The United Nations’ stewardship in post-conflict and transitional political environments appears increasingly ineffective in the face of spreading violence in Syria, the intensification of Bahraini regime repression, and the growing popular discontent with Morsi’s authoritarian measures in Egypt. In an apparent bid to remain at least partially relevant in the Middle East, the United Nations has continued to present Yemen and the GCC Initiative as a successful model for post-“Arab Spring” transitions. What it has failed to realize is that this peaceful “transition” is increasingly fragile because the root causes of discontent that triggered the uprising have not been addressed. Indeed, whether unintentionally or by design, the actions of the United Nations and its representatives have furthered an agenda that reinforces the US-driven security paradigm at the expense of the basic needs and human rights of Yemeni citizens.
This January, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) held a special session in Sanaa to support the peaceful transfer of power and the overall transition process. One month later, the President of the UN Security Council issued a formal statement that confirmed its strong support for the transitional process and warned, by name, former President Ali Saleh and former Vice President (and current leader of a southern secessionist movement faction) Ali Salem al-Beedh from meddling. The statement seemed firm and positive, but proved not only ineffective, but also nationally divisive.