The victories of Yemeni army over al-Qaeda remnants has followed successively during the last few weeks in a surprising way, bringing back the confidence of the army on itself after the systematic defeats it went through in the past years. The victories also brought back the confidence of the Yemeni people in the army, after the image of their army was negatively affected, since the army did not win any war in the last few years. The people, even, thought that the reasons were totally from the army itself without any external causes, either in terms of enlarging the image of the enemy which it faced; or by destroying the morale of the army due to the corruption practiced by many of its commanders that deeply engaged in looting whatever they came to, including money, lands or food allocation of soldiers, in an unprecedented corruption in the army.
Then those commanders became very wealthy at the expense of the junior officers and soldiers, that ended up the destruction of their combating morale. The soldier cannot fight with such enthusiasm if he strongly believes that his family will not find anyone to provide bread for it in case he became a martyr or disabled, or if he thinks that his family will not find the minimum level of subsistence while his commanders suffer satiety in their properties and money. Here raises the spontaneous question: What has been changed so that the army achieves such successive victories over al-Qaeda Organization that was about to turn into an invincible myth?!
In fact, one can attempt to answer this question through a logic follow-up to the line of events in the last eighteen months. Yemen was on a date with a revolution of an unprecedented radical change, in which millions of Yemenis came to streets peacefully in most of the provinces demanding the departure of head of the regime and its influential positions. That was their absolute right, and they were too late to express it although the situation has been accelerated very fast since 2007. There is no doubt that the positive effects of the Public Peaceful Youth Revolution has spread to the army, as they have also spread to other security and civil facilities.
Then all that was obvious through the public support of the revolution by a number of influential commanders in the army in March of last year. Many other commanders preferred not to declare their support at that time for a number of reasons some of which not pushing Saleh and his family towards military suicide and other reaction through flaring up uncalculated massive confrontations. Immediately after signing the GCC Initiative by former president in the 23rd of last November, the appearances of public resentment started to emerge by military and security leaders close to him and did not stop except through the changes made by elected President Abdu Rabo Mansur Hadi.
These changes that have taken place in the army and security ranks raised the morale of its members and gave them a great sense of hope for a better situation; in which they may live away from the corruption and regional, political partiality and the illegal promotions obtained by the close people, while others are excluded even if they have proven their sincerity with all possible ways.
One of the reasons for the last victories is the change in the head of the power in 21st of last February, through the early presidential elections and the coming of the first Yemeni President from the south in the era of the Unification, who is highly academically military qualified. This did not only affect positively the Yemeni citizens who came out to elect Abdu Rabo Mansur Hadi with that enthusiasm, but extended to reach the upright commanders in the army and all its soldiers oppressed in their rights. Certainly, the existence of a Supreme Commander of Army, known as being away from any kind of corruption cases, is exciting to all soldiers and commanders that did not have interest relations with the former regime.
This is what we clearly touched. Those who had interests rebelled against decisions of the new President, while those who believed in the revolution and change complied with all decisions, that have been implemented in spite of all the hardship these decision faced. Here, the soldiers strengthened their confidence in their new supreme commander, who insisted on the implementation of his decisions and did not retreat. Such insistence is the normal behavior for any military commander who knows the danger of neglecting any military mutiny against him.
An important reason for victory this time was the existence of political will to face al-Qaeda. Then, the existence of this political will with President Hadi facilitated several other things. Necessary changes in the leadership of the Southern Military Region followed, without which the battle would not have began and the victory would not have been achieved. And the victory would not also have been achieved except with the leadership of Defense Minister General Mohammed Nasser Ahmed and Commander of the Southern Military Region the late General Salem Qaten of the commanders of the army in the field forefronts of the fighting, which has never happened but rarely.
Then the Commander of the Southern Military Region killed by one of al-Qaeda elements, which increased the enthusiasm of the army. He was the first Yemeni commander, from the first ranks, who sacrificed his life in a battle that had all national standards to defend the sovereignty of Yemen on its territory, against an international organization that practices terrorism and kills innocent people in cold blood.
There is no doubt that the death of General Qaten inspired commanders and soldiers of the army and fired their enthusiasm while chasing al-Qaeda elements in vast geographical distances. This chasing was crowned by success in freeing Azzan Town from the grip of the terrorists after they have seized control on it for several months. This victory meant that the grip was tightened in an unprecedented way around al-Qaeda, after it had expanded in the last three years of Ali Abdullah Saleh’s term without realizing the serious consequences.
Perhaps the recent battle led by President Hadi has succeeded in re-besieging al-Qaeda in a limited geographical area, to deal with it through an active military, security and intelligence work. Along with the successful gradual liberation in most of those forces and authorities from the grip of those who exploited the war against al-Qaeda for the achievement of great, nationally-narrow interests. Thus, they had no interest in tightening the grip around al-Qaeda and eliminate its danger.