The southern issue in the document of the Dialogue Conference.. Expiration or need for updating?

English - Saturday 27 May 2023 الساعة 10:59 am
Aden, NewsYemen, exclusive:

The National Dialogue Document (2013-2014) is still one of the three references that the legitimate government adheres to, represented by the Presidential Leadership Council and the parties and components opposed to the Houthi group. The last mention of this document was mentioned in the final statement of the 32nd Arab Summit held recently in the Saudi city of Jeddah, as it was mentioned in the speech of the President of the Presidential Leadership Council, Rashad Al-Alimi, on the occasion of the 33rd anniversary of Yemeni unity.

When the war in Yemen expanded following the Houthi militia's coup against the legitimate authority and its tightening of control over Sana'a in January 2015, there were four reports of the National Dialogue Conference teams that were not agreed upon, namely: state-building, army-building, the southern issue and transitional justice.

Among the nine issues dealt with by the National Dialogue Conference in Sana'a, the southern issue was the most intertwined of all issues, from the issue of "state building" to the issue of "transitional justice". It was an issue that imposed itself by virtue of its national weight and multiplicity of dimensions, but the political elites in the north in the post-2011 period were not much different from those that preceded them since the 1994 war and its aftermath. Rather, they were often the same faces and leaders.

Today, and after ten years of extensive and heated discussions at the National Dialogue Conference in Sana'a, the southern issue continues to impose itself with new dimensions. In addition to the renewed old dimensions. The demand to "restore the southern state" has become a broader title today than it was when the political forces were discussing options to reach a federal formula for a unitary state consisting of several regions. In addition, nearly a third of the geography of the Unity State has become in the grip of the Houthi militia, an area that includes most of the geography of the North State before the unification. What is left of the unified Yemen that was being talked about rebuilding its federal state? This question leads to another question, with the recent return of the National Dialogue Conference document in the context of the statement of the Arab summit in Jeddah and the speech of President Al-Alimi: Is there still anything in the National Dialogue document that can be built upon to reach just solutions to the southern issue according to the data of the events of the past ten years?

The content of the southern issue in the dialogue document

The report of the southern issue in the National Dialogue Outcomes Document consisted of only 15 pages. However, the team’s discussions dealt with several stations in the roots and content of the issue, and its members extracted a vision of the roots, content and recommendations based on a questionnaire that they directed to a number of members of other teams. It was remarkable in the report of the Southern Case Team that it included in its plan a field visit to collect insights on the issue from among the people, specialists and affected people, but there were obstacles to the field visit, as stated in the report. In sum, the team concluded that the roots and content of the southern issue have five dimensions: political, legal, economic, cultural and social.

The majority of visions considered that the beginning of the emergence of the southern issue was the war of 1994, and what happened after it in terms of "the abolition of the political partnership of the south and the curtailment of its position, status and presence in the political equation, and the accompanying practices and mistakes."

The following items were therefore dealt with:

- "The Yemeni unity is an agreement between two states that were political parties in the north and the south, but the absurd and wrong practices that occurred during the last period since the establishment of the unity and the takfiri fatwas created a complete conviction among a large number of southerners that the peaceful unity is undermining, and that their position is within the framework of the unit state politically and economically." Socially, culturally, militarily, and in terms of security, it was destroyed and killed.”

-The reality of war, wrong practices, and exclusions have stimulated and rooted feelings that reject the prevailing reality, leading to the launch of the peaceful southern popular movement with all its components on 7/7/2007, as a comprehensive, peaceful, militant popular movement that supports the southern cause after it aborted the peaceful unity and its renaissance project based on integration and partnership in formulating A better future with its broad and broad horizons, especially since the effects of the summer war of 1994 were not dealt with on the various levels of life, political, subsistence and service.

In the legal dimension, the document stated that one of the roots of the southern issue was "the lack of clarity of the political foundations and mechanisms on which the project of the integrative unity state was based in 1990, which was carried out quickly and immediately, in an unscientific manner and with unclear features for the future of the people of the two states," in addition to 12 other items. Most notably:

- Failure to fully accomplish the tasks of the transitional period specified for three years in accordance with the declaration of the unity agreement.

- The 1993 elections did not fulfill the partnership between the south and the north, as the electoral division of electoral districts was based on the population side and not on the geographical side, as the elections were held on the individual district in accordance with the constitution that was questioned.

- After the summer war of 1994 AD, unity turned from partnership to individual rule, and thousands of civil, military, security, and southern diplomats were forcibly expelled and demobilized, in violation of the constitution of the unity state.

- Exclusion, marginalization and violation of the principle of equal citizenship.

- Many martyrs and wounded, and the arrest of large numbers of participants in peaceful protests and sit-ins, including the enforced disappearance of some of them for periods, and some of them were subjected to torture and inhumane treatment by the various security services, which are inconsistent with the constitution, charters, laws and international instruments signed by the state.

 - The low level of acceptance of southerners in military and security colleges and academies (military, air force and aviation, police college and military academies).

- Arrests and prosecutions of political activists and activists of the southern peaceful popular movement, stopping arbitrary salaries (wages/pensions) of some of them, and adopting a repressive approach in confronting the southern peaceful protest activities.

- Not arranging the conditions of thousands of military, security and civilian cadres after their return in later years after the 1994 war and depriving them of some of their legal rights.

As for the economic dimension, the most important points were:

- Liquidation of most companies and public sector establishments under the name of privatization, dismissal of their employees and transferring them to the Civil Service Fund.

-Disbursing state farms to officials and influential people, and laying off workers and beneficiaries.

-Granting privileges to those close to the post-94 regime in the oil exploration sector.

- Giving most of the oil services contracts sub-awarded to service companies owned by some senior officials and influential people under direct guidance and without opening the door to competition.

- Imposing royalties on companies operating in the oil sector that some military commanders collect under the name of security protection.

- Tampering with the fish wealth by commercial companies owned by influential people by using illegal fishing methods.

- Disbursing large areas of land in the southern governorates, especially in the city of Aden, under the name of investment projects, which have proven to be fake, as they have not been implemented.

- Disbursing most of the outlets, especially those located on beaches and marine parks, to some officials and influential people, and depriving the city of Aden of its most important tourism components.

With regard to the cultural and social dimension, the report of the Southern Issue Team stipulated in the dialogue document 16 items, the most prominent of which are:

- The state of exclusion, marginalization, treachery, and takfir that managed the conflict between Yemenis and its basis was the authoritarian conflict, taking the ideological and intellectual difference as a justification, whether after the establishment of the republican system in the two parts or after the establishment of unity, which caused a major rift in Yemeni society.

- The inability to absorb cultural and social diversity, which resulted in a deep-rooted national crisis.

- Glorifying the culture of wars and ruling by military force.

- Ignoring the social differences between the two countries and not accepting them and contempt for them by the victors in the 1994 war towards the vanquished, and limiting the freedom of southerners from the social and cultural expression of themselves.

- The decline in the role of women and the elimination of their social, cultural and political achievements and gains.

- The arrogance of the victorious powers in the 1994 war led to a growing feeling among southerners that they were practices of domination and control. At the same time, a culture of mutual superiority grew among the Yemenis, which reinforced fragmentation in the social fabric.

 - Looting a lot of antiquities, historical manuscripts and artifacts, and smuggling items from national museums in the south because of the war of 94 AD.

- Changing the names of some streets, schools, residential neighborhoods, public squares, camps, and important vital facilities, and replacing them with new names from outside the collective memory of the south, in line with the post-war period.

- Changing the historical name of Aden on its TV, transferring its cultural, artistic and documentary archives, and transforming media institutions in the south into branches.

- Working to revive the culture of tribal feuds and regional strife, flooding the markets with weapons and allowing their proliferation, and the deliberate absence of laws, which led to the generalization of chaos and the dismantling of the southern social fabric.

- The noticeable deterioration in the educational and health services that citizens in the south used to enjoy free of charge.

Constitutional principles

The report of the southern issue team included 14 constitutional principles that stipulated immediate and non-delayed solutions to the items mentioned under the title "The Roots and Content of the Southern Issue". Including the 20 and 11 points necessary to build confidence, which sparked political controversy during that period and not all of them were implemented. The report also stipulated the need to study the options for the federal administrative division of the federal state between the two options proposed at the time: 4 regions in the north and 2 in the south. The second option was the option of the two regions, which the Yemeni Socialist Party was at the head of its demands.

See the components of the southern movement

By comparing the size of the report on the southern issue in the dialogue document with the vision presented by the representatives of the peaceful southern movement at the conference, it appears that this vision has been reduced in an unsatisfactory manner to the southerners.

The vision of the components of the Southern Movement participating in that dialogue consisted of a main document consisting of 59 pages, in addition to nine appendices that dealt with examples of land acquisition issues and a list of more than 1,200 martyrs who participated in the peaceful protests of the Southern Movement, including assassination victims.

As for the main document of the vision, it included a political content for the southern issue consisting of five phases starting from November 30, 1989 to 2013, and a legal content that dealt with "mistakes and shortcomings in the agreement declaring the Republic of Yemen" and "the conflict between the texts of the agreement declaring the Republic of Yemen, according to which the authorities of the unified state were formed." , and between the provisions of the constitution,” in addition to a cultural and social content that included the identity and culture of the south, imbalances in the education system, “the destruction of the institutional and human structure of the south,” forced retirees, and the plundering of oil resources and lands... and other dimensions that led to the formation of the southern issue and the growth of its size with every mistake or irresponsible practice.

The question that finally arises before the southern and northern forces together, especially those forces opposed to the Houthi militia and its absurd management of the areas of its control and its tendency to destroy all the capabilities of the country: Is the National Dialogue Document still valid in all its content to serve as a national reference for a political settlement, or does it need to be updated and reformulated? And if its content needs to be reformulated, isn't the southern issue the most priority issue in the current situation, especially with the clear tendency of the international community to coddle the Houthi militia and brake the national forces against this group that are addicted to coups against everything and violating all agreements?!