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|Geographic fragmentation of Yemen||| Print ||
Bismillah Al-Rahman Al-Raheem
Question and AnswersYemen is heading towards geographic fragmentation. Saudi Arabia’s intervention in the fight against the Houthi rebels was designed to prevent the rise of a sectarian emirate alongside her borders with Yemen, due to her fears from the impact of such a development on the domestic situation, especially the eastern region of the country where many of its inhabitants embrace the Jaafari school of thought. However, Saudi Arabia is not averse to Yemen’s fragmentation on a geographic basis and she is even prepared to shore up such a move especially as a united Yemen has always been a source of anxiety for the Saudi dynasty. As for your question concerning the reason behind dislodging the villages neighbouring the Yemeni borders, this is because some villagers have either tribal or sectarian ties or both with Yemen; hence they were displaced as the Saudi intervention in the conflict between the Yemini army and the Houthi rebels broke out. The villages in question had been originally part of Yemeni territory but were later transferred to Saudi Arabia during the rule of Imam Hamiduddine following an agreement concluded in al-Taif in 1934. The length of the agreement was initially 20 years, renewable. It stipulated that prior to the expiry of the agreement, a six-month notice should be given by either of the two parties wishing to renew or amend the terms of agreement. Article 22 of the agreement stipulates: “the agreement may be either renewed or amended within the six months preceding its expiry; otherwise, it remains in force until either party notifies the other party of its intention to amend the terms of the agreement.”
Saudi Arabia has been instrumental in engrossing Yemen in domestic debacles in order to avert its threat, which has always been a constant source of concern. And to keep the 1934 Taif agreement in force, Riyadh has resorted to preoccupying Yemen with domestic strife or threatening to suspend aid. It seems that the drawing of the borders in 2006, which failed to fulfil the aspirations of certain parties in Yemen, coupled with Yemen’s constant need for Saudi Arabia’s economic aid and labour markets, and Saudi Arabia’s persistence in stirring up trouble in Yemen, all this helped Saudi Arabia in consolidating the annexation of the lands that had historically belonged to Yemen according to colonial partitioning of the Muslims’ lands.
Hence the fierce Saudi intervention against the Houthis to prevent them from establishing a sectarian emirate and the contact between the Houthis and the southern separatists’ movement, whose demands are likely to yield a federation in Southern Yemen. All this indicates, especially after the truce that came into effect on 12 February 2010, that the Houthis would accept the federal solution, instead of a sectarian emirate, and the fulfillment of their other demands, including the removal of the injustice that has been blighting their regions.