Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The Possible  Return of History in Yemen

President Saleh is returning, biggest feast in the world is waiting, politicians and diplomats are discussing power transition.

By Nasser Arrabyee,22/06/2011

 A senior Yemeni official said Wednesday that President Saleh will take two weeks before he return from Saudi Arabia denying earlier official statements that Saleh will return Wednesday,Thursday or Friday.

The Assistant Secretary General of the ruling party Sultan Al Barakani,said president Saleh would take about two weeks before he comes back.

President Saleh is supposed to be reasonably recovered from injuries and burns he suffered in a missile  attack on his Palace on June 3. 

No one of the top aides of Saleh who were injured with him in the same attack would return from Saudi Arabia as their injuries were more serious.

Saleh's supporters all over the troubled country seem to be confident that their beloved leader is coming back despite the 6-month protests against his  33 year rule.

They enthusiastically swear that the feast they are making to celebrate Saleh's return would be documented in Guinness  Records  as the biggest feast in the world. The sky of Yemen,cities towns, and villages, was lit up for six about six hours  with bullets in what was seen like an all-out war in the night of Wednesday June 8th when Saudi officials said Saleh's surgery was finished successfully. Dozens of people were injured from the falling bullets. 

Women and children started Tuesday  to give sweets  and cookies to soldiers and security people in the streets of the capital Sanaa and some other cities to rejoice the recovery and return of Saleh. 

"We love him,  we just love him,  we'll die for him," said the 55-year old mother and house wife,Rawyah Awadh, one of hundreds of women who have already started to participate in the awaited biggest feast.

Opposition parties refuse his return and wants him only  to transfer all his power to the vice president Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi according to a US-backed and Saudi-led GCC deal.Now Hadi  is the acting president according to the constitution.

The young protesters demand a transitional council and do not recognize constitutional legitimacy and they talk about "revolutionary legitimacy", although the majority of them belong to these opposition parties who support Hadi. 

US and Saudi Arabia lead  international and regional efforts for peaceful, orderly and constitutional transfer of power to Hadi who is accepted and respected  by almost all parties.

 Writing this report was based on dozens of interviews with officials, oppositions figures, diplomats and anti-and-pro young protesters and normal people who love  president Saleh.

Sultan Al Atwani,Secretary General of the Unionist Nasserite Party, the third largest in the opposition coalition, said, "The transitional council should be the last step.some of the young people are naive and zealous."
The young protesters insist that Hadi and the remaining of the regime should go.

"Yes they have the  right to talk about the revolutionary legitimacy , but if the power is transferred to vice president and the ruling party approves it, this  will be good," Said Al Atwani.

The acting president and all officials in their meetings with opposition and Americans and Europeans insist to delay talks about power transfer until President Saleb comes back.

"We can not talk about signing while president and top officials of the State are in the hospital," said Sultan Al Barakani,Assistant Secretary General of the Ruling Party, referring to signing the GCC deal for power transfer.

Al Barakani,who survived the missile attack on the presidential Palace on June 3, said the priority now for his ruling party and opposition is to form a unity government to run the country.

"A national unity government should be formed from us and them ,fifty fifty, to  run the country for 10 months maximum and then elections," he said.
The senior official praised the role of Saudi Arabia to solve the current crisis in his country.

"Saudi Arabia is the best to resolve the problem because it has good relations with all parties," he said.

However, Saif Al Asali,economic professor,and former minister of finance, has no hope that the opposition and ruling party can do anything together after the failed assassination against Saleh and his top aides.

"The government and opposition can not meet under one ceiling after the bloodshed," said Al Asali.

"The youth should have their own entity  without the traditional leaderships of the opposition, the young people should lead themselves."

The independent young protesters blame the US and Saudi Arabia for trying to thwart their revolution.

Najeeb Abdul Rehman, a leading independent protester, said ,"
If this revolution fails,some of the protesters will go fight with Al Qaeda,and the remaining will go fight with AlHouthi rebels."

"They would blame America and Saudi Arabia for that failure and they would  side with their enemies," the leading protester added referring to Al Qaeda as the enemy of America and Al Houthi rebels as the enemy of Saudi Arabia.

Opposition leaders and young protesters  seem to be very afraid of President Saleh's return.

"Saleh  is very bewildering,  he can slap you and kiss at the same time, and  you do not know what to do,to blame him for slapping or thank him for kissing," said Mohammed Al Sadi,Assistant Secretary General of the Islamist Party, Islah.

Some western diplomats doubt about signing the GCC deal when Saleh returns.

"If Saleh kept maneuvering for four months without signing,why would he sign now after he and his senior officials were nearly killed," said the diplomat on condition of anonymity.

Some of the opposition leaders say Saudi Arabia is now doing everything to find an appropriate successor for Saleh far from the dominance of the Islamist, the brotherhood.

"The Saudi Arabia would not allow the brotherhood to rule in Yemen at all ,at all."said Hassan  Zaid,Secretary General of Al Haq Party,one of the opposition coalition party. Al Haq is the Shiite party from which leader of Al Houthi rebels, slain Hussein Al Houthi,dissented. 

"The power would not be transferred to vice president Mr Hadi  because he is close to  Ali Muhsen who is brotherhood and fundamentalist," said Zaid referring to the defected general Ali Muhsen who was mainly blamed for the wars against the Shiite rebels in Saada during 2004-2010.

"The solution is the departure of Ali Muhsen and Saleh and all traditional leaders of the oppositions parties including me," Zaid concluded.

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