Opinion: Yemen’s Transition Needs Rule of Law
Yemen’s unrest continues. Today, the International Committee of Red Cross reported that one of its French officials was abducted by armed men. Human rights defender Ali Al-Dailami was detained and interrogated at Sana’a Airport upon returning from a human rights meeting, drawing the ire of the Gulf Center for Human Rights. Former president Ali Abdullah Saleh is still as vocal as ever, criticizing the Gulf Cooperation Council’s peace plan that ousted him from power, and predicting renewed unrest as a result. Additionally, with the increased al-Qaeda activity in the south, the CIA is “seeking authority to expand its covert drone campaign by launching strikes against terrorism suspects even when it does not know the identities of those who could be killed,” U.S. officials said.
However, given all of the issues Yemen is facing, it must still maintain its path toward transition and reform. Sarah Leah Whitson writes that the U.S., E.U., and GCC played key roles in removing Saleh from power; therefore, “they should make an equally concerted effort to help Yemen’s new government build rights-respecting security institutions and establish the rule of law.” The Yemen Peace Project published a thorough overview of the complexities the nation faces, and added that patience is needed in a “balancing act” of restructuring the military if civil war is to be avoided. Gregory Johnsen questions the effectiveness of the U.S. air strikes in Yemen, asking, “Why, if the U.S. has been carrying out strikes in Yemen since December 2009 does [Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] keep getting stronger?”