“Yemen’s Long Journey to National Reconciliation”
Brookings Doha Center published an analysis paper by Ibrahim Sharqieh titled “A Lasting Peace? Yemen’s Long Journey to National Reconciliation.” In it, Sharqieh offers ” insights into how to deal with the challenges facing Yemen’s national reconciliation process.” He examines the GCC accord, the issues and architecture of national reconciliation, and the role of the international community.
Sharqieh credits the GCC initiative with preventing civil war and establishing “a forward-looking process of transition,” but criticizes it as “a trade-off between peace and justice” and a top-down approach that has led to “negative peace”—the mere absence of violence. He argues for a national reconciliation “process that addresses the grievances of parties in conflict with the aim of redefining their relationships and forging a new social contract.” A successful process would include “national dialogue, a truth commission, and transitional justice” and would need to grapple with the past, deal with the old regime, and address “the Southern cause” and “the Houthi conundrum.” Sharqieh identifies political parties, NGOs, women and tribes as the most important actors in the process.
Ultimately, Sharqieh calls for a reconciliation process “based on an equal partnership between all political parties” and for Yemen to “employ a full array of transitional justice mechanisms (in particular, a truth commission).” He says the General People’s Congress “cannot be eliminated from the Yemeni political landscape” and “should engage in deep internal party reform.” Southerners’ grievances must be acknowledged, but they must come to internal consensus and should invest heavily in realizing “unity or federalism that delivers justice for all.” Sharqieh notes that the Houthis also have legitimate grievances, but needs to “transform into a political party” and give up its arms. Finally, “the international community should provide political, financial and technical support” but “respect Yemen’s independence.”