WASHINGTON: A U.N. Special Envoy arrived in Washington today to help a country on the brink of chaos. The delegation, composed of Special Adviser to Secretary-General on Yemen, Jamal Benomar, along with Yemeni experts and tribal leaders, will share their knowledge on dialogue and conflict resolution.
“Given our ongoing support to Yemen, we believe it’s only fair that the Yemenis help us with the technical assistance; that we in fact paid for.” said State Department Deputy Secretary John Smith.
The US recently ended the government shutdown from October 1 – 17, after Congress failed to enact legislation for appropriations for fiscal year 2014. The 16 day shutdown is the third longest in U.S. history.
During the shutdown, about 800,000 federal employees were indefinitely furloughed, another 1.3 million were required to report to work without known payment dates, and many services such as the post offices, and park services were suspended or curtailed. Analysts at IHS Global Insight calculated that it knocked $300 million a day off US economic output.
Based on Yemen’s reported successful National Dialogue process, the Yemeni delegation will train their American counterparts on how to create an inclusive national dialogue process that engages both the Democrats and the Republicans, in addition to representatives from the Texas Nationalist Movement and theAlaskan Independent party, in an intense and long discussion on important topics. The main issues to be discussed will include healthcare, gun control, military spending, women’s rights, and also unresolved historic grievances threatening the unity of the country, since the civil war between the north and the south, in the 19th century.
Secretary Smith had previously praised Yemen’s democratic transition and national dialogue conference, a process where the U.S. spent $10.5 million in assistance.
Given the bleak economic conditions of the U.S. today, it is highly likely that the U.N. will secure a trust fund to support the U.S. national dialogue process. “Don’t bother raising funds from your own budget, the U.N. will gladly do it for you” said Ahmed Al-Ahmed, a member of the Yemeni delegation to a U.S. official . “You obviously will not resolve the deep issues, just make it look like you will” he added.
During the shutdown, employees forced to stop working, worried about the looming impact of this shutdown, and many citizens felt caught between the tug of war between the two parties. The tension resulted in a number of unsettling events; including the self-immolation of a man at the national mall in Washington D.C., and the killing of an unarmed mother suffering from postpartum depression after a car chase from the White House while her toddler was in the car.
Known for it’s long tradition of dialogue and conflict resolution, the Yemeni experts will also train various selected neighborhood watches on how to secure their communities through local committees in the event there is another government shutdown; and in order to avoid a repeat of such actions or an escalation of tensions between the two political parties in conflict.
For centuries, numerous parts of Yemen relied on tribal law to handle conflicts between various entities, as they were able to preserve order and security in the areas with no government presence.
While inspired by true events such as the U.S. government shutdown and Yemen’s national dialogue process; much of what is written is fabricated and only intended as a satirical piece.
An edited version was posted on Free Arabs entitled: “Government Shutdown? Ask the Yemenis”