A displaced Yemeni boy is seen at a refugee camp located between Marib and Sanaa, Yemen March 29, 2018. .
(photo credit: ALI OWIDHA/ REUTERS)
The battle for the western Yemeni port of Hodeidah could be an important milestone in the three-year civil war. But if the different players in the Yemeni conflict will continue to ignore us, the al-Hudaydah battle will be followed by a new conflict.
Yemen’s internal splits have festered for years. Northern and southern Yemen united forcibly into a single state in 1990, but we in the south seek for our independence again. Ignoring our people’s desire won’t help anyone especially that al-Hudaydah, Aden and other important fronts in southern and northern Yemen wouldn’t have been liberated without us. The Southern Resistance, with its different groups, publicly supports the fight against al-Qaeda and the Houthis, as well as the independence of the South.
Although we are on the frontlines today in al-Hudaydah, the Arab media is hesitant to recognize our efforts by not mentioning the term “south.” They say the Yemeni forces indicating to us. We are not Yemeni forces, we are southern Yemen who seek independence.
Because our best allies don’t mention us, no one from the region know a lot about us.
Our story is simple, today, we control most of the south, our security forces secure the life in South Yemen for the people. Thus, no real solution will be achieved in Yemen without recognizing our rights in deciding our destiny. We have the ground, we are well armed and we’re not willing to submit for one Yemen solution. So there will be no solution for Yemen without serious engaging for us in negotiations. Otherwise, the world should wage another war against the south to recapture it from us and force it to unite with the north.
Our forces proved to be effective and reliable allies for the coalition, we were the only group that effectively fought and removed al-Qaeda from different parts of Yemen.
We were the alternative that managed the safest places in Yemen today after the vacuum that was created following the liberation of the provinces from al-Qaeda and the Houthis. We managed the south and implemented a stability through local councils to prevent the militias from regrouping in South Yemen. Not to mention also that the quality of the life in south Yemen is good comparing to the situation in other parts.
It’s not a coincidence that the cities in the south, which our forces liberated, are the only place in Yemen where the Arab Coalition leaders can trust to walk safely and shake hands with people without fear of being betrayed and stabbed in the back.
We are devoted to building an egalitarian, democratic and ethical society in the south.
We are the only group in Yemen where women have a voice – we hear them in each event held by our council. The southern women were the first to appear in the streets to protest the corruption of the government.
The south once was a society where Arabs lived along with Jews, Christians and Hindus in one of the most tolerant communities in the middle east.
The Jews of Aden lived in and around the city, and flourished for decades, In the early 20th century, their number had grown to about 50,000. While Jews were not welcomed in most of the Arab states after, our Jewish community continued to live a safer life.
The synagogues and monuments that once belonged to the Jewish community were saved and kept by our forces. Until today, we believe in the right of the southern Jews to their land and properties.
We are not calling on the Arab States and the US to end their relationship with other parties in Yemen, but we are asking them to stop ignoring our efforts because doing otherwise will not bring peace to Yemen.
Despite the poverty in southern Yemen and the lack of resources, we do not ask the United States for food, we do not want bullets, and we do not want money. All we are asking for is a political recognition for our southern cause.
The answer for our question, “Why you ignore us?”, is always because the world is not interested in changing the status-quo and divide the Middle East.
Do you think a failed poor country infested with disease, problems and sectarian war isn’t worth trying to make a change for better? What exactly are we going to regret if we change the miserable status-quo in Yemen? The author is the chief of the Southern Transitional Council mission in Washington D.C.