Karman to Al-Quds Al-Arabi: I do not seek a political position and Yemeni revolution has moved the issue of women from luxury halls to the social space

In an interview with al-Quds al-Arabi, the Yemeni human rights activist, Tawakkul Karman, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, accused the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia of handing over Yemen to the separatist Houthi group,

noting that the military coalition led by Saudi Arabia aims mainly to divide Yemen, the confiscation of its sovereign decision, the occupation of its islands and controlling over its natural resources.

It also considered that the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi lifted the international cover for Saudi Arabia and set its direction in Yemen on the table.

She also denied seeking any political post in Yemen. On the other hand, she considered that the revolution moved the debate on the issue of Yemeni women from the pompous halls in five-star hotels to the wide space of social spectrum.

Karman, in an exclusive interview with Al-Quds Al-Arabi, said: "By the end of 2015, a few months after the war began, the southern provinces, and the cities of Taiz and Marib in the north were all liberated from the Houthi coup. Four years have gone but the coalition has not allowed the legitimate president to return to Yemen, and the legitimate government to carry out its full functions and impose its sovereignty on all liberated areas. 

The goal of the coalition is to control the Yemeni decision and to directly control over the Yemeni coasts and islands, oil and gas wells and installations, and for this purpose, she said, the coalition formed  militias in the south, which are tools, especially for the UAE, and not subject to the Yemeni government. 

"They left the Houthis controlling most of the densely populated northern provinces and handed over the liberated areas to separatist militias and Salafis who follow their [UAE and Saudi] orders, leaving the Yemenis in a state of non-state, under the mercy of multiple militias. But, with these childish attitudes, they dig their graves with their hands. They did not understand the history of Yemen. Yemen is a big country, a long history, so dismantling and dividing it will turn it into fragments in the face of the neighboring Gulf countries. The division of Yemen and keeping it a hostage to a long conflict means that Saudi Arabia and the Gulf as a whole will not be outside this destruction and division."

She also considered that the war in Yemen was appropriate opportunity for western countries to reap more money as Donald Trump set the record in gaining money from Saudi Arabia through deals seem to be international briberies, hundreds of billions. The continuation of war and the involvement of Saudi Arabia in war crimes and its failure in resolving the conflict does not concern America or the West in general," Karman said. She added: "The assassination of Jamal Khashoggi brutally shocked the world and lifted the western cover for Saudi Arabia and set its direction in Yemen on the table, and this led to the loss of international support to Saudi, and it began to suffer since then. The world has not taken any move when it saw Saudi using the legitimacy to destroy Yemen, displace its population and enable the Houthi militias to share influence on the ground, because the voice of Yemen is faint. The Houthis contributed to this collusion as they provided a suitable environment for foreign military interventions."

As for Iran's involvement in Yemen through its support for the separatist Houthi group, Karman said: "The Houthis is an important paper of Iran's papers in the region, it will not abandon it, and this is clear in the timing of the last strike on the oil pipelines in Yanbu. But that is a natural harvest of Saudi Arabia's fragile policy. In response to the Houthi attack on Aramco oil pipelines, Saudi committed the crime of bombing civilians in Al-Raqas Street in Sana'a where dozens of people were killed. They have destroyed Yemen during the past four years of war. They have worked with the UAE on overthrowing the Yemeni state and its falling in the grip of the Houthis and the ousted president Ali Saleh in September 2014. It is clear to all, it came in line with their policy of leading the anti-Arab spring revolution."

"Iran has a clear strategy, and the Shiite armed groups are operating in its system and operating within its strategy, from Hezbullah in Lebanon to the Houthis in Yemen, among them the Iraqi Shiite groups, the popular crowd and the Assad regime, their ally. In Yemen, it found a complete vacuum, and it did not make much effort, as Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the transitional president, the deposed president and other party components, all colluded to bring the Houthis to Sanaa and handing over the state to them, and the result is that the fourth Arab capital has become part of the Iranian strategy. On contrary, what did the coalition do to its allies in Yemen? They dispersed and weakened them and held them in hotels in Riyadh and replaced them with militias and security belts. Yemen is hanging between the Houthi militias and the Emirati militias.

Karman summed up the solution in Yemen with several points starting with the withdrawal of the coalition from the islands and coasts it occupies, and the return of the decision to the Yemenis in the liberated areas, as well as the Houthis recognition of the legitimate state and engaging in a serious dialogue to return to the completion of the transition process according to the three references: the national reference, represented by the outputs of the National Dialogue and the draft of the new constitution, the Convention on the transfer of power (the Gulf initiative) and the UN resolutions. Any   solution that does not guarantee the full return of the Yemeni state and its sovereignty on its territories and an exclusive authority that is not disputed by an external occupation or militias, whatever their names, it is just a delay to the conflict and expected rounds of war. "

"The division of Yemen is not a solution. The division that Riyadh and Abu Dhabi worked for has failed. There is no solution without a united Yemen and a modern federal civil state for all its citizens, equal in rights and duties. Saudi Arabia and the UAE bear a historic responsibility for reconstruction and rebuilding what was destroyed by the war and compensating Yemen and the Yemenis. The crimes committed by the coalition, the tampering and destruction in Yemen.”


The counterrevolution seeks to frustrate the Sudanese Spring

On the other hand, Tawakkul Karman considered that the popular revolutions in Algeria and Sudan were against paralyzed tyranny and failed regimes, praising the positive interaction of the military establishment in the two countries with the popular movement which led to the overthrow of both Bouteflika and al-Bashir.

But she talked about a big difference between the revolutions of Algeria and Sudan. "Algeria is a large and stable country and its economy is stable, and already has experienced a difficult and bloody experience after the eradication of its early democratic experience in the early nineties of the last century. I expect the democratic transition to go through with less risk than Sudan, and Algeria has kept itself - at least until now – away from the influence of counter-revolution capitals, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, and from the conflicting axes in general,” she said. “This is an important and positive work for the Algerians and Algeria and its rebellious people and their political components and their state."

"In Sudan, the army leadership has, to some extent, been under the devastating influence of Riyadh-Abu Dhabi axis. Obviously the confusion of the army and the ambiguity of its position on the popular revolution, and the adventure by the Army that has developed into violence against the peaceful protest squares... the revolution is going on and violence will not be able to confront it.”


Arab Spring may knock the doors of Saudi Arabia

Karman believes that the second wave of the Arab Spring will not stop at Algeria and Sudan, but will extend to Saudi Arabia and other countries, noting that "the ruling family in Saudi Arabia saw a threat against it since the beginning of the Arab spring in 2011. This kingdom has been in the history of contemporary Arabs since independence from Colonialism in the middle of the last century as a tool to counter change in the Arab countries and as a tool to spread extremism and terrorism and to fight every new."

"Riyadh did not wait for the revolution to come to it. In every revolution, it saw a threat to it, so it rushed to lead counter-revolutions, supported coups and fed civil wars and participated in it fiercely, mobilized terrorist groups to distort the face of our revolutions. It opened its funds for those ousted  regimes and their remnants. But with all its work, it digs its grave with its hand. Saudi now has not true allies, not from states or peoples or political and partisan currents. Its friends blackmail it with hundreds of billions, and the number of people who are affected by its aggressive policies is doubling. Throughout its history, Saudi Arabia has not known this confusion and exposure as it is now. Factors of its fall began to appear from within it before they appear from outside it. Saudi is the enemy of itself.”

On the other hand, Karman revealed the great role played by women in the Yemeni revolution. Women are at the forefront of uniting all groups of society, men, women, youth and elderly, under one goal,  change. Peaceful change was the approach of the February 11 revolution in Yemen and the revolutions of the Arab Spring in general. It was a peaceful revolution. It was the wide door through which a large number of women, from all parts of Yemen, could contribute to the industry of change and to participate in the most important event in the history of her community."

"Before our popular peaceful revolution in Yemen, the regime used limited appointments for women that do not go beyond a cabinet minister or a woman in the House of Representatives to tell donor organizations and the world that he is with innovative steps that empower women, but the fact is that they are isolated cases of propaganda that cover his approach against women and his extremist thoughts that detract women and confiscate their rights.”

Karman believes that the Yemeni revolution of change "has raised the issue of Yemeni women from the isolated halls of seminars held by Women's organizations and civil society in the five-star hotels to the community space and squares. It addressed the issue of all women of Yemen who participated in the first ranks of the revolution to liberate society and demand change and a state of equality and law. "

"I was only a model of this popular movement," she says of her experience of revolutionary mobility. All of us, men and women, and when my Nobel Peace Prize was announced, every Yemeni woman saw it as  a symbolic honor to her, and all those who took part in the February 11, 2011 revolution saw that the world recognition as a recognition of their free will and an honor to all before it will be a tribute to Yemeni women, and to honor me as one of this people who seek to free themselves from the constraints of underdevelopment and tyranny. "

"In Egypt and Syria, women were better before the popular revolutions than in Yemen, but the huge  participation of Yemeni women, the high level of political sense among them, in addition to the political dynamism witnessed by Yemen in the experience of the "Joint Meeting Parties" in pre-revolutionary years, have all contributed to the role of women and their level of participation in the popular revolution, and perhaps exceeded the role of their counterparts in the rest of the Arab spring revolutions."

And about the possibility of her candidacy for the presidency of Yemen in future, Karman said: "All I'm thinking about is to work for a state for all Yemenis, which guarantees their security, stability, dignity and rights. My goals now are to expel the Saudi-Emirati occupation from Yemen, overthrow the Houthi coup and the return of the legitimate Yemeni state to complete the tasks of the transitional process according to the references agreed upon, in accordance with a new transitional phase agreed upon by all components on the basis of the return of the state and the recognition of legitimacy. The legitimacy is the principles, not the persons, and those who deviate from the main principles and foundations of the legitimacy of the state, and handover its sovereignty and land to the occupier, put themselves in the treason square. "

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