Saturday, April 11, 2015

So Yeah, about Yemen, and why extremist-Islam happens anywhere in the World

Dear family in the land-far-and-away, we in Oman are safe and fine. The war in Yemen doesn't really affect us, beyond both Saudi and UAE being a little mad that we won't be joining them in airstrikes. There are some Omanis, Americans, British, and likely Australian, French, Europe, what have you's folks too, stranded there in Yemen according to the news. Us in Muscat, are obviously not counted among those. Even in Salalah (aka Dhofar region bordering Yemen), the emphasis isn't on arming one' self and marching off to fight the Shiite "rebels/agitators" in Yemen, more on border control.

Al Qaeda doesn't really inspire Omanis very much (the majority of Omanis are Ibadhi so Al Qaeda would be against your neighbor or friend even if you are a Sunni---and let's face it, we get along). Nor does supporting Shia/Sunni conflict, being in Oman, we don't feel the need to restrict shia in anyway or be all anti-Iran like our good friends in Saudi, Kuwait, and Bahrain. Somehow the stuff Iran and shia themselves do, is usually enough, to stop folks from being like "I wanna be just like them" (visit Mutrah, Muscat, in front of the Shia mosque during ashura and you'll know what I mean). If you are shia, visit Oman, and realize, that I, a Sunni, and all Ibadhi, do not hate you or want to confiscate your piece of clay from you when you are praying. We might think you are slightly wrong, or weird, but leave that up to Allah to decide. Beside, being all fascist never works for governmenting religion if a government longs for its own sustainability (nudge nudge, KSA). It usually just makes the facist government's take on a religion look ugly, twisted, prejudiced, partial, and often, shway evil. And makes people more likely to convert to shiism, to quote former OPNO "I always root for the underdog". Air strikes, usually come across that way as well [evil], to a civilian population, who, no matter what bad guy you are aiming for, you end up striking some hapless child or NGO hospital by mistake.

So why is anyone (Oman isn't) actually fighting Yemen? Those guys are armed with conflicting ideologies, a couple rocket launchers, and ak47s. No matter who wins, more people lose, and that's a no-brainer. And I didn't know airstrikes were all the effective against AKs, terrorist-mindsets, and different tribal and religious factions. Way to unite a disintegrating country, bravo.

Back to the issue of Yemen---what happened? Well in short, Iranian-backed Shiite rebels called "Houthi" by the Western media, surrounded the presidential palace and put President Hadi under house-arrest. So you can see why this issue is a slipery slope for Oman, now can't you?

Dear lands far and away, if you look at Oman's history, our current leader took over our country [Sultan Qaboos] in a bloodless coup, surrounding his own father's palace. So we can't condemn that action alone, if the intent behind it is for something brighter in terms of a future [i guess?].

The Yemeni President's government agreed to the reforms the Houthi rebels asked for, but despite,the Houthis did not withdraw, nor did they release the hostage they had taken, the president's chief of staff. Being that they would have basically been a puppet government from that point onward, President Hadi's (democratically elected) government resigned.

As for anti-terrorism, America is supposedly against ISIS, and Al Qaeda.  So is Oman (but not to the point of invading other countries, which, actually, makes recruiting easier for terrorist organizations when a place is strewn with conflict). As the Houthis are Shiite, obviously, having them in government would make ISIS and Al Qaeda (already in Southern Tribal Yemen) easier able to recruit forces for going to Yemen and making an issue with the Houthi government there. But the more serrious reason for that, for Saudi, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and the US, of course, is that the Houthis are Iranian-backed. Forget about Israel, and the stolen lands there, and waters (as far as Jordan) and the police-state action against Palestinians, forget about ALL that. Iran is the worst right?

Still, the Al-Houthis (Zayd shia correct me if I am wrong--shia fiqh is my weakest) made themselves look hypocritical too, since they seized power from democratically elected government after insisting for months that was not their intention. Obviously we shouldn't support them either right?

Thus far, as it stands, in Marib (province/region with oil) Sunni Islah party are clashing with Shia Houthi for control. In Oman, I am watching "Red Widow" on Dubai channel one and Emirates News reporter Katie Feilder is there talking about Emirati airstrikes in Yemen. I can't tell from the inflection in her voice, her personal opinion behind this, although her pro-government phrasing is always clear when she's talking about Dubai Cares initiatives, or about development plans, or Maktoum playing polo, or something.

I myself shudder when I think of heartless, mindless bombs and misiles. They do what? Destroy infrastructre, and support ground forces, I guess, but serriously, does Yemen need less infrastructure these days?

So I guess, though I am not related to MiddleEastern politics in the slightest, that's why Oman is not in it. It would be hypocritical of our government to criticize the means of a like government in its early stages, and it would also be pointless to bombard a country with destructive airstrikes and think terrorism can effectively be fought that way. Iran is not our enemy, nor are shia. Shiite militantism is only born in places where Shia idealogy is suppressed. Sunni militantism is born in places (like UK, US, Canada, Saudi, Afghanistan and Yemen) where Islamic education is isolated and controlled by people with political agendas, be it the marginalisation of women, or mistrust of government for personal gain in standing, or physical wealth. Where you isolate and supress people, and limit their access to politics, education, and livlihood, you will have extreme forms of anything look somewhat attractive or at least, sensical, to people.

For example, in France, if I was a born-native French girl who wore the veil as part of my Islamic beliefs, I'd want to fight my government that disallowed me from being in public, from being educated, from working in government, and from being part of society. Extreme views and extreme actions would look permissable then. Even I am against violence, I am not against self-defence. Get it?

So yeah, about Yemen, that is a mess, always been a mess, too many cooks in the kitchen, and its going to be messier. It would be a good time right now, for ordinary Omanis to think of helping the Red Cross/Crescent and Unicef with food, water, and clothing donations, and perhaps vehicles and drivers since we have some border access. Some considerations for refugees, etc... That's what Oman should be doing, and as an expat and a Muslim I am proud Oman is staying out of a fight that has nothing to do with Islam, or preserving goodness and protecting people (the Yemeni citizens).


Anonymous said...

I think Yemen is nothing more than a proxy-war for Saudi Arabia and Iran. Iran loves to stir up sectarian division with their victim mentality. Poor oppressed Shi3. That's why they split up Iraq and turned the south into their very own Shirk haven. I'm not saying Sunni countries are angels...we know that is far from the truth. But Iran wants nothing more than to be THE power player in the Middle East. I think Sultan Qaboos said something like we are dealing with the Persian Empire, and I couldn't agree more with him.

Anonymous said...

I hope you can help me. I have a friend from India who went to work in Oman right out of college for a company that recruited him at his school in India for a 2 year contract. He has been there 3 months and they have not given him a day off!!! Is this legal? He is told that he must work every day because he works in "convergent electricity" and it is a full time job.

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

Anonymous: Well, Iran of today is nowhere as powerful and well-equipped as the old Persian empire that Oman once contended with and defeated... And like you said (shirk haven) isn't that usually enough to stop people that aren't shia from becomming shia like shia from Iran?

A proxy war means devastation for the home countries---Iraq, now Yemen...So we shouldn't deal with them at all in this matter. Like you said, Iran stirs up the trouble, but the trouble usually comes from Sunni oppression of shia practice... I am sunni and I am saying this, not Ibadhi or shia and I have no relatives or super close friends these days who are shia, its just the truth. I do feel suppressed people have the right to rise up, the qu'ran says that Allah is with the oppressed afterall. So that is key into thinking how to deal with the situation. No oppression equals no one to stir up.

Although,a lot of Oman's useless army positions and jobs would become glaringly obvious if we did ever have to go to war...Not that at this time and date do we really want to see powerful army people becoming heroes with an unclear succession... Thinking out loud.

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

Dear Anonymous: No of course not. No job has no day off. That is not legal. The Ministry of Manpower is the place to take his complaint. If he can't email us at our email opnoprincess @ hotmail .com and I can see what we can do (his name, company etc, and if possible his Omani ID number).

Anonymous said...

I think that KSA is mostly interested in keeping some sort of control over the Gulf of Aden as that is a vital route for their oil exports. They're not that interested in the democratically chosen government. Would be interesting though Saudi forces fighting for democracy :D

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

Anon: Very;). You're right, the location is not something they want to lose control of and with Iran involved it would be... unlikely we could all just keep on going with tariff's for using this way or that for oil shipments.

Love this post for reference about where Saudi oil money goes

muscat paws said...

Thanks for clarification of the current situation in Yemen.

The article is very informative and explains to us/Westerners the story behind all the mess in Yemen.

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

muscat paws: really? Thank you. I can't write political pieces really, just opinion;).

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I'm from Yemen and I live in Oman I like your article and your blog, such an admirable lady you are. It just lack a little bit of information, Houthis their problem started when they decided to alley with the previous regime which is with the former president " Ali abdullah Saleh " and you were right about the zaydi belief they are not shia. Let me tell you about this belief they want Yemen to go back to the Imam time which was so backward and creepy, where no woman education or work allowed. No electricity, water , they basically live in caves.

I think the people of Yemen lost the trust with houthis promises which is to have civil and national government.After all the lies that they spread in their channel (Almasira). People have had enough of their bullshit especially after taking over government institutes and disturbing the civilians with their motto ( DEATH TO AMERICA, DEATH TO ISRAEL , CURSE ON JEWS AND VICTORY TO ISLAM).
All they are doing now in Aden south Yemen is bombing ordinary innocent people and they're saying we are killing Isis and AlQ.I'm not with Saudi I think Saudi are even worse than them what they are doing is the same as what Israel did in Gaza no freaking differences.

Wow I talked too much but hey I like politics. It was nice to participate in your blog because from what I see or hear Yemen is not in Oman's Agenda it is fair enough oman doesn't like to get involve in other people shit( sorry for the language), however Oman should get involve in saving civilians lives and innocent children cause this is a Muslim matter and I think our prophet advised us to take care of our neighbors and Yemen is a close neighbor.

" It would be a good time right now, for ordinary Omanis to think of helping the Red Cross/Crescent and Unicef with food, water, and clothing donations, and perhaps vehicles and drivers since we have some border access. Some considerations for refugees." I couldn't agree more thank you.

Best regards
Om Yara