By: Hassan Al-Haifi
The President of the Republic of Yemen, Abdu–Rabbo Hadi Mansour appointed Dr. Ahmed Awadh Bin Mubarak, who was the President’s Bureau Manager, as the new Prime Minister of Yemen replacing Mohammed Salim Basindawah. Basindawah was appointed as PM after the Revolt of 2014 and the signing of the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative, which was supposed to resolve the political turmoil ignited by the Peaceful Revolution of 2014.
Mr. Bin Mubarak’s appointment came as a result of the Revolt of 2014, which brought the Houthi Movement and its followers to the forefront of the political arena and removed many of the diehard power centers, that had heretofore hijacked the youth revolt of 2014 and continued to influence the orientation of government and controlled most of its economic interests. The Yemeni Congregation for Reform and the Al-Ahmar tribal chiefs, with the strong backing of the former Commander of the First Armored Division, and the Northwest Territory and later Defense and Security Counsellor of the President, Ali Mohsin Al-Ahmar continued to dominate all military and political activities’ in the country hedging on the strong Saudi support all of them enjoyed.
When the Houthi Movement began confronting efforts by these combined political components to eliminate them by attempting to drive them out of the Movement’s stronghold in Sa’ada and part of Amran Governorates, under prodding from Saudi Arabia, the Houthis were able to seize the moment and not only defeated these efforts, but went on to gain more solid grounds and in fact drive the stranglehold the Ahmar tribal chiefs and their allies from the latters’ own strongholds in the Ahmar’s Hashid Tribal areas and Amran Governorate, including the Governorate Center. In addition, the Houthis drove out most of the institutes and centers that were breeding grounds of Wahhabi terrorist culture from these areas, producing strong evidence of how these Koranic and Hadith schools were used as fronts for training terrorists and producing their bombs etc.
Finally the Houthis gathered a strong assembly of mainly northern tribesmen and many urban supporters from all of Yemen to lead an initially peaceful revolt against the status quo maintained by the ICC Inititative. With the removal of the fuel subsidies, Yemeni farmers faced near extinction, especially as diesel fuel (in addition to normal gasoline) rose almost 200% in price in one shot. Thus the Houthis were able to mount strong support among the farmers and rural poor population, who could not cope with these price increases, and who were also fed up with the horrific corruption that plagued the government, not to mention the nepotism and partisan efforts of the Islah to flood the government with civil servants from its party memberships and relatives of the elements in the loyal tribal power centers that were allied to the Ahmars and their allies. As the peaceful revolt continued to progressively increase the pressure of their sit ins, marches and vigils, ailing Ahmar power centers turned to violence to try to terrorize the protesters. Eventually skirmishes erupted between the forces loyal to the Al-Ahmars and Islah and the Houthis and their followers and supporters, with the latter miraculously able to overwhelm their opponents with ease. When the base of the First Armored Division was taken over, the political arena indeed became subject to an irreversible change, which many people hoped would be for the better.
Thanks to the astute maneuvering of Jamal Bin Omer, the Assistant to the Secretary General of the United Nations assigned to monitor the Yemeni situation after the issuance of Security Council 2014 in 2011, an agreement was reached called the Peace and Partnership Agreement, which provided for the steps to be taken to achieve the outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference (see http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2014/sgsm16168.doc.htm) that had ensued between all the political entities at work in Yemen (including the Houthis, who were not a party to the GCC Initiative from March 18, 2013 to January 2014. With the approval of the GCC and the UN of the latter agreement, Yemen was on the path towards implementation of the NDC outcomes, which was the third demand of the revolt led by the Houthis [restoration of the fuel subsidies, removal of the present Cabinet led by Basindawah (who had resigned earlier) and implementation of the NDC outcomes.
Among the outcomes of the Peace and Partnership Agreement was the appointment of Mr. Bin Mubarak as the new Prime Minister. Dr Awadh was an academician at Sana’a University, a former member of the Coordinating Council of Youth Revolution for Change (CCYRC), an important independent component of the Youth Revolution for Change of 2011, Secretary General of the National Dialogue Conference and Bureau Chief of the President’s Office in Yemen.
However Ansar Allah, or the Houthis leadership, that this appointment does not meet the terms agreed upon in the Peace and Partnership Agreement. This disagreement may have been fostered by the meeting held between Dr. Bin Mubarak and the US Ambassador to Yemen, Matthew H. Tueller prior to announcement of appointment, which the Houthis as a means of making sure that the US agrees with this appointment, whereas they view this as continued interference in Yemeni affairs by the United States.