed to legitimize the dividing of Yemen. Legitimacy must refuse to engage in any dialogue before the withdrawal of UAE-backed coup militias from Aden and the handover of all weapons in its possession to the national army.
Those who still believe that Saudi Arabia will uphold legitimacy deceive themselves and fear the truth. The time has come to break free from the treacherous alliance; legitimacy will not be able to confront the coups (Houthi in Sana’a, transitional in Aden) if it does not rise up first against the Saudi tutelage, cut relations with the UAE and expel it from Yemen.
*Ahmed al-Maisari also said that "if there is a dialogue, it will be with the UAE, as the owner of the military tools and as the main party in the conflict"... How do you see this position?
- Yes, the dialogue must be with the UAE and not with its tools. The dialogue should be directed to its withdrawal from Yemen and to stop supporting any militias in Yemen with money or weapons.
A firm national political stance must be taken in this direction, not to compromise Yemeni sovereignty, unity and the legitimacy of the state. In case it [UAE] rejects, the choice of expelling it and confronting its militias must not be excepted, not to let down the national army, which proved to be able to extend its control in hours.
*President of the Southern Transitional Council, Aidaroos Al-Zubaidi, traveled to the city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, twice in less than two weeks... How do you see these visits? What are dimensions and results?
- It is in his interest to go to dialogue that does not require the prior withdrawal from all state institutions in Aden and the delivery of all weapons to the national army, because such a dialogue would be an acknowledgment of the coup and legitimize it.
*Will the southern separatists have an independent state of their own? Will they have the support of the Saudi alliance clearly and officially instead of supporting the government of Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi?
- The transitional council is not a political entity. It is merely militias formed by the UAE that gave them arms and money and weapons, they do what it [UAE] says and take positions accordingly, so we are in front of an attempt to separate parts of the country with the occupier tanks, money and weapons and pressure, such a miserable attempt has nothing to do with independence [as the STC claims]. It is dependence on an external enemy, so our people will reject it and drop it.
Yemen's unity and territorial integrity are protected by popular will and international legitimacy through more than ten international resolutions stipulating the need to preserve Yemen's unity and territorial integrity, as well as the outcome of a comprehensive national dialogue through which Yemenis unanimously agreed on the democratic federal system of the Republic of Yemen.
The Transitional Council militias are a group of provincials from three provinces that do not represent the whole south, and Salafi groups, led by Hani Bin Buraik. They have created the accumulated divisions and hatreds of their crimes, liquidations and massacres they committed according to the identity.
With their crimes and their workers, the UAE opens the door to fighting, divisions and sustainable wars both in the south and the whole Yemen.
The separation was not a failure, as it seems today, for the southerners themselves, the majority of whom do not support it. Southerners, northerners and Yemenis in all their orientations and aspirations are looking to the state and their interest in the unified and independent federal national state.
As for Saudi Arabia, it does not dare to support them directly and publicly. It has chosen guardianship over legitimacy and work to achieve its goals, which are the goals of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, through the use of legitimacy and impose full trusteeship. Our legitimacy is hijacked in Riyadh.
*Does the secession of the south and the fall of legitimacy mean the end of the role of the Saudi coalition?
- Sure. Saudi Arabia has said that it is fighting this war to overthrow the coup and support legitimacy, and thus, its support for the coup in Aden and the fall of legitimacy end its role.
But let me tell you that our people will drop any attempt to break up and divide them, and insistence on dividing them will bring serious consequences for the two countries of the coalition. The Yemenis will have to line up to defend their national entity, and the two countries will find themselves facing an unprecedented confrontation. They are now reeling in front of a small group of Yemenis. How can the Yemenis line up in their confrontations with their different formations and affiliations, which I do not wish, I do not want, but I expect and warn and warn the two countries against their insistence on the fragmentation and division of Yemen.
*Do you expect the Southern Transitional Council to declare a unilateral move towards secession and disengagement with northern Yemen?
- I don’t think so. These unilateral steps are illegal and will not be recognized by the world. The Yemenis will accept it and they will consider that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates behind such a step so their reaction will be against the two countries, not against their tools.
*Are the Houthis the only beneficiary from the coup in Aden, or are there other beneficiaries?
- It is true that the Houthis benefit from this coup. They declared that the coup of Aden confirms that they were right when they led their coup. But they are not the only party that takes advantage of the coup. I believe that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and their militias have also benefited, but it is a false advantage. The situation will soon change into a big loss for the two countries.
*Are the separatists clearly and officially supported by the Saudi alliance rather than the government of Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi?
- They now have unannounced Saudi blessing, but the announced [support] will come later.
*How did you follow the recent UAE-Saudi joint statement, which confirmed the unity of their stance on the events in southern Yemen, and their support for the truce, calling for dialogue between the parties to the conflict?
- I have not read this statement, and will not read it, because I am absolutely certain that these two rogue and treachery states are exchanging roles and complementing each other to implement one plan for the destruction and fragmentation of Yemen. They exchange domination, guardianship and control on Yemen. This is their true agenda and true goal behind their war on Yemen. The goals they announced, related to the restoration of legitimacy, were just a cover to sprinkle ash on the eyes. The Yemeni people will deal with them as a joint aggression and occupation, and everyone will resist them from his position.
*When will the legitimate government return to Aden? Do you expect that return to peace or war?
- This is first and foremost linked to a firm position on the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and liberating the legitimacy from Riyadh's abduction and guardianship of its political decision.
Yemenis will not abandon their homeland and will resist with full force the UAE occupation and Saudi tutelage. If the legitimacy leadership wants to save itself and regain its position in front of its people it should accomplish historical national tasks awaiting Yemen, it must leave its weakness and change its past performance.
*Some say that there are many officials whose pockets are with the legitimate government and their positions are with the Transitional Council…Is this accurate? Who is responsible for the continuation of these officials in their positions?
- Not many, but there are officials who play this dual role. The legitimacy has excessively applied quotas and favoritism, and randomly issued hundreds of appointment decisions that are unrelated to the state or law and not based on any standards.
Part of the disappointment with legitimacy is because of these appointments and the corruption behind them. Legitimacy lacks for leadership and attitude, and this has encouraged officials to exploit their positions to work on goals that are unrelated to legitimacy and the Yemeni state. Supporting the UAE militias or the coalition's anti-Yemeni goals from positions within legitimacy is a great treason.
*Yemeni Deputy Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdullah al-Hadrami called for the withdrawal of the southern transitional militias from positions they held in Aden before any dialogue. Do you expect this to happen?
- The statements of the Yemeni Deputy Foreign Minister, despite the low ceiling, make sense. The withdrawal and the delivery of weapons to the national army must take place before the dialogue, after which there is no objection to any dialogue away from dictation and the use of force and under the roof of the Republic of Yemen.
*Former US Ambassador to Yemen Barbara Bodine said that what we are witnessing today in southern Yemen is a civil war within a civil war.
- Perhaps Ambassador Bodine was referring to the regional dimension in the subject, so that the battle seemed to be between al-Dhale and Yafe on one hand, and between Abyan and Shabwa on the other.
Generally, when the national project is absent, small projects come up, and the transitional project is very small, just like the Houthi project, because it dwarfs Yemen and does not care about the aspirations of the Yemeni people throughout its long history, and denies the long course of struggles by the Yemeni national movement and both revolutions, the September 26 and October 14.
*Will recent developments pave the way for a political settlement to end the crisis, or will it further complicate the situation?
- Certainly will complicate the scene. We had a coup and now we have a second coup, and we may see a third coup. As long as there is a Saudi-led coalition with projects of domination and expansion, Yemen will remain a field of experiment for those stupid projects. But at the end the magic will turn against the magician and Saudi Arabia and the UAE will not be able to continue to tamper with our people and their unity for a long time.
* Kuwaiti intellectual Abdullah al-Nafisi warned of the consequences of the coup that took place in Aden, and the repetition of the same scenario in Taiz, controlled by the legitimate forces, will there be really a new coup in Taiz?
- Dr. Al-Nafisi seems to be right in his fears. Saudis and Emiratis will support further coups, and will fuel political and regional divisions. Taiz, Marib, and Hadramout provinces are expected to witness armed coups as well.
You must paralyze Yemen, this is the strategy of the Arab coalition, led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and talking about the strategy of peace by the UAE and Saudi Arabia is just misleading media.
But Yemen is bigger than them, and at the end, the game will come out of their hands. They will not be able to control it. Our people now feel that they are under threat against their existence and will do everything possible to face this threat and defeat it.
* Houthi group announced a freeze on its attacks against the UAE, after it said it had touched what it called positive indicators about Abu Dhabi's position on the war in Yemen, while the group continues its attacks on Saudi Arabia without stopping… How do you see this development in the relationship between the Houthis and the UAE? What is the reason for Abu Dhabi to appease the Houthis and Iran?
- The UAE feared that it would be hit by Houthi missiles and drones, like Saudi Arabia and the serious consequences for the UAE economy. It is a glass country that cannot bear attacks with drones and cruise missiles like Saudi Arabia. This was not just a fear but it received a threat from the Houthis and the Iranians through intermediaries, it announced that it would withdraw from Yemen, and in return, Houthi announced that they would not bomb it.
Perhaps the Houthis have changed their strategy slightly towards the UAE. They will simply withdraw from confronting them from the northern governorates and staying temporarily in the south until they weaken the legitimacy and overthrow it in coups in all southern provinces.
It can be said that there is a service exchange between them. The Houthis benefit from the policy of the UAE to weaken the legitimacy, and the UAE benefits from the Houthis in splitting Yemen and adopt positions against Muslim Brotherhood. I do not rule out that some sort of settlement between the two parties has happened, especially in light of the current communication between them.
* What is the nature of relationship between the southern separatists and the Houthis?
- Both parties have the same enemy, and want to rule Yemen or part of it by force. Both are coups and rebellious, but the difference is that Houthi turned to power to rule Yemen in a comprehensive way by force and oppression, while the coup of militias in Aden, supported by the UAE, is against the Yemeni state in order to divide them into states.
They currently have a common interest in the elimination of legitimacy, but later confrontation will occur between them. The Houthi seeks to rule Yemen, and will not accept any separation of parts of it.
If we assume that the Yemeni arena is devoid of other forces, and this is not true, there are legitimate forces supported by the National Army and the Popular Resistance and almost all political parties, and has a project contrary to the separatist and Houthi projects that aimed at governing Yemen by force and oppression.
* How do you see some call for Islah to stay away from the scene so as not to give any justification or argument to anyone? What are the implications of recent developments on Islah?
- The target is Yemen, its unity and its existence, not just the Islah party. The Houthi coup in Sana'a was carried out under the pretext of curtailing Islah and the phobia of Islah. The coup of Aden also plays the same symphony.
Undermining legitimacy and preventing it from returning to liberated areas is justified by the fear of the Muslim Brotherhood's control, but they target the country as a whole and the project of the peaceful revolution that is represented by the outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference, not only the Islah party.
The Islah Party is a Yemeni political party that has been active in accordance with the Constitution and the law since its establishment 29 years ago. It is a national party with a presence in all parts of Yemen in the north, south, east and west. It is a main force within the legitimacy and politically works in harmony with the legitimacy’s national goals. Threatening to eliminate Islah means the eliminating of the political life and pluralism, which was one of the most important gains of Yemeni unity in 22 May 1990.
This is a reflection of the party's dependence on Saudi leadership and its reluctance to do anything to liberate the Yemeni decision from Saudi custody as a necessary first step to protect Yemen from the coalition's sinister agenda. Islah as a big party, which includes thousands of people, represents a good source of human resources for the legitimacy, but is has old leadership that is restricted in Riyadh and cannot express the party's aspirations, dreams and great sacrifices.
*How do you assess the positions of the international community and the United Nations on the recent developments in Yemen?
- The international community has a clear and public position, and its international resolutions are well known. It supports Yemen's unity, security and stability.
*In your opinion, who is responsible for the situation in Yemen?
- Many, the Houthi militia, and the ousted Saleh, who led a coup against the outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference and the draft federal constitution; the legitimacy that has sunk in corruption and irresponsibility and has become a tool in the hands of foreigners to destroy the country; and the Arab coalition, led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which took advantage of the need of Yemenis, and it dismantled Yemen more than what the coup did. Our problem in Yemen is that local and foreign killers and bastards gathered at one time to target us.
But my confidence in our people and their ability is endless. There are no dangers and challenges that we cannot overcome and ultimately overcome.
*What will the situation be in Yemen later?
- The Saudi-Emirati conspiracy continues. Weapons are still flowing to the port of Aden, to the hands of the Transitional Council and popular pressure on the legitimacy to wake up and get rid of the Saudi tutelage if it wants to be legitimacy. There is no way but to liberate from the Saudi tutelage, to expel the small Emirati occupation and resist the conspiracy to break up the country, and later to topple the coup in Sanaa through dialogue or through the National Army and the overwhelming popular will. Even if the Houthis insist to rule the country by force and oppressing, I am optimistic that Yemenis gave up war and that they will make a decent peace that will build the Yemeni state and achieve all that have been agreed to.
*What is the future of legitimacy? How strong or weak is it?
- Legitimacy is strong, even if it seems tied in Riyadh, but legitimacy is a principle and not people. It is a project that we have agreed on with all its details in the comprehensive national dialogue conference.
We were only a few weeks away from the referendum on the new constitution, which was drafted according to the outcome of the dialogue and then the holding of various elections accordingly, but it was the coup that delayed the completion of those steps, and later the war that went far in hitting the chances of restoring the legitimacy and the coalition states wanted to achieve their own projects.
I can say that the Yemeni legitimacy as a project and principle enjoys the consensus of the people and the rally of many forces. This is the national project that will be successful and victory at the end.
The Yemeni legitimacy, which the Yemenis uphold and defend against anyone who tries to undermine, is not people. The legitimacy is principles, tasks and entitlements that the Yemenis agree to. Whoever was against it and renounced it is illegal, even if Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, and who stood with it and defended it is legitimate, even if Hani ibn Buraik and Aidaroos al-Zubaidi.
Yemen is insurmountable to division, insurmountable to occupation, insurmountable to be ruled by force and oppression. These kingdoms and emirates will sink between the feet of our great people and their pure land. They don't know Yemen.
There is a general feeling that the national dignity for Yemenis is harmed. This big Yemeni anger will make all foreign bets fail about the fragmentation of Yemen and its distribution between colonialism states and that Houthi will rule by force and oppression. Either Yemen be or will not remain a state in the Arabian Peninsula. This is not what we want or wish of course, but it will be the result of their attempts to tamper with Yemen in such a devastating way.
The future of Yemen depends on the ability of the Yemenis to produce an authority that expresses their will and how determined they are to resist foreign schemes. But what I am sure of is that Saudi Arabia and the UAE will pay the price for this betrayal, this treachery against the Yemeni people.
At the end, the mountains are more established than the glass towers, and Yemen is the largest stone in the Arabian Peninsula, and harming it will harm the region in general.