Yemen – 14 April 2019: Since the establishment of the Unity State in Yemen on 22 May 1990, parties and groups have played an important role in the political scene. The num-ber of political parties and organizations that declared themselves in the first years of the democratic experiment was more than 46 political parties and organizations. Yet, the most influential parties in Yemen's political arena now are the "Islah" (Reform), Nasserism, Socialism and the General People's Congress.
It is noteworthy that the parties before 1990 were active in secrecy, fearing security pursuits, as a result of this the Popular Congress Party in the northern part of it and the Yemeni Socialist Party in the southern part of Yemen, where the party was forbidden and Has been criminalized at the time.
At the beginning of our observation of the Yemeni political scene at the present time, we had a meeting with Dr. Nashwan Naji Nashwan, a political researcher, who said that the transi-tion from secrecy to public life in political work and the establishment of pluralism at the beginning of the unification phase in Yemen was not the result of smooth democratic accu-mulation. It was a principle at the time that "democracy has been achieved unity and the achievement of unity came democracy."
He added that the many stages of change that Yemen have passed through affected the par-ties in the political scene, some of them have played a role in the coup, some of them led the post- Houthi coup period. Actually, the number of organizations and political parties that de-clared themselves in the early years of the democratic experience was more than «46» Polit-ical party and organization, encompassing all national, leftist and centrist ideological trends.
According to Dr. Nashwan, the map of parties and political organizations were rearranged; some of them existed prior to the announcement of the re-unification. their number are 12, namely the General People's Congress, the Socialist Party of Yemen, the Arab National Baath Party, the Iraqi Wing, the Baath Party, The Syrian Wing, the Nasserist Unionist Or-ganization, the Muslim Brotherhood, the National Democratic Front, the Sons of the South Party "were active abroad", the Nasserist revolutionary Organization, the Popular Forces Union "was active abroad", the Right Union Rally "was active abroad", and the People's Or-ganization of the Revolutionary Forces of the Front Liberation «was active abroad».
The political researcher Dr. Nashwan Naji pointed out that there are new national organiza-tions that were formed during the period of the re-unification of Yemen. Their number is 14 including the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party, the Unionist Union, the Sovereign Organization, the Liberal Party, The right-wing Shura Party, the Liberation Front Party, the Guard of Unity Party, the Republican Party, the Free Manbar Party, the United Democratic Front, the Revo-lutionary Correction Front, the Yemeni Girl Party.
There are four Nasserist organizations, which split from the Nasserist trend; Progressive Popular Organization Nasseri, the organization of Nasserite hawks, the Nasserist factions, Nasserist Democratic Party.
There are also eight Yemeni parties formed after the announcement of the Yemeni reunifica-tion, namely the Yemeni Reform Party, Al-Haq Party, the Sunni Al-Muhammadiyah Groups, the Yemeni Al-Nahda Organization, the Islamic Labor Party, the Islamic Union Party and the Popular Front for Salvation.
He stressed that the first year of the unity was characterized by a strong rush towards the formation of political parties and organizations, because of the flexibility of the law at the time, which allowed anyone who wants to establish a party to do. Whereas the law provides for each Yemeni group organized on the basis of common principles and objectives in ac-cordance with constitutional legitimacy, to practice its activities in a peaceful and democratic way, with the aim of peacefully rotating or participating in power, but in the following peri-ods and until 2015, the number of active parties decreased to 22 parties even before the coup.
As for the period before 2011, we were told by the Yemeni political expert Mohammed Jameh that the parties became just the General People's Congress and the opposition, the joint meeting which included the Nasserite Rally, the Socialist Unionist, the Reform and the Union of Popular Forces. in March 2015, after war,the Reform Party became a mixture of Islamists and tribes in support of legitimacy, and joined part of the General People's Con-gress of President Abdurbo Mansour, as the President of the Conference after the martyrdom of Saleh, as for the Right Party and the popular forces, they supported Houthis.
"After the events of December 2017 and the separation of Abdullah Saleh from the Houthis and then his death, a large part joined to support the legitimacy, and some took a middle po-sition, and became part of the Congress Party, wrapped around Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh, On the other hand, the Houthis forced the leaders of the conference in Sana'a to remain in the Supreme Political Council, which was formed between the Congress Party and the Houthis before the death of Saleh.
On the other hand, there was a split in the legitimacy camp, where the Southern Transitional Council was formed, headed by Aidros al-Zubadi, who wants to re-divide the north and the south. Consequently, the southern forces that still support the legitimacy had to form a new coalition to support the legitimacy. it was named the National Southern Coalition with the aim of supporting the legitimacy, The coalition and the federal state, which includes six administrative regions.
As for what is happening now inside the General People's Congress, we met with Saud al-Yousufi, deputy chairman of the General People's Congress Party, a member of the Standing Committee in Marib province, who confirmed to the «seventh day» that the party is now reuniting and forming a collective leadership according to the internal system, pointing out that the members of the Standing Committee are 1,200 members, while the General Committee are 28 members, and the total membership of 6,300 members, and its members are increasing, especially after the assassination of Ali Abdullah Saleh, and the number of detainees held by the Houthis are 1,721 members.
"Most of the General People's Congress supports Abed Rabbo Mansour and Ahmad Ali Ab-dullah Salih from the party leadership," al-Yousufi said. "He is entitled to stand as a candi-date in the elections, but according to the regulations, the deputy is the one who is president. The situation applies to President Abd Rabo Mansour.
As for the procedures to be followed in the party, Al-Yousufi said, the General Committee must be held in the presence of 28 members. It will be a preparatory committee and its meeting will be held in Cairo or Riyadh. The elections will be held through the Permanent Committee, which will elect the Secretary-General. The president needs to hold the party's eighth general conference in the presence of all party leaders, and hold direct free elections, but this is difficult now.
As for the future of negotiations held in Amman, Riyadh and the UAE concerning the party, Al-Yousufi stressed that the leaders are on the basis of unifying the party. We expect within two months and according to the rules of the internal system there will be a restructuring of this party. This will have a positive effect on the war fronts. And there are military leaders who are encouraged to join the army again, as well as the elders of the tribes and the sur-rounding areas in Sana'a will join us, and there are some of them joined the legitimacy re-cently and officers of the guard against Abdullah Saleh and leaders of the second row joined the legitimacy.
Ahmed Ali Meftah, head of the youth sector in the General People's Congress Party, said that youth represent 60% of the members and leaders, and we count on them very much in as-sembling the party in the coming period.
The Yemeni Tagammu Party for reform or "Reform Party" is one of the influential parties in the Yemeni political scene, both before and after the coup. There has been a lot of debate over the nature of its relation with the Brotherhood, which was denied by Adnan al-Adini, deputy head of the party's cultural and media department. An entity called Muslim Brothers, and we have already confirmed that reform is a Yemeni party and has no administrative rela-tionship with any organization outside the country, including the Muslim Brotherhood.
Adnan al-Adaini said that the Yemeni reform group is present in every governorate and is still strong in its presence. It is the most important pillar of Yemeni political legitimacy and the political force that stands with all its social strength in facing the coup project. It plays this role in its entire organizational structure and leadership bodies, which have not been di-vided on this issue but united behind a historic decision that rejects the coup and supports the legitimacy and demands of the Yemeni state.
On what is said that «Reform» had a hand in support of the coup, indirectly, through the opening of squares and fields for the Houthis, Adnan stressed that this accusation is com-pletely false, because the squares are not owned by the Reform, it has just been there like other parties. furthermore, Houthis attended a tent, while there was a strong military cooper-ation between Saleh and al-Houthi, how then to cooperate with his allies against it!
As for the party's vision for the future of Yemen, Al-Adaini said: "We believe that no one is able to monopolize the government in Yemen in the short and medium term. The country needs a political action formula that is formulated and implemented by the Yemeni political spectrum without exception.
On the role of Egypt in the war in Yemen, the deputy head of the cultural and media depart-ment of the Islah Party said that it is important for Egypt to play a role in restoring stability in the region and for the interest of Arab national security. As for Yemen, its security is linked to security in Egypt.
As for the role of the General People's Congress Party, al-Idaini stressed that it is an im-portant party and its return to work will serve the political process. In the reform, we hope that it will resume its activity with full national strength and serve the restoration of the state, defeat the coup and strengthen political legitimacy that will protect us from fragmentation. In addition to establishing state organizations on national foundations and confronting poverty and terrorism, challenges that require a comprehensive national vision to deal with them.
As for the future formation of the party map in Yemen, al-'Adini said: No one can talk in de-tail about this map until the first elections are held. The electorate is the one who determines the weights of the political forces and the weight of each party and its size.
The Nasserist Popular Unity Organization is the "Nasserist Party" is considered one of the important parties in Yemen, along with the General People's Congress, Socialism and Re-form. The role of this party in the political scene in Yemen was discussed by Dr. Abdullah Dahan, Deputy Minister of Health and member of the General Secretariat of the Organiza-tion. He said that the party's role in the pre-coup and the Houthi war was a prominent and in-fluential one. As well as the National Council for the Revolution and Peaceful Change, which was formed in 2011 as a result of the peaceful youth movement, as well as commit-ment to what was agreed upon and signed within the framework of the Gulf initiative and its executive mechanism, and participated actively in the national reconciliation government through its sole representative, and in implementation of what attached to the terms of the Gulf initiative in the election of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.
Dr. Abdullah Dahan, member of the General Secretariat of the Popular Unity Organization Nasseri said that the party also participated in the comprehensive national dialogue confer-ence to reach the completion of the document of the outputs of the national dialogue, which has become one of the most important documents of the political process in the country. The dialogue conference and its aftermath emphasizes its adherence to the principle of partner-ship and consensus among different parties and the rejection of the use of force and violence or the imposition of positions with the force of arms from any party.
The Nasserite Party was the first to work on finding solutions and solutions through its fa-mous initiative on August 20, 2014, which was widely welcomed by various parties to pre-vent deterioration of the situation and spare the country in general and the capital Sana'a cat-astrophic disasters that threaten people's lives and risks the entire political process.
In the aftermath of the war, Dr. Abdullah Dahan said that the Nasserite Party, whose stated and known positions were known to all Yemeni political components, was to support and uphold the constitutional legitimacy of the President and the legitimate government to com-plete the tasks of the transitional phase and complete the process of political settlement.
One of the active parties in Yemen is also the Yemeni Socialist Party. Asaad Omar, a mem-ber of the party's Central Committee, said: After the war, the party suffered a lot of blows through the series of practices committed by the victorious party in the war. Its headquarters were confiscated, and the formation of a coalition alliance between the opposition parties, which included the parties of the Nasserist organization, the Baath Party, the Union of Popu-lar Forces and the Haq Party. After the breakup of the partnership between the two par-ties,the party contributed to the establishment of a new alliance between the parties of the Coordination and Reform Council known as the Joint Meeting Alliance, which represented a unique experience not only at the level of Yemen but also at the level of the region. The par-ty paid a great price for that by the assassination of the Secretary General of the Party Martyr Jarallah Omar who was assassinated as a result of the danger that President Saleh and his re-gime felt from the success of the idea of a joint meeting.
Asad Omar, Secretary General of the Yemeni Socialist Party, Dr. Abdulrahman Omar Al-Saqqaf, called for the rapid formation of the National Caucus of Parties, which had been initiated to be prepared in Riyadh by the parties supporting the legitimacy under the auspices of the President of the Republic Abd Rabo Mansour and the coalition supporting legitimacy.
As one of those who were assigned by the party leadership to participate in the preparation of this alliance, I am sure that the party is keen on this alliance, which is supposed to include forces and parties wider than the joint meeting as a national framework based on a vision that meets the needs of the moment and reserve for the parties their status and its political role as one of the components of constitutional legitimacy and consensus.
We have been able to complete the documents of the coalition represented by the political document, the executive program and the regulations, and were signed by the secretaries of the public. We then have the task of publicizing the alliance, which we do not see as pre-venting this for any reason. We can advertise it from any liberated spot in the country. The present moment and the next stage of its requirements impose on everyone urgent action to achieve this framework. It will be the most important instrument of legitimacy to fulfill its leadership and supporting alliance. The most prominent parties involved in the preparation of this alliance alongside the Socialists are the Yemeni Rally for Reform, the General People's Congress, the Nasserist Unity Organization, the Southern Movement, the Renaissance Movement for Change, the Justice and Building Party, the Union of Popular Forces Party and the National Solidarity Party. The atmosphere is opened for other parties and political forces.
To understand more about this matter, we sat down with Acting Minister of Defense, Mohamed Ali al-Maqdashi, who told us, “We have restored 85% of the country's territory. ... We liberated 16 provinces from 22 and we are progressing on all fronts.”
"The national army of 170 thousand soldiers and their leaders received training in Egypt and we never forget Nasser's role in freeing us from 'darkness of the Imamate'," he continued.
In the area of Major General 14 in the courtyard of the homeland in the province of Marib in Yemen, where the headquarters of the coalition forces in support of legitimacy, we met with the team Mohammed Ali al-Maqdashi, Acting Minister of Defense of Yemen, in light of the fate of the Minister of Defense Subyhi is still unknown since his abduction by the Houthis in 2015. Al-Maqdashi, confirmed that the Yemeni army is now in the stage of reconstruction, after it was one of the strongest Arab armies, before being subjected to internal betrayals led to his handover and most of his equipment to the Houthis.
He also praised the Egyptian army strength, pointing out that most of the leaders of the Yemeni army received training in Egypt, That the number of the Yemeni army is 170 thousands, Which is fairly enough to overcome the difficult stage our country going through. he emphasized that 16 16 provinces have been liberated within 22 governorates, he also talked about the situation of military areas of engagement, and the role of the alliance of legitimate support in the war waged by Yemen forces.
Here is the interview:
At first would you brief us on the current situation of the Yemeni army?
The National Army is still undergoing a reconstruction phase. We first worked on rebuilding new cadres instead of the ones we lost before. We started the organizational preparations for the construction of the military units and we started preparing the military units. We are working within the operational division of the army, in this context, we have reconstituted the military units.
In the reconstruction phase, Egypt played a large role. A number of our soldiers were trained in the Egyptian colleges and institutes. The Yemeni officers were rehabilitated. Our army recovered 80% of its strength and size. As for the equipments, only 20% were prepared, in-cluding a part not taken by the Houthis in the first and second regions , And the Yemeni ar-my was one of the strongest Arab armies in terms of cadres and gear, and we had sophisti-cated weapons such as the modern tanks 82 and 72, and it was not to fall but betrayals that occurred from weak souls, and today we are in a good stage but continue to strengthen .. Today our army size is 170 thousand soldiers, and that is enough to go beyond the stage for a war with the Houthis.
What about the situation at military confrontations?
The army is progressing in all areas of engagement. The number of liberated governorates reached 16 governorates out of a total of 22 Yemeni governorates, as we have control over 85%. The army also made progress in the places where fighting has been fought so far, most importantly In Hodeidah. The Yemeni army reached Haith northwest of the Mukha, on the west coast, ie, on the outskirts of Hodeidah, That is, we are on the outskirts of Hodeidah, and we all know that it is the province, which represents the lifeline of the Houthis, to have the port of Hodeidah, through which they get the various supplies of food and armament. actu-ally, all smuggling to Iran through the port of Hodeidah, especially after they left Aden.
Also in Nhm we reached the outskirts of the most important Directorate in Sana'a, and access to it means a great victory, and the front of Sarawah also has significant developments, the fronts in Taiz, conditions have become much better because the popular resistance there is large, and we controlled the majority of directorates there.
We are also advanced in the battles of Saada, a stronghold of the Houthis, and on the out-skirts of Sanaa. In Hodeidah, the forces are advanced in the coast, and also in Baidah, and the time is approaching to resolve all these battles.
How do you describe the relationship between the Egyptian and Yemeni armies?
At the beginning, I would like to point out that the Yemeni army is a copy of the Egyptian army and we are all leaders who graduated by the leaders of the Egyptian army. The military colleges assisted in the rehabilitation of the Yemeni officers and the leader Gamal Abdel Nasser managed to get us out of the darkness of the imamate. The Republican regime in 1962, and hundreds of martyrs of the Egyptians and continued the Egyptian army here in Yemen until the year 1967, and played during this period a large role in many areas of Yemen.
What is the role of the coalition forces in general and Egypt in particular in the battle of Yemen? Egypt is part of the coalition forces supporting the legitimacy, in addition to the humanitari-an side, but the Egyptian forces have no presence on the ground in the battle.
The role of the coalition led by Saudi Arabia is to recover 85% of the Yemeni land that was in the hands of the Houthis. The coalition was able to rescue Yemen from those who tried to eradicate it after the Houthis, with the support of the late President Ali Abdullah Saleh's forces, seized all its equipments and weapons. So they entered the markets of Marib, even if Marib fell, the entire areas would have been seized by the Houthis.
When King Salman led the Decisive Storm war, he was able to prove to the world that there is still an Arab nation and that the battle is continuing and Yemen will remain, before it, the Yemeni army was completely collapsed and the people were under the control of Houthi. We started the process of rebuilding the army again in 2015 and the possibilities were limited. The president appointed a new army leadership. The members of the military units were called. In other words, we started the restructuring of the army. There was great cooperation from the UAE to liberate Aden as a first step to liberate Yemen as a whole. Yemen, with the coalition air support, and the resistance could only free Aden, Dali, Lahj and Abyan, and then we integrated the resistance into the army, now our situation is much better and the end of the battles is coming soon.
What is the most important battles currently taking place in Yemen?
One of the important battles Front is Sarawah in the direction of Marib, which is still in place and the battles of the Front «Nahm» of Sanaa and the army controlled large areas of them, despite the difficult terrain of the region. Now our soldiers reached the outskirts of the Di-rectorate of Arhab of Sanaa and the arrival of the National Army to this Directorate will be a major gain for the benefit of Legitimacy; Sana'a Airport on the outskirts of Arhabe as it leads us to the heart of the capital and easy to defeat the secretariat of the capital, and we will win the solidarity and support of the tribes.
Taiz is also one of the important battles, although the situation is better than before because there is no complete control as before, and the supply now reach the people and most im-portantly, the popular resistance continues and we insist on the continuation of the resistance, we are working through several axes of resistance and the army and the coalition.
What is the role of Iran in Yemen and the Arab region as a whole?
Iran was the main supporter of the Houthis, and Iranian ships and missiles were seized on Saudi Arabia. The missiles in the Yemeni army were limited in range. Iran supported the Houthis with missiles with a range of 1,000 kilometers. Immediately after the coup,
Some accuse the coalition forces that their strikes fall civilians… How true is that? War is always subject to mistakes, and even American forces in their wars did not avoid mistakes, but for the coalition are very few mistakes and the alliance is keen not to approach areas with civilians, and has a list of areas that are forbidden to approach, and is committed to this list.
We have noticed the spread of weapons on the Yemeni street. How can we control the proliferation of weapons that act as a threat to security?
This is a big and old problem. We have a plan to control and eliminate it, but our priorities are to end the battle with the Houthis and eliminate terrorism. But the Yemeni people are less dangerous than others in using weapons.
"Al-Qaeda" was rooted in some areas in Yemen; how much is the size of the current presence and do you have a plan to eliminate the remnants?
Al-Qaeda exists but in a limited a few numbers is not as it was in the past. It has no fixed place. If its members feel the presence of the army, it will move from one place to another without a stable stronghold, and it will end with the end of the Houthis because Shiite ex-tremism creates Sunni extremism.
What is the relationship between you and the forces of Ali Abdullah Saleh?
We were all in the national army under Abdullah Saleh, but when he allied with the Houthis, we rejected his approach, and now we have with us in the army a large number of his former forces, and we have no objection to cooperating with any of his family as long as they are subject to legitimacy.
This article is part of a series of articles on Yemen by Eman Hannah. Hannah has taken a 30-day trip to monitor Houthi crimes, the suffering of the people and the role of the coalition forces in restoring the Arab country from the hands of Iran's allies, documents revealing Houthi plan to spread the Shiite ideology, the mandate of the Faqih, and change the curriculum.