Assessing the Chaos in Yemen – Part 3 – Musawa

Published: April 7, 2015

Editor’s Note:

It was standing room only at the National Council on US-Arab Relations hosted event “Yemen in Chaos: Analysis, Prognosis, and Prospects” at the U.S. Capitol Rayburn House Office Building in Washington on Thursday. The event, broadcast live to the country on C-Span TV, brought together a distinguished panel to examine the issues and developments in the aftermath of the Saudi-led coalition intervention in Yemen to fight Houthi rebels:

Dr. John Duke Anthony, Founding President & CEO of the National Council, served as moderator and H.E. Adel A. Al-Jubeir, Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to the United States, delivered featured remarks. Additional featured specialists included: Mr. Jeremy M. Sharp, Specialist in Middle East Affairs for the Congressional Research Service and Author of the CRS Report, “Yemen: Background and U.S. Relations;” Ms. Sama’a Al-Hamdani, Analyst and Writer for Yemeniaty and former Assistant Political Officer for the Embassy of the Republic of Yemen in Washington, DC; Professor David Des Roches, Senior Military Fellow at the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies (National Defense University) and Council Malone Fellow in Arab and Islamic Studies (Syria); and Mr. Abbas Almosawa, Yemeni Journalist and Analyst, and former Media and Information Advisor for the Embassy of the Republic of Yemen in Abu Dhabi and Beirut.

SUSRIS has already provided Ambassador Al-Jubeir’s remarks from this event. Today we provide the presentations of Mr. Sharp, Professor Des Roches, Mr. Musawa and Ms. Hamdani. We also have the question and answer portion of the event, moderated by Dr. John Duke Anthony. You can also review the entire session on C-Span [Link] and find extensive articles, interviews and more in “Yemen in Turmoil” a SUSRIS Special Section.

Here in Part 3 is Mr. Abbas Almosawa, Yemeni Journalist and Analyst, and former Media and Information Advisor for the Embassy of the Republic of Yemen in Abu Dhabi and Beirut. His remarks were provided in Arabic. Dr. Imad Harb provided translations.

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[Dr. John Duke Anthony] We now have Mr. Abbas al-Musawa, a Yemeni journalist who’s also served in diplomatic situations in Abu Dhabi as well as Beirut, and he’s an editor of a widely well-received, respected journal. Mr. al-Musawa, and translating simultaneously for him will be Dr. Imad Harb.

[Abbas al-Musawa] Thank you very much. Good morning, everyone. I’ll speak Arabic. (SPEAKS ARABIC)

[Imad Harb – Translator] Good morning, everybody, greetings to everyone. I will be translated, and he cited a verse from a Yemeni poet, basically the idea is there is a real tragedy going on in Yemen since the Arab Spring, and many, many factors coalesce, basically a weak state. Al Qaeda in Yemen and Daesh, and now al Qaeda seems to be getting stronger in Hadramaut.

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[Abbas al-Musawa] (SPEAKS ARABIC)

[Imad Harb – Translator] There are many Arab groups in Yemen and now apparently there is the remnants of whatever is left of the Yemeni state are being destroyed by a coalition of Arab, American, and European forces. I am not a Houthi lover. They actually have attacked by family, my people, and they have basically carried arms against the central state.

[Abbas al-Musawa] (SPEAKS ARABIC)

[Imad Harb – Translator] The Houthis have actually used the Libyan example. They have used arms against everybody else, but they have expelled the President, the legitimate President. They have basically attacked the state. But the problem is that the current conflagration, the current war is actually assisting the Houthis.

[Abbas al-Musawa] (SPEAKS ARABIC)

[Imad Harb – Translator] Both Saudi Arabia and Iran have their own agendas. They are basically using Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Syria to basically eke it out with each other.

[Abbas al-Musawa] (SPEAKS ARABIC)

[Imad Harb – Translator] Iran supports its own groups. At the same time, Saudi Arabia supports its own groups. And the U.S. has committed many egregious strategic mistakes in Afghanistan and Iraq and in Libya, and the problem is you get rid of somebody else but you don’t build something instead.

[Abbas al-Musawa] (SPEAKS ARABIC)

[Imad Harb – Translator] Yemen basically has a 2,000-kilometer border with Saudi Arabia. It has 1800 borders on the sea. It has become really grounds for a lot of groups that are doing harm.

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[Abbas al-Musawa] (SPEAKS ARABIC)

[Imad Harb – Translator] The state is weak. President Saleh’s Republican Guard has helped the Houthis do what they want to do. The Republican Guard actually helped the Houthis gain whatever ground they have been able to gain. The Houthis are not necessarily state builders. They, I myself hate a war. War is only for destruction. Yeah.

[Abbas al-Musawa] (SPEAKS ARABIC)

[Imad Harb – Translator] It’s said that this war is a war of necessity. I really don’t think so. There have been many opportunities for a political solution. But it’s said that Saudi Arabia does not have a choice. It does have a choice. All parties have a choice for a peaceful resolution of the problem. Basically the idea is that this war is really helping the Houthis do whatever they want to do instead of weakening them. My apologies, I missed out on one thing. He did mention something about there are probably at least 15 million pieces, weapons among the people in Yemen.

[Dr. John Duke Anthony] Thank you, Mr. al-Musawa, and thank you, Dr. Harb.

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