“US imperialism controls everything in Yemen!” An interview with a Socialist in Yemen

Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), July 2014, www.thecommunists.net

Introduction of the RCIT:

Below we print an interview with a socialist in Yemen. While we do not share all his viewpoints it provides an interesting insight in the political situation in this country.

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Please tell us something about you (name, age, profession, etc.) and your motivation to do revolutionary work?

My name is Mohammed. I am 23 years old. My father was part of the movement of the left in the north of Yemen. His name was in the execution list. He managed to leave Yemen after that. He decided to live a normal life; get married, have kids, etc.

He travelled back to Yemen in 2003.

He did not tell us, me and my siblings, anything about his past as a socialist but his ways in raising us has reflected all his believes in our lives. When I made a visit to theSocialist Party near home, old comrades recognized my father’s name and told me how my father and three others were running everything in Yemen. He passed away four months ago.

I don’t like the way people treat each other and I’ve always asked myself: Why there are poor people and on the other side extremely rich one? And the most important question is: why do people fight? It’s all about money. I knew it’s not about things you believe in but how valuable you are to the capitalists. I hate when people take advantage of others. And of course I love my country.

What would you say are the most urgent political issues in your country today?

I think it is security and safety of people as well as the state of the economy.

How do you assess the mass protest against the former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the outcome? Which were the leading forces in the protests?

It was a normal reaction for people who had suffered a lot. But when you see it from another way it was somehow an imitation of the revolution in Tunis. If there should be a revolution it should be now because the current government has make the days of the former president look like a vacation.

The leading forces mainly were Muslim brother represented by their party “The Islah” and the Houthis. If you weren’t following any of these people you would be neglected.

The outcome is the initiative of the Gulf which was a twisted move to keep the country under their But the good thing I believe the protesting had accomplished is that it stopped the inheritance of power of the former president’s family. The presidency was supposed to go to his son Ahmed.

What was the role of women in these protests?

Despite the fact Yemen has a conservative culture and a narrow minded thinking, women have played a big role in those protests. They joined the protests and some stood against the soldiers who were ordered to stop the march by any means even shooting with real bullets.

What is the role of US imperialism in Yemen?

It’s controlling everything. They have the money, the most powerful weapon .The US imperialism uses and stand with anyone until there is nothing they could offer and then they turn against him. It’s like a cow boy who rides a horse until it could no more carry him and then he dump him to find another horse.

How do you assess the role of the regime in Saudi Arabia?

It has been and always will be a curse to Yemen. There was no war in Yemen in this century and the previous that Saudi Arabia hadn’t have a hand in it; the revolution of 26thof September in the north, the civil wars in the south of Yemen during the period of the Socialist Party, the war between the south and the north in 1994.

They have delivered the Gulf initiative which was nothing but a joke that no revolution could accept it as an answer. It’s a big mistake and we are paying for it now.

What do you think about the civil war in Syria?

It’s an attempt for changing the map of the new world order for the time after the withdrawal of the US army of Afghanistan. The US is taking a new way in dealing with Middle East. Their wars have led them to a dead end. They hope to use al-Qaeda with the help of Saudi Arabia’s money and the scholars of Muslims. But the answer must lie in the hands of the Syrian people. I’m against any interfering by any other country.

Al Assad’s regime is still a capitalist and I could never stand it.

What do you think about the Sunni uprising in Iraq?

It’s a result of what happened in Syria. Al-Qaeda owns half a billion Dollar of the profits which they get from selling Syrians oil in the black market. The war against them will take long but taking over Iraq is impossible. There is a possibility that the wars could reach Jordon and even wider areas of the whole region. As a result of the outcome of the Syrian civil war, the uprising of Shiites is coming and Iran will play a big role.

What is the role of so-called al-Qaida in Yemen?

A lot of young people here are victims of some radical movements. It will take time and effort to get rid of it for good. The war against terrorism is the issue of international importance now.

How could the divisions between Sunnites and Shiites in Yemen be overcome?

In my opinion, the division of Sunnites and Shiites in Yemen are a result of political issues. It is because of the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Three years ago, during the mass protests, none of these divisions have existed and Shiites and Sunnites were both protesting together against Ali Abdullah Saleh. The divisions weren’t considered until the Gulf initiative. Because Shiites were against it Sunnites started a war and things escalated .This would end after the conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia is settled.

How do you assess the divisions between the North and the South of Yemen?

The unity in 1990 happened because of the efforts of the southerners and the role which the Socialist Party has played. It has successfully united 21 sultanates before. However, they’ve made a mistake uniting with an underdeveloped country and an uneducated people. There should have been a balanced approach. One also has to say that the north is being run by corrupted people. The southerners recognized this only when it was too late.

Another thing which had happened was that the regime of Saudi Arabia wanted to destroy the Socialist Party and to stop the uprising of the left since it was a threat to them. Sadly they managed to do that and now the Socialist Party is extremely week and is ineffective.

Southerners should be given the right to choose what they want and rebuild what once was great.

Are there groups in Yemen which sympathizes with Marxism? If yes, please describe them.

There isn’t any. The reason is because of the bad image of Marxism that had been planted in people’s minds. Any one hears the words “Communism”, “Marxism” or even “Socialism”, you would be considered as a bad man who should be killed. For them it’s something against Islam and you can never be both (a Muslim and a communist).

How do you think can a revolution take place in Yemen؟

If you want to have a revolution in Yemen, you ought to have money. Unfortunately, without it you can’t do anything. What happened in 2011 during the mass protests is an example. Only those who had the money could stay for long and play an effective role. Those who tried to do something against the opposition of the leading forces had to withdraw.

If you want to make peaceful protests, you will need tents and food to feed the protesters.

If you wanted it aggressive, you need money for weapons.

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