By Nasser Arrabyee/10/03/2011
The Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh is to speak on Thursday, March 10th, to more than 40,000 Yemenis from all over the country about how to defuse the current crisis and how to convince the increasing numbers of demonstrators who demand his ouster.
Tribal leaders, religious leaders , young people, civil society representatives, and members of parliament from the country’s 22 provinces and 330 districts will be in the country’s biggest hall, 22 of May, Hall, listening to the embattled Saleh and supporting him.
Last Friday, March 4th, 2011, President Saleh called for this meeting as a general conference for national dialogue after he rejected a five-point plan by the opposition which required him to peacefully and smoothly transfer the power by the end of this year at most.
The main opposition parties will not participate in the big meeting although it is for “national dialogue”.
Despite some observers expect Saleh to declare a convincing solution for the crisis, like early presidential and parliamentary elections, a leading member of the opposition say they will ignore the conference. “The conference will be a just declaration of the death of the regime and we will not pay any attention to it,” said Mohammed Al Sabri, one of the leading members of the opposition.
Anti- Saleh demonstrations are increasing day by day.
Two things might happen in Yemen now : A war or peaceful revolution if the conflicting parties stay as they are now.
The President Ali Abdullah Saleh says he will leave power only when his current term ends in 2013 and he sticks to an 8-point plan by the religious leaders who suggested a national unity government to prepare for elections.
The opposition coalition which includes the Islamists , Socialists, and Nasserites, gave President Saleh only nine months at most to supervise presidential elections in which he is not participating. The opposition-backed increasing protesters in the streets want Saleh to leave now without delay.
Streets are not only for whose frustrated young people and disgruntled tribesmen, inspired by what’s happening now in the Arab world, who believe that ouster of Saleh will solve their problems, but also for supporters of Saleh.
Tents of sit-ins are increasing day by day for both pro and anti-Saleh demonstrators. Tensions and concerns and fears of possible confrontation are always on rise.
It’s only a miracle if the conflicting parties return to normal and restart dialogue and stop the revolution or the war.
“Over history, Yemen has passed through even more difficult situations than now, and all of a sudden, the bother-enemies, become brothers and friends and no problem at all,” said Hassan Al Hashidi, an activist who is participating in the anti-Saleh protests.
Al Hashidi, could not say how that might happen, but he said, “ a miracle who knows?.”
President Saleh is expected to announce something different in the general national conference he is calling for now after failure in talks with the opposition. The conference is expected to be held next week although the opposition have not yet decided to participate or not.
After President Saleh rejected a five-point plan by the opposition which requires him to leave power by the end of this year, the Yemeni religious leaders said the opposition parties would be calling for a war if they do not agree on their 8-point plan which suggests formation of a national unity government.
In a statement read by the religious leader Mukbel Al Kadhi, after in a meeting held in Al Saleh grand mosque on Friday March 4th, 2011, the religious leaders said, the opposition would be calling for “Fitnah”, meaning a war, if they do not agree on this plan.
The 8-point plan was offered to President Saleh last Monday February 28, 2011, by Abdul Majid Al Zandani, the most influential cleric in the largest Islamist opposition party, Islah, in presence of all Yemeni clerics.
The religious leaders said, in their statement, they did not receive any answer on their plan from the opposition parties though they waited for two days.
According to the statement, Abdul Majid Al Zandani was assigned by the religious leaders to offer the plan to the opposition collation. The religious leaders said they were supposed to have an answer within two days at most.
“After the two days have passed, we met on Wednesday and unanimously approved the 8-point plan, and we agreed that whoever violates it, then he is calling for ‘Fitnah’ (a religious word meaning an all-out war) ,” said the statement.
On their part, the opposition parties renewed their support for the demonstrators in the street who demand the ouster of President Saleh and condemned any violence against them.
On the same day, on Friday , the opposition parties criticized in a statement the religious leaders who issued such Fatwas, religious decrees saying it was only to please the regime. “They have to repent to Allah and ask him for forgiveness, if He would forgive them,” said the statement in an obvious reference to the religious leaders who said the opposition is calling for ‘Fitnah’ if they do not agree on the
Anti- and pro-Saleh demonstrations continued on Friday almost every day with special big demonstrations after Friday’s sermons.
The pro-and anti-regime demonstrations make use of the Friday worshipers to show their audiences.
At the anti-Saleh demonstrations nearby the Sana’a university area “Change Square” as dubbed by the protesters , worshipers could be heard praying loudly to Allah to remove President Saleh while those in Tahrir Square, who support Saleh, could be heard praying to Allah to preserve him.
The 8-point plan that the religious leaders say, he who would violate it , would be calling for Fitnah, a war, is as follows:
1. All parties are to end demonstrations and sit-ins to bring an end to streets congestion, preventing chaos, destruction of public and private properties.
2. All parties are to end inciting and provocative media campaigns in order to create a suitable environment for national dialogue.
3. Establishment of a mediation committee to end political disputes. Five prominent judges will be selected to the committee. GPC will choose two Judges, JMP will also select two and the Committee of Religious Scholars will choose the fifth member.
4. The release of prisoners who has not been proven guilty or don’t have pending court cases .
5. Forming a national unity government (coalition government).
6. Intensifying anti-corruption investigations and activities by speeding up the prosecution of pending cases.
7. The withdrawal of the current election and referendum draft laws. Parliament will have to approve a new law with the consensus of both parties (Ruling & Opposition).
8. The Withdrawal of proposed constitutional amendments.
The five-point plan is : The power should be transferred peacefully and smoothly in a time not later than the end of this year.
All Yemenis should be free to do their peaceful demonstrations and sit-ins.
A committee should be formed to investigate the attacks against protestors and hold accountable the perpetrators and bring them to justice.
The families of the martyrs should be compensated and those injured should be treated at the expense of the State.
All forces and parties of the political process inside and outside Yemen without exception should be involved in the discussion.