Continuing disorder in Yemen will bring new threats and a new field for Muslim Brotherhood 

Continuing disorder in Yemen will bring new threats and a new field for Muslim Brotherhood 
© Getty Images

The ongoing war in Yemen is the sixth that the country has faced since the unification of South and North Yemen in 1990. Many years of sectarian and tribal infighting has made the country a breeding ground for terrorists. Groups like Al Qaeda have used Yemen as a launch pad to attack targets in the West. The U.S. launched an operation against a Yemeni-based Al Qaeda group that was responsible for the bombing of USS Cole that killed 17 Americans. Dozens, if not hundreds, of Al Qaeda operatives in Yemen have been targeted by the U.S. since then, after they made Yemen a base of operations to plan and launch attacks against Western and regional interests. 

With this background of decades of using Yemen as a launch pad, Yemen has become a threat not only to its neighbors, but to the whole civilized world. Excessive corruption and shifting tribal allegiances have further complicated the situation that is already complex due to the interference of Iran in the Shia Houthi areas.

It has become apparent that the 1990 unification of Yemen has failed. The failed Yemeni state has become exploited by Islamist terrorist groups. As would be expected in such situations, the consequences are humanitarian atrocities that have befallen the ordinary Yemen population. Islamist groups have played the Yemeni war into their hands by jumping on the humanitarian bandwagon: A solution to the Yemen problem would mean a defeat of the Islamists.

ADVERTISEMENT

Our duty of having a serious legitimate concern for the humanitarian situation in Yemen should not be blinded by an unintended consequence of legitimizing the Islamists, who are the root of Yemen’s problems in the first place.

We need to be alert to Yemenis jumping on the humanitarian bandwagon in a way to deceive global public opinion — not out of humanitarian concern, but to ensure that Yemen remains a safe haven for extremists to operate.

Leading British anti-extremism charity Faith Matters picked up on the importance of contextualizing what is going on in the Yemen war. Faith Matters cited the example of one Adel Al Hassani, and criticized UK TV station Channel 4 for giving him a platform to discuss alleged human rights abuses, whilst singing a Nasheed that was the unofficial anthem of Al Qaeda. Al Hassani later made a questionable appearance on Al Jazeera on 29 August 2019.

The situation in the south of Yemen becomes hopeless and close to a new civil war. And it’s not a surprise for the observers, but it’s a good reason to be anxious and careful ... the Muslim Brotherhood are very active in the area.

On the political level, the Muslim Brotherhood affiliated Al Islah has also managed to infiltrate whatever is left of the structure of the state, often jumping to the help of fellow Islamists. The Muslim Brotherhood in Yemen is an example of the how the MB work tirelessly to provide the political backing to more extreme, militant Islamist groups.

ADVERTISEMENT

If Yemen has any hope of returning to stability, it must first sanitize itself from Islamists who for far too long controlled much of what is going on in the country. Yemen’s main enemies are the Islamists, and our concern for the country’s stability should focus on defeating the forces of darkness, whilst at the same time continuing in alleviating the humanitarian suffering of the ordinary Yemeni.

A report will be examined in the UN human rights committee in Geneva next week. Again without surprise, it will describe atrocities and the humanitarian disaster. Everybody in the international community has to be blamed for this situation, Yemeni as well.

There is no one so blind as the one who doesn’t want to see.

We need to act. The international community should help the neighbors to secure the borders. No one wants a Hezbollah at his borders. No one wants the Muslim Brotherhood to get a new platform for their crimes.

We don’t need a donator conference: We need to find an agreement to ban the weapons, in exchange of a weapon amnesty. We need a reconciliation conference and to secure the borders.

We need education, healthcare, and a restored economy — beginning with a ban corruption.

As a matter of fact, we need to settle an international peacekeepers task force in Yemen and try to prevent a new humanitarian disaster, but also a major threat for the regional security.

Nathalie Goulet is a member of the Senate of France, representing Orne, Normandy, since 2007; she led a commission investigating jihadist networks in Europe and wrote a report for NATO on the financing of terrorism. Follow her on Twitter @senateur61.