"Let nothing human be alien to me"- Terence

Thursday, April 8, 2010

North and South

Back to Yemen, despite the thousands of emails I received asking for more college basketball analysis (note: this did not happen). 

Human Rights Watch has released a report about war crimes in the last round of the Huthi Rebellion.  You can take "last" to mean either "latest" or "final", depending on your disposition.   I think it is important in that it also mentions war crimes committed by the rebels, something that isn't much discussed.  Obviously, the crimes of Salih's government- carpet bombing, indiscrimnate shelling, the destruction of villages- are going to grab the headlines.  Regardless of what one feels about any specific rebellion, the power of the state is what attracts attention.  But the report talks of Huthi shelling, of deploying in populated areas, and of using child soldiers- something which we need to know to get a full picture.

However, as uncomfortable as it is, in the immediate political arena the crimes of the Huthis are meaningless.  They don't need to apologize to the government for putting innocents and children at risk; it is not as if the regime was overly concerned with their welfare anyway.  For reconciliation to happen, Salih is going to have to admit mistakes and apologize and be the one mending fences.  The Huthi leaders will have to reconcile as well, but Salih is the one who will bear the brunt of it if he hopes to avoid another hideous and unwinnable war.  That is just the nature of things, and it gets back to my argument that he is going to have to cede some control if he hopes to retain any.    Reconciliation seems to be inching its way toward a remote possibility, though, if prisoner releases are any indication.  

Meanwhile, bombings, strikes and arrests seem to indicate the south is moving closer to a HRW report themselves.   We're moving closer an closer to unity's 20th anniversary- anyone want to take bets on if the celebrations will also be an obituary? 

Looking for good news?   Yemen LNG has announced that they have opened another line, and this one ahead of schedule.   Despite all the delays, the liquefied natural gas project has turned out to be a success, despite the overwhelming political problems.  In an of itself, it can't save Yemen's economy, but it can perhaps be a demonstration that things can go right in Yemen, and that it might not be a losing bet. 

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