Alwaght- Socio-cultural capacities comprise an important aspect of a country’s soft power that could be used as a platform and capability to advance the objectives of foreign policy. Accordingly, one should first note what capacities and potentials these structures, characteristics and socio-cultural conditions of Yemen have that could be used to fight back the Saudi-led coalition, its measures and approaches. In this context, we may take into account some specific socio-cultural features of Yemen such as peaceful religious coexistence, the tribal structure, socio-cultural and nationalist tendencies, and social differences between North and South Yemen.
1. With regard to religious characteristics of Yemen, it is estimated that more than 45 percent of Yemen’s 25 million population is Zaidi Shiite sect, which is the closest sect to the ideas of the Sunnis. The rest of the population is made up of Shafi’i Sunni sect which is a Sunni sect with the closest ideas to that of the Shiites. This has created a long lasting religious consensus between the two main sects in Yemen, to the extent that many of the Zaidi and Shafi’i people of Yemen, say their prayer in one another’s mosque behind each other’s Imams of mosque. Nevertheless, the Saudi-led coalition seeks to widen the gaps and heighten the religious tensions in Yemen and abuse the religious tensions to achieve its goals in the occupation of Yemen, for instance, they make use of al-Qaeda as a means to achieve such goals. Religious coexistence in Yemen serves as a factor that can be used to increase the internal convergence in Yemen and deal effectively with the occupation.
2. Tribal system is another important social feature of Yemen that could be used to form coalitions against the Saudi-led coalition. InYemen, the social system is tribal in which customs and tribal traditions, in many cases, are superior to the governmental laws. In this social system, the government, its structures and institutions are much are more fragile than society and the ruling tribal system. Thepower of tribal system could be uncovered with a look at conditions of the South Yemen. In South Yemen which is currently a part of the Yemen’s mainland, the communist system has been ruling for two decades, it had suppressed any traditional structure of the society and had sought to create a classless society devoid of tribal affiliation; however, this system failed to resist the power of community and the tribal system. Despite the collapse of communism, the tribal system underwent slight modifications and kept on as before in South Yemen. In designing a political and military alliance against foreign forces, attention should be given to the tribal structure, a very important and essential communication with the tribal leaders provides an important capacity for Ansarullah and the Yemeni army.
3. Last but not least is the spirit of anti-colonialism that could be effective in fighting back the Saudi-led coalition. As the historical documents verify, Yemen has not historically tolerated any invasion of foreign forces and has inflicted heavy costs on foreign occupiers.Besides, compared to other parts of the Arab world, the spirit of nationalism among Yemenis, is acceptable, particularly in some other areas of the Arabian Peninsula. Therefore, the proper investment and planning on socio-cultural features and peculiarities of the Yemeni people could produce appropriate effects in dealing with the Saudi-led coalition.
By Al Waght