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Australia: Beyene Semere of SBS Radio Interviews Saleh Johar

On Wednesday May 6, 2015, Beyene Semere of SBS conducted an interview with the Saleh “Gadi” Johar. Beyene Semere is the director of the Tigrinya service of the SBS.

The Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) is an Australian public broadcasting radio services which also has an online and  television network. According to Wikipedia, the stated purpose of SBS is “to provide multilingual and multicultural radio and television services that inform, educate and entertain all Australians and, in doing so, reflect Australia’s multicultural society“.

The 25 minute interview is centered around the Yemeni crisis and covered some of its effects in the region. FIND THE INTERVIEW LINK BELOW:

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  • Saleh Johar

    Ahlan Ismael,
    You are right but the short interview focused on the regional ramification more than the internal issues of governance. That is why I didn’t have a chance to say much about the internal dynamics.

    As you know, the Zaidis (I don’t consider the Houthi movement and Zaidi synonyms). While the Zaidi’s ruled Yemen for canturies until 1962, the Houthis movement is a decade or so old.

    Some observers see the war of the early nineties against South Yemen as a Zaidi victory. The presence of AlQaeda (and now strains of IS) is considered a threat to the Zaidis more than the Sunnis of Yemen. Also, the clear rejection of Salafis by the Houthis puts the conflict on the same pedestal as that of Syria, Iraq and Lebanon where Iran is on one side supporting Shia and the rest of the Sunni world supporting the other side.

    Having said that, locally, it is difficult to say the situation of the Zaidis was any worse than the rest of the Yemenis–but during the Iraq war of 1990, and then 2003, the Zaidis were clearly radicalized against the USA intervention which put them on the same place with the rest of the Sunnis who had similar position.

    The destruction and suffering that the people are going through is very sad and I am very pessimistic considering the war culture of the Yemeni tribes, all of them. That has been exasperated by Ali Abdella Saleh who tries to gain control of the country by any means. Therefore, the current conflict is more of a shia-sunni conflict, and power struggle, and less of a war for the emancipation of the people in general and the minorities in particular. The latter is an after thought as a result f the war–complicated more when the Houthis aspired to rule all of Yemen and the deposed president too advantage of the rift and is making it worse.

    AS you know, the topic cannot be fully addressed unless you go back to the history of the Imam, the Egyptian intervention of the sixties, the Saudi relations, etc

  • selam

    Dear Teacher saleh
    I thought iran is welcomed in iraq with the will of the government and also a large portion of the iraq’s people.You have nailed the politics and news in our region as confusing, please do it often.the case of yemen is very close to Eritrea and very close to some of us may be. By the way thanks about the things you raised about news worthy too. We are confused to whom to believe.

  • Dayphi

    Mashaallah ya Ustathi. A very comprehensive interview. You touched almost all aspects of the Yemeni crisis. Few Kab Igri MelHas yi’3inqeff instances. You already corrected the Beyene’s last name. The date of the interview must occured last Wed, May 06, 2015. The north/ south war was in 1994 not 1984. Also Zaidis population is much more than 10%. At least 35% but most probably around 40%. And yes, we never were able to differenciate between Shafies and Zaidies in Eritrea, at least to the general public, as one cant differenciate between George Bush faith from his brother Jeb Bush.

    • Saleh Johar

      Ahlan Dayphi,

      The number of Zaidi’s is contested between 10 and 30% from what I saw. However, there are divisions among them as well–different groups ranging from the Fivers to the Tewelvers and many in between, some hardly shia’a. The Saada region does not comprise much in comparison to the total Yemeni landmass–and that is where the issues are. You are right, it was 1994–I confused it with the early eighties war in South Yemen.

      Thanks for keeping it in check 🙂

      • Dayphi

        hala ya ustath. I also inferred from the talk point the interview took place only a couple days ago, May 06, NOT April 06, as stated above.

        • Saleh Johar

          Hi Deyphi,

          I checked when I saw your note but someone must have corrected it. Indeed it was two days ago. Thanks

      • Hope

        Your Excellency.Mr Saleh Johar,
        Thanks for your comprehensive and informative Interview,as usual.
        A certain Abi,an Ethiopian ” spoiler” here,challenged me abnout the role of Eritrea,specifically,the role of PIA in mediating both Yemeni States and contributing to the Unification of both States.
        Can you comment on that?
        And if you believe that Eritrea contributed a Constructive Role at that time,can Eritrea’s-to be specific,PIA’s suggestion for a Peaceful RESOLUTION of the Yemeni Crisis at this moment should be welcome(d),which the Saudis seem to have welcomed and endorsed,by default ,by the CIA and its Puppet Gulf States?
        I threw my naive opinion about this issues few wks/months ago in response to your Article on that similar Topic on Yemen after the Houthis took over N Yemen.
        I expect you to be neutral in answering these questions rather than giving me a biased and politically motivated answers….as Mr Gheteb indirectly advised you to be cautious and balanced in his recent response to your Satire/ Article/Gedeb News few days ago about the role and status of PIA(Opps–DIA”).
        Leave aside PIA and its related politics and consider the positive role of Eritrea as a Nation.

        • Abi

          Hope nefse
          My challenge stands!
          The two Yemenis United before IA becomes president. He was still on Sahel mountain preaching.
          Just imagine him saying ” unity is strength ” to the Yemenis while he was fighting to dis-unite his own.
          Funny.

          • Hope

            Dear Mr Abinet:I was talking about the 1994 War.
            Our Unity could have been materialized had it not been by the Weyane Spoilers!
            IA Afewerki did his job in liberating you from the Derghi !
            Do not blame him!
            Let us,ERITREANS , blame him