Stay away please!
The parliamentary resolution on Yemen war was indiscernible for many but flinched Arabs hard and the famous tweet flummoxed the whole nation but some it was expected.
The mood of government changed after the visit of King Salman’s advisor, who met a number of political and non-political influential clerics, government officials, military personnel’s et al. to make them aware of the growing threat in Yemen. After the snarl, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif commenced a high level meeting including COAS Raheel Sharif and clarified in a 3 minute press briefing that Pakistan deplore Houthis Violent kerfuffle in Yemen and support the skedaddled Hadi and its legitimate regime. Also he reiterated “Any threat to Saudis territorial integrity will be considered as threat to its own territory”. Now a lofty delegation headed by Shahbaz Sharif is in KSA for PM message to King Salman.
Couple of weeks back a resolution was passed unanimously in joint parliamentary session referring Pakistan’s neutral role in Yemen conflict and threat to KSA territorial integrity will be considered as its own.
It is for the first time in the history of Pakistan that a government committed another country’s [Saudi Arabia] territorial integrity as its own. It is a trite in Pakistan that our civilian government has nothing to do with our foreign policy framework as it is in the hands of military establishment. Not reminiscent of the previous decision that our establishment had taken in 1993 when they sent their soldiers and officers to support one party in Somalia civil war, which produced many deaths of our troops but no positive result.
Houthi rebels ousted President Hadi from his presidency in Sanaa in November 2014. Since then they are advancing towards north and currently the most influential territory of Houthis in Yemen is its northern side touching Saudi border. The southern part which was stranglehold of AQAP are now just limited to a small scattered land after repeated drone strikes by U.S which helped Houthis to start a commotion against Hadi regime.
Arab Coalition Army airstrikes in Yemen cannot claim victory over Houthis until they enter troops in and for that purpose they are asking Pakistan to help. It’s very obvious, purely from a military perspective, any professional army could destroy a band of fighters in a conventional battle, but the Houthis are not going to engage in it unless they have clear superiority in numbers and are certain of victory. Instead, they will employ guerilla tactics of ambush, deception, etc.
It is also very clear that a large faction of Yemens military forces were repugnant to many policies of Hadi regime and didn’t retaliate to Houthis in comparison with its strength. It can also be termed as indirect military coup with the mug of Houthi rebels.
More importantly, the Yemen conflict cannot be viewed in isolation. It has to be considered as part of a larger and deeper change challenging the status quo taking place in the Middle East. Arab countries’ current response to Pakistan’s decision of non-involvement reflects how oblivious they are to our multiple security challenges. Or are they deliberately playing down to put pressure on Pakistan?
The recent John Kerry statement that U.S is aware of the Iran’s financial and arm support to rebels which is condemnable and is looking at it deep, shows the sensitivity of this conflict. Two days back Security Council passed a resolution to stall arm support to Houthis shows international forces are watchful to it and ready to jump in.
Can Pakistan afford to take side of any party either Iran or KSA in this Yemen cauldron when it is already indulged in a operation against terrorists in North Waziristan? Can we be a part of this internecine war? Is this not the time to moderate obeisance to KSA?
Despite of Shahbaz Sharif, Prime Minister and COAS together should visit KSA and aware them of the problems we are facing in our own country. They can deploy some more troops to defend the sacred places as GHQ directed PM before his visit to KSA, not to go beyond such deployments. But the over commitment to King Salman by Nawaz Sharif made his position embarrassing to KSA, parliament and military establishment.
Pakistan’s decision of playing a conciliatory role instead of being party to Saudi and Arab wishes was prudent and courageous. If it has been misunderstood or misinterpreted, it is unfortunate. If the Arab countries do not take Pakistan’s and Turkey’s advice of seeking a political solution in the right spirit, then it is only a matter of time they will find out who will be paying the price for it.
Who is more important we or our leaders personal relationships with KSA?