Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Saleh must leave, opposition leaders must leave, frustrated protesters chant

By Nasser Arrabyee/10/05/2011

“Saleh must leave, and opposition leaders must leave ”, the Yemeni young protesters were chanting late Tuesday after defected army and opposition leaders prevented them from marching to the Presidential Palace to force Saleh out.

At the meantime, the six GCC leaders were in a meeting in the Saudi capital Riyadh for discussing a stalled deal to transfer power from the defiant Saleh in one month in return for immunity from prosecution for him and all his aides.
A total of 30 persons from both the ruling and the opposition (15 each) are still waiting to sign the US-backed and Saudi-led deal.

Publicly both sides say the deal is the best solution for their crisis, but privately each side is waiting for the events to decide the end.

The young protesters are fed up of any dialogue, negotiations, and deals they want only to force Saleh out from his Palace. But the step is not easy.

Najeeb Al Sadi, is one of the first anti-Saleh protesters who went to set up his tent in the ‘Change Square’ at the gate of Sana’a university early last February.
But now after more than three months, the 32-year old Al Sadi is very bored and frustrated, like thousands of young people who thought at the beginning removing President Saleh would take only few days inspired and emboldened by what happened in Egypt and Tunisia.

“I’m not bored from our revolution, I’m bored and frustrated from the leaders of the opposition who did nothing but obstructed us,” said Al Sadi, who introduced himself as an independent after he resigned from the Islamist party, Islah, the largest opposition that mainly leads the anti-Saleh protests.

Al Sadi agrees with thousands of young people like him who say the opposition leaders were behind the failure or at least delay of the revolution.

He says, the opposition leaders turned “our revolution” into a crisis, and they prevented the silent majority of the people from joining the revolution.

“Some leaders of the opposition are even worse than Saleh, so people ask what’s the difference,” Al Sadi said.

At least from last Friday, those fed up and frustrated young people have been calling each other through the face-book for marching forward to the Presidential Palace to force Saleh out, as the last thing they should do to achieve their final goal.

However, clashes with hands and sticks take place from time to time between such impatient protesters and their partisan colleagues who prevent them from even expressing their ideas publicly by inviting the protester for “marching forward” through the microphone of the public podium standing at the middle of the sit-in square at the gate of Sana’a university.

If a group of protesters insists on marching, the defected army will prevent them. “The soldiers of Ali Muhsen will ask for a permit from the regulation committee, and this committee is only implementing the instructions of the Islah party,” Said the independent leading protester Adel Abdu.

The majority of the protesters follow instructions from their own parties, although they say to media they are independent.

“Of course those who belong to parties would stick to their parties’ positions , whether to march or not, but we just say to those who want to march do it, do it,” said the lawyer and leading protester Ameen Arrabyee, who belongs to the Islah party, that leads the opposition coalition and the protests.

Marching forward to the Presidential Palace is a slogan often used to threaten President Saleh by the protesters from the very beginning of the anti-Saleh protests early February. But, it is very dangerous in an armed country like Yemen, where people understand the word as a war.

The popularity of President Saleh increased when the spokesman of the opposition, Mohammed Qatan, threatened last march they would march forward to the ‘bed room’ of President Saleh in the Palace. Such a call was considered as “a big shame” by the majority of Yemenis.

But independent young people still insist on marching and look at it as the only solution.

“We’ll do it at the end even if 10,000 of us were killed,” Said Al Sadi.
A lot of people whether those against or with President Saleh, understand the word “marching forward” to the Palace as a war.

While protesters in the street, including the majority of the opposition party, refuse the US-backed and Saudi-led GCC deal for transferring power from Saleh in one month, the ruling party and opposition leaders still exchange accusations of foiling the last hope to avoid a possible armed confrontations.

Marching forward to the Palace may mean a war against President Saleh from the defected army of general Ali Mushen, who protects the anti-Saleh protesters and controls their movements.

“The Saleh forces would start immediately bombarding the 1st armored division of Ali Muhsen, if it allows protesters to march forward,” said a military expert close to Saleh’s top military leaders.

“No single tank can get out from Ali Muhsen’s division, missiles are directed to the heart of it, and ready to destroy any movement from there,” the expert said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

While receiving international envoys from GCC, UN, EU, US, Russia, and China, and also sending his envoys to all of them, the defiant Saleh keeps maneuvering. For instance, the prime minister Ali Mujawar, Saleh’s political advisor, Abdul Kareem Al Eryani, and vice president Abdu Rabu Hadi, were sent by Saleh this week to GCC leaders, EU and US, and Turkey respectively.

The embattled Saleh is also still mobilizing his supporters and attacking the opposition leaders. Earlier this week, for instance, Saleh said the opposition is planning to cut hands, legs, and heads to achieve their political goals while demanding his ouster.

Saleh took advantage of a shocking incident of cutting the tongue of a poet of his supporters in the capital Sana’a last week.

Addressing more than one million of his supporters, Saleh said “Cutting the tongue is only a start, then hands, legs and heads will be cut also by those extremists and terrorists,” Saleh told his supporters who rallied at Sabeen Square nearby the Presidential Palace after the Friday sermons.

The young poet Waleed Mohammed Al Rumaishi, was one of Saleh’s supporters and he used to recite enthusiastic and fiery poems inciting against the opposition leaders.

Last Wednesday May 4th, 2011, the young-man Waleed was found in a Sana’a street with his tongue totally cut after he was kidnapped by gunmen believed to be bodyguards of the opposition leaders who were angry from Waleed’s electrifying poems.

“Cutting tongues, hands, legs, and heads is the project of the backward forces, reactionary, extremist and terrorist forces,” said Saleh who directed his security agencies to find out the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

Saleh also instructed to take the poet Waleed to outside Yemen for treatment at the expense of the State. The unprecedented incident of cutting the tongue of Saleh’s poet shocked the Yemenis and increased Saleh’s supporters.

On the other side of the capital, more than one million anti- Saleh protesters were praying the Friday sermons in 60 ring road, close to Sana’a university, calling Allah Almighty to help them to remove Saleh as soon as possible.

The Friday speaker of anti-Saleh protesters Tawheeb Al Dubai, said President Saleh and his advisor Abdul Kareem Al Eryani are Kafers, infidels, enemies of Allah. Al Dubai likened Saleh and his advisor Al Eryani to Pharaoh and his advisor Haman, (the ruler of ancient Egypt), the symbol of infidelity in the holy Quran.
The speaker called Saleh’s supporters to quickly join them (anti-Saleh protests) or they will be the supporters of Pharaoh, and Haman which means Qafers.

“We will not leave our sit-in squares even if we were crucified,” said the speaker Al Dubai who urged the protesters to refuse the GCC plan and any initiative before Saleh steps down.

Using religion for political achievements was also clear in the speech of the Friday speaker of Saleh’s supporters in Sabeen Square, Sharaf Al Kulaisi.
Al Kulaisi said in his speech, the word ‘joint’ or ‘common’, which means in Yemen the opposition coalition (joint meeting parties) was mentioned in the holy Quran only twice and in both cases it was only to mean : allying for falsehood, corruption and sabotage, but not allying for truthfulness, and justice. Which means the alliance of the opposition parties is for falsehood in his opinion.

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