Friday, 22 May 2009

Exiled former President leads 'south Yemen movement'

By Nasser Arrabyee/22/05/2009

The unrest in southern Yemen witnessed a new turning point this week. The exiled former president, Ali Salem Al Baidh, broke his 15-year old silence and declared himself a leader for the restive groups in the south who call for separation from the north.

The declaration, this time, came from Germany on Thursday, the eve of the 19th anniversary of the unification between south and north on May 22, 1990. Al Baidh has been living in the neighboring country of Oman since 1994 when his first secession attempt failed after about 70 days of devastating all-out war.

He says he wants to correct the mistake he made by agreeing on unity with President Ali Abdullah Saleh, and return the south to the southerners, and get them out from the “trap” they were all lured into.

“We were looking forward to unified homeland which is large enough for all, but the power in Sana'a was conspiring against us,” said Al Baidh in a press conference held in the German city of Munich on Thursday.

“I will lead a peaceful struggle until we get back the State of the south and then I will hand powers to the young people,” said Al Baidh, in his late 60s.

To reassure the disgruntled groups behind the protests in the south, who come from different political, social and ideological backgrounds he said, “I’m not in a party, and will not join any party, but after liberation I may like to be an advisor.” The groups he represents include Jihadists and tribal sheikhs who had long-standing hostility with Al Baidh’s socialist party.

He appealed to the Arab nations to exercise pressures on the President’s Saleh’s regime to withdraw the forces from the “occupied south”.

The officials played down the importance of the statements Al Baidh made, saying he previously failed to separate Yemen when he had army and weapons.

“The statements of the so-called Ali Salem Al Baidh do not mean more than there is a conspiracy against the unity. Al Baidh attempts only to commemorate his bad declaration of secession on May 21, 1994 when he still had army, tanks, missiles, and fighter jets, but he could not do anything, and he was defeated and unity was protected,” Said Abdullah Ahmed Ghanim, a senior official in the ruling party.

The statements of Al Baidh also disappointed the opposition figures who called for his return to Yemen as a key partner and discussing all issues in the framework of unity.

“The it’s the policy of the regime that made Ali Salem Al Baidh repeat the same mistake he made in 1994,” said Hamid Al Ahmar in a gathering organized Friday to condemn the use of force against protesters on Thursday in Aden when three people at least were killed and more than 20 injured.

“We are all with the south movement in their demands for justice and correcting mistakes,” Al Ahmar added.

One day before the Al Baidh’s controversial statements, Al Ahmar, who leads an extensive consultation process “to achieve National Partnership to Protect Unity and Build Modern State", called for the return of all southerner leaders in exile including Al Baidh.

Immediately after AlBaidh resumed his political activities, the Oman authorities revoked his Oman citizenship. He left Oman recently to Austria. Oman authorities gave Al Baidh and his wife and their son and daughter citizenships in 2004.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his official say the regional and international support for unity is in rise.

“Unity is deep-seated like mountains and is here to stay and the secessionists will not defeat the nation and will fail as they have failed before,” he said on the eve of the 19th anniversary of unity.
He repeatedly called all political groups and non-governmental organizations to join a national dialogue, but under “the ceiling of unity”.


  1. Ask your self is yemen united or is it just a fake picture that we see.

    The unity ended in 1994 because the UN international law security C. its not. r.924 and 931.

    If yemen was united we will not have this problem.

    What goes around comes around.

    I see yemen like a windsheld it has a crack in the middle that you can seal it or dont think about it but it will also be there everyday.

    Tell me what countries united in history? None

    america broke from england becasue of lack of government and repersentation.

    north korea and south korea they will never be together, why different understanding of there countries.

    russia and georgia same there

    iraq and kuwait

    isreal and palstine

    what i am saying is that unity comes in contract
    if you fail to work with in it then you pay the fees and the record history.

    Obama sayed to ali saleh to be a stabled country but he also said that the south have the right to control here own goverment when there land.

  2. first of all are they mad when they sold out their civilized south to very ignorant north,Aden was free and independent country 23 years, how they throw away their freedom to humilation.