Dear Mr. Hague,
I write on behalf of the British Yemeni Coalition in Support of Yemen Youth for Peaceful Change, to express our gratitude and approval for your clear and principled stance over the evolving situation in the Middle East, and to encourage you to stand firm in this. UK policy, while remaining pragmatic in UK interests, must remain true to UK values and be applied equally to friend and foe alike, showing neither fear nor favour.
The Arab Spring must be tended through the scorching heat of the Middle East summer so that it bears fruit in season. The international community must not shrink from this, and must ignore self-interested siren-songs, claiming “security” exemptions. We are sure that many will attempt to assail you in this – indeed, we have already heard shrill critique of your “mishandlings” as your even-handed comment hit certain corners of the Middle East. I urge you to keep your nerve. Political and economic opportunity are the oxygen of democracy, and inimical to ethno-religious bigotry and bile.
Nowhere is the security phantasm more so than in our ancestral home of Yemen. There, Ali Abdullah Saleh’s kleptocracy accommodated AQAP in February 2006 and has nurtured it ever since – milking it for the military aid it brings. All the while, he consolidated his 33 years reign, gaining illegitimate wealth and status through systematic exploitation and oppression of Yemen and its people. The UK, and the other Friends of Yemen, must continue to push not only for a change in regime, but a change in the system, such that it is accountable to, and inclusive of, all the people of Yemen.
Our hearts and homes are now in UK, but we deplore the injustice and repression in Yemen, and feel it is our duty as good citizens of both countries to wish to see a democratic and impartial rule of law in Yemen as in UK. We hope you will push hard to see that this happens, and we believe that you are amongst the very few respected figures who can.
British Yemeni Coalition in Support of Yemen Youth for Peaceful Change