Yemenis’ varying standpoints concerning National Dialogue
Radhwan Al-Haimi, a youth activist in Sana’a’s Change Square, said he absolutely objected to the dialogue. He said the National Dialogue Conference is the product of the Gulf Initative, a proposal he says the youth rejected.
Al-Haimi said the Gulf Initiative was not created for the good of the Yemeni people, but in fact, it was meant to marginalize the rights of the Yemenis.
“How should we accept the dialogue while it is a term in the Gulf Initiative?” he asked.
Anyone hailing those who object the dialogue as insurgents are the insurgents themselves because they played the youth during the 2011 uprising and capitalized off them for their self-interests, he continued
“The wars and crises will not happen even if this dialogue is not held. It is just the wars and the crises of the General People’s Congress and the Joint Meeting Parties that make the nation and the people subject to their narrow, partisan demands.”
Al-Haimi said the National Dialogue Conference will be a fiasco; however, Siham Noman, the head of Women’s Authority in the Justice and Development Youth Party, said she is optimistic the NDC will be a success. She said she hoped for clear visions because they are essential for helping Yemen recover.
Noman said the significance of the NDC is that it is the sole solution for Yemen at this particular time, indicating that the dialogue must be held as soon as possible, and all political stakeholders ought to take part without marginalization.
“Everyone should believe in the importance of dialogue and that the dialogue’s principles can contribute to success,” Noman said.
Yemenis appear to be mixed about the dialogue. Some are enthusiastic; some object to holding it. Moreover, others are disinterested.
Muneera Taha, a student at Sana’a University, is not concerned about the conference.
“I have been fed up with hearing the terms ‘dialogue, killing and the Gulf Initiative.’”
She said her only concern is her education; the success and the failure of dialogue are not of any concern to her.
“I am ready to accept the worst expectations Yemen could face in the future.”
“What is the National Dialogue Conference?” Ahmed Al-Hakeemi, a private sector employee, asked. He said he knows nothing about this dialogue. He said he spends his time working and doesn’t care about the news on Yemen.
For her part, Iman Al-Hakeem, a media student at Al-Mustakbal (Future) University, expressed her support for the dialogue so long as long as it helps Yemen’s situation improve.
However, she saw the success of the dialogue as distant goal given some officials and tribes are not concerned about the best interests of the country.
“Even if the National Dialogue Conference makes it, Yemen will continue suffering from corruption.”
Waleed Al-Amari, a member in the Organizing Committee in Sana’a’s Change Square, questioned how to consent to the dialogue while the army has not yet to be reorganized.
“This is a fundamental principle that the Yemeni government must execute,” Al-Amari said. “There ought to be sound preparation prior to holding the dialogue.”
The significance of the National Dialogue Conference
Many political analysts place much importance on the upcoming conference, considering it a means to drive Yemen out of its security, economic and political crises.
Failure could be catastrophic, analysts predicted.
Dr. Nabeel Al-Sharjabi, a politics professor at Sana’a University, said there are hurdles that could block the success of the dialogue, including the foreign agendas imposed by foreign sides—particularly regional ones.
Iran’s agenda is of concern, he said. Al-Sharjabi said Iran has been playing a role in the Yemeni arena, and it wants to shuffle the cards by instigating some factions in the country to reject dialogue, demand further conditions and threaten to withdraw from the conference.
Al-Sharjabi said he thinks the dialogue will ultimately succeed, calling on everyone to be satisfied with the dialogue.
“All the suggestions presented over the course of the conference will be for the good of Yemen,” he said.
Although he said he doesn’t expect the dialogue to fail, he did say that holding the dialogue might be delayed owning to obstacles.
Al-Sharjabi said the unlikely failure would lead Yemen into a whirlwind of violence, and the international community would not allow that to happen.
“The National Dialogue Conference will mitigate many problems facing Yemen,” Al-Sharjabi said. “It will find many solutions that the government recently has not been able to find.”
Nadia Al-Sakkaf, a member of the Technical Committee of the National Dialogue Conference, said the dialogue would not include the 25 million people of Yemen whatever the size of its participation might be.
She warned against postponing the dialogue, deeming those underestimating the importance of dialogue as passive.
“If the dialogue misfires, the alternative will be gruesome,” she said.
Al-Sakkaf said it is important that all political powers merge during the dialogue, concluding that there will be diverse media outlets making participation and contact with the National Dialogue Conference members possible.