Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Possible scenarios in Yemen crisis

By Nasser Arrabyee 07/06/2011

Four possible scenarios are likely to happen in Yemen after the wounded President Ali Abdullah Saleh left the country to Saudi Arabia for treatment.

The suspended US-backed and Saudi-led GCC deal for peaceful and orderly transition remains the essential thing for the two best scenarios.

The worst two scenarios will be related to Saleh’s return or not return from Saudi Arabia after his recovery.

The first best one will happen if Saudi and American officials, now the main players who have more interests in resolving the crisis, succeed in convincing the shrewd and wily Saleh to announce his step down from Saudi Arabia according to the GCC deal with some slight but necessary modifications.

The second best scenario is that Saleh recovers and returns to Yemen within two weeks as Yemeni and Saudi officials expected when Saleh agreed to be treated in the advanced hospitals of the neighbouring kingdom.

If the this scenario happens it should only mean that Saleh will only announce the peaceful, orderly and constitutional transition from his Palace in presence of the opposition leaders as he demanded when he backed away in the last minute from signing the GCC deal on May 22, 2011.

The less worst scenario would happen if Saleh returned and started to use his skills in manoeuvring and exploiting the anger of a lot of Yemenis over the missile attack that targeted him and his top aides while praying in the mosque inside his Palace on Friday June 3rd, 2011.

This scenario will not stop the increasing violence.

The worst ever scenario would happen in two cases: If Saleh returns to take revenge for what happened to him and to the most senior officials of the State. This means an all out civil war.

The second case in this worst ever scenario can happen if the opposition took the power by force ignoring the millions of people who still support Saleh and his party for many reasons.

Taking power by force is not easy as long as Saleh’s sons and nephews and brothers are still leading the majority of the army and all the security agencies.

The Saudi and American leaderships, who still insist on peaceful and orderly transfer of power from Saleh to his deputy Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, are working day and night to ensure this power transition as soon as possible.

The Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul Azeez sponsored a cease-fire between the Saleh’s security forces and the armed tribesmen of the opposition tribal leaders from Al Ahmar family.

The most important tribal figure in this family, is Hamid Al Ahmar, the politically ambitious Islamist billionaire who is accused of orchestrating and mainly funding the anti-Saleh protests. Hamid is also accused of being behind the missile attack on Saleh’s palace last Friday.

The US ambassador in Sanaá Gerlad Feierstien,is seen by many observers as the main player in the Yemen crisis as he started holding meetings with all political parties and even defected tribal and military figures.

The brave US diplomat seems to be doing his best to bring all parties to a compromise that will lead to peaceful and orderly transition of power. But the task is not easy.

“It’s really very complicated task,” said a diplomat from American diplomat on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to talk to press.

The diplomat said the American efforts are focussed on convincing Saleh to transfer the power to his deputy according to the Yemeni constitution. And this peaceful and orderly transition needs the consent of Saleh and it can happen while Saleh still in Saudi Arabia, according to the diplomat.

However, the diplomat said, “Some officials say it’s wrong to transfer the power before Saleh returns.”

Since midnight Saturday June 4th, 2011, when President Saleh left Yemen for Saudi Arabia for treating the injuries he suffered in the assassination attempt, the Vice President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi has been acting as president and supreme commander of the armed forces according to the country’s constitution.

However, the opposition say Mr. Hadi can not exercise all the powers including the security and military while sons and nephews and brothers of Saleh are still leading the army and security.

The Islamist-dominated opposition coalition which includes Islamists, Socialist, and Nasserites (Arab-pan nationalists) said Tuesday June 7th, after meetings with the US ambassador and European ambassadors, they would support Mr. Hadi only if all powers are transferred to him.

The opposition threatens to escalate and form a transitional council if Saleh does not transfer all powers to his deputy Mr. Hadi.

“Saleh Should have issued a decree, not oral instructions, to transfer all his powers to his deputy before he went to Saudi,”said Naif Al Kanis, one of the leading members of the opposition coalition.

Some politicians still say the solution for getting from the crisis is in the hand of Saleh.

“ Saleh still has the solution to avoid more bloodshed, he should announce his step down, and this will be the perfect solution,” said Ali Al Amrani, member of the Parliament who resigned from the ruling party.

The MP Abdul Muez Dabwan, from the Islamist party, the problem is political and constitutional in transition of the power.

“The security and military commanders who receive direct instructions from Saleh are the most important hurdles to the peaceful transition,” Dabwan said in obvious reference to Saleh’s sons and nephews who lead the army and security.

The young protesters, who celebrated and rejoiced after Saleh was injured and left to Saudi Arabia, refuse transferring the power to Hadi saying he is a part of the regime.

Although the majority of these young protesters belong to the opposition coalition especially the Islamist party, Islah that mainly leads the protests, they say Mr Hadi is not legitimate, and constitutional transfer of power is meaningless in the light of what they call “ the revolutionary legitimacy”.

Observers believe that if a deal agreed by all parties is not reached, the country will slide into a civil and this would be a golden chance for Al Qaeda that already started to declare Islamic Emirates in some provinces in the south of the country.

About 30 Al Qaeda fighters and 10 soldiers at least were killed on Tuesday June 7th, in fierce battles between Al Qaeda and army around the city of Zinjubar in the southern province of Abyan which was declared as Islamic Emirate late last month. The army is determined to retake the city, according to military officials.

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