The challenges of transition
There are at least three bottle necks preventing a proper dialogue from occurring. The first is the restructuring of the army, which was supposed to have started already, but considering the circumstances has been delayed indefinitely.
The other is the southern issue and the extreme position of some of the players there demanding to be treated as separate state rather than political players in a single country.
The third is the assessment of military assets and expenditure, including what has already been spent before signing the Gulf Initiative in November last year. The purpose of this assessment is to identify the existing ammunition and military equipment and where previous stock has gone. Former president Saleh and the GPC are saying let go of the past and don’t ask where the artillery and guns went over the previous year.
There are other issues, including what to do about Ansar Al-Shariah who are considered in league with AQAP. And also whether the Houthis are really interested in the dialogue process. Then there are the revolutionary youth who remain in the squares. What do they want so as to leave the squares and feel that their work is done?
The youth camped out in the squares remain the only local guarantee for maintaining the youth’s demands. Yet there is a huge question mark over their continued presence in the squares, mainly in Sana’a and Taiz, as it is creating a problem for local communities, and also for decision makers when it comes to reinstating order in the cities.
We can learn from the experience of the Tunisian youth. They transformed their structure into the ‘Committee to Protect the Revolution’ which is respected and recognized by all political players in Tunisia. They have the right to talk to any authority and negotiate on behalf of the revolution. They can even hold protests whenever they want.
Therefore, both decision makers and protestors in Yemen need to know what they want from the revolution and what guarantees are needed to clear the squares.
There are so many challenges that need to be dealt with before we can really move on. The critical issue now is how to bring heads together for the sake of Yemen.