Tuesday, 16 August 2011

I  will never step down without elections or  compromise, Saleh says as he packs to return to Yemen

Saleh  says he will return soon

Yemen tribesmen try to succeed in what parties fail 

 Mobilization and counter-mobilization

By Nasser Arrabyee 17/08/2011
The Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said he would not handover the power except through elections  or dialogue and compromise.

He said he would  return to Yemen soon.

"See you soon, in Sanaa," Said Saleh in a  televised speech he delivered  to a conference of  tribal leaders held in Sanaa to support him.
 Saleh's supporters fired to air live bullets and fireworks after the speech to express their happiness.

"I would not hand over the power to opportunists, war lords,and smugglers of oil," Saleh addressed his supporters from his royal residence in Riyadh. The prime minister Ali Mujawar and speaker of parliament Yahya Al Rayee,were sitting next to Saleh as he spoke.

"Dialogue is better than car bombs,attacking military camps, and mosques," said Saleh who looked and sounded normal in the forth public appearance in 10 days.

The opposition was angry from Saleh's speech. Sultan Al Atwani,one six opposition leaders said Saleh wanted to drag Yemen into civil war. And he wondered why Saudi Arabia allowed Saleh to do that. For the young people camping out in squares,they vowed to put Saleb in fair trial.

About 5000  pro-government tribal leaders from all over Yemen held Tuesday a conference in the Yemeni capital Sanaa to support the President Ali Abdullah Saleh who is preparing himself to return from Saudi Arabia.

The tribal conference comes only one day before an opposition conference to force  President Saleh to stay in Saudi Arabia where he had medical treatments from injuries he sustained in a failed assassination attempt on June 3rd,  2011.

The  Yemeni opposition parties have decided to make an umbrella council to escalate pressure on the defiant President  Saleh to step down.  

Similar councils were previously  declared by opposition groups within these parties but  failed to do anything or have any kind of  recognition.

The new thing in this council,which is supposed to be declared on Wednesday August 17th, 2011, is that it has relatively big support from defected military commanders and  tribal leaders, in addition to a  politically ambitious and wealthy  businesses man.  

This man is Hamid Al Ahmar,who has been grooming himself for presidency since 2006, and has been orchestrating and mainly financing the anti-Saleh protests since early this year. 

Hamid Al Ahmar is accused of playing an essential role in the failed assassination attempt against President Saleh and several other senior officials  early last June. 

Hamid and  a senior official from Saleh's regime exchanged accusations just  two days before such a council is declared. 

Hamid said Saleh's sons were behind the failed assassination to justify their inheritance of the power after their father.

However, the official,Sultan Al Barakani, assistant secretary general of the ruling party, said Hamid was the main accused.

"There  is no longer room for doubt that Hamid Al Ahmar  is the prime suspect in the sinful assassination attempt to which the president of the republic and a number of officials were subjected," said Al Barakani in press statements  on Monday August 15th,2011.

The results of the investigations,in which American investigators are participating, are not declared yet.

Hamid Al Ahmar and his brother Sadeq have been in military confrontation  with President Saleh's forces since last May.

 Some young  protesters are participating in the fighting which is now in a fragile truce.

The majority of Al Ahmar's  fighters came  from Hashed tribe,the country's most powerful tribe. President Saleh belongs to Hashed tribe.

Earlier this month, Sadeq  Al Ahmar , who is one of Hashed's leaders, threatened that  Saleh would not rule any more as long as he is still alive. 

And with support from the defected general Ali Muhsen,Saded claimed that all the tribes of Yemen are with him. 

General Muhsen , Saleh's cousin, belongs to Hashed  tribe as well.

To respond to Al Ahmar brothers who are mainly behind the so-called national council, tribal leaders  loyal to President Saleh from Hashed and all other tribes in Yemen held a meeting in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Monday August 15th, 2011. 

 About 5000 tribal leaders  from all over the country refused all kinds of violence and all attempts to overthrow the constitutional legitimacy. They  declares their stand with Saleh.

Like Sadeq Al Al Ahmar, they claimed that they  represent all tribesmen of Yemen.

"We are the tribal leaders of the whole  
Yemen, and we are here today to protect the constitutional legitimacy and to stand  with the armed forces," said the chairman of the tribal conference, Mohammed Bin Naji Al Shayef.

Al Shayef is the top leader of Bakil tribe, the second largest tribe after Hashed.
"We'll stand against those who refuse dialogue,and those who dream of taking the power by force," said Al Shayef whose palace is not far from Al Ahmar's palace in Al Hasaba area north of Sanaa  where fighting erupted last May between Saleh's forces and and Al Ahmar's tribesmen.

Earlier this week, the Yemeni Tv showed the President Saleh doing various political activities in the Saudi capital Riyadh after he was released from the hospital.

 In an extensive  meeting with his top aides, Saleh said he  was ready to implement a US-backed and Saudi-led GCC deal to solve the crisis if a mechanism for implementing it is found.

The meeting brought together the prime minister Ali Mujawar, and speaker of Parliament Yahya Al Rayee, who  both were  recovered from their injuries they sustained in the failed assassination attempt last June3. 

Other senior officials came from Sanaa to attend the consultative  meeting. 

Meanwhile, tensions remain high in Sanaa and many other places where  clashes happen from time to time despite all efforts exerted by the vice president Abdu Rabu Mansor Hadi to pacify the situation. 

The government called the protesters camping out at the gate of university of Sanaa to go home like those in other cities.

"We call these protesters camping out at the gate of Sanaa university to return to right path and go hone like their colleagues in other cities who left squares and went home, and it's only the wanted for security who remained," said ministry of interior on Tuesday,16th, 2011.

Some of the protesters have either joined Al Al Ahmar fighters or the defected army after they  lost hope that peaceful means would achieve their goals.

Earlier this week, the Yemeni ministry of defense warned jobless young people from joining army units led by  the defected general Ali Muhsen who supports the anti-government protests.

The ministry said in a statement  that those recruited in the first armored division (FAD)  will be illegal.

"Recruitments in the first armored division are outside the law," said the statement.

About 25 percent of the young protesters , camped out at the gate of Sanaa university since February this year,  have already joined the  first armored division of general Ali Muhsen said military sources inside  the FAD.

 The FAD headquarters is located in the area of Sanaa   university where tents  of the protesters are extended in the area between the two gates of university and FAD.

The majority of those already recruited   were students in the religious university of Al Eman which is also located in the same area. 

Al Eman university is owned and run by the cleric Abdul Majid Al Zandani,who is wanted by UN and US as a  global terrorist.  

The general Muhsen and Shiekh Al Zandani have been allies since late 1980s when they worked together for sending young people to Afghanistan for fighting the Soviet Union.

"We accepted every willing  student from Al Eman university first, and then we  accepted other young people," said an officer working in the personnel department of FAD.

" About 25 per cent of those youth camping  out around our headquarters have recruited since March," said the officer who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue.

The officer confirmed that all those  newly recruited are already working and participating in defending their colleagues,  the anti-government protesters. 

And they get paid monthly but not from the budget of the ministry of defense. 

"the salaries of all those come from the budget  of FAD, the ministry pays only for those approved by it," said the officer.

The salary they get is 50 per cent less than their counterparts in the army.

The FAD can not pay those individuals who defected from loyal units like central security and republican guards.

The ministry of defense cuts their salaries as soon as they quit their job.

However, those   who defect  from FAD are   paid immediately as soon as they get   to the camps of the republican guards.

To encourage more detections from FAD, the personal weapons of those who defect become their own possession and their salary is  immediately transferred from pay roll of FAD to the republican guards, the highly qualified and trained units led by President   Saleh's son, Ahmed.

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