The Right Honourable David Cameron, MP,
10 Downing Street
SW1A 2AA 4th June 2011
Dear Prime Minister,
We write in utter dismay at the appalling situation in Yemen, and the failure of HM Government to do anything material about it. The regime of Ali Abdallah Saleh has driven the country to the brink of ruin, committed wholesale slaughter of unarmed peaceful protesters, incited war with the tribes and the defected military, and played up delusional civil war and terrorism scenarios.
We have been inspired and mobilised by the protesting youths on the streets of Yemen who hope to achieve dignity and democracy for all Yemenis. In the UK we can do this without fear or injury; there they are maimed and murdered for it. They have been coming out in their millions across the country, in spite of their poverty and vulnerability.
We know that the UK’s Security Services have concerns over al-Qa’ida attacks originating from Yemen. But that should be no reason to back a tyrant: indeed, we believe that when Ali Abdallah Saleh’s government goes, most al-Qa’ida members (and certainly those used by Ali Abdallah) will lay down their arms; the tribes will take care of the rest. Nor is any one man irreplaceable in the counter-terrorist fight: his sons and nephews must go too.
You must know that the Regime’s despoiling of Yemen’s resources and assistance merely compounds the socio-economic problems which al-Qa’ida exploits. The sooner the country can be rid of its parasitic rulers, the sooner it can get back on its feet, and the less chance there will be of a second failed state on the Gulf of Aden.
The West has preferred to work through the Gulf Co-operation Council. We disagree with this strategy. Not only have they demonstrated themselves to be unsuited to the task, but they also act solely in their own interests, with a history of disastrous policies towards Yemen. We must have representative democracy in Yemen, which will end terrorism and generate a transparent, vibrant economy.
The Minister for the Middle East and South Asia has made some veiled insinuations, possibly referring to the International Criminal Court. These must be made explicit to Ali Abdallah: that HMG will refer him to the ICC for crimes against humanity. Simultaneously, HMG (and the EU and US) should announce the same sanctions on Ali Abdallah as they have done on Mu’ammar al-Qadhafi and Bashar al-Assad. Ali Abdallah is avaricious; the thought of losing all his ill-gotten gains is likely to concentrate his mind on an escape, not merely clinging on in the hope that we lose heart – or our lives.
We know you have a lot on your plate, and that the economy is properly your main concern. But we ask that you direct your Minister to implement these two actions. If you do, you will succeed where others have failed.
The British Yemeni Coalition Supporting Peaceful Youth Revolution in Yemen