July 20, 2011

U.S., Saleh Shoot at JMP Leader

Last night the Obama administration leaked “new details” of its own assassination attempt in Yemen, an overt maneuver to justify ongoing military operations in the country. Today a real assassination attempt unfolded when gunmen opened fire on the car of Mohammed Yadoumi, head of the al-Islah party. Islah forms one of six components of the oppositional Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), which has trapped itself between the regime and Yemen’s revolutionaries by approving the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) “power transfer.”

The JMP promptly responded that the shooting was an attempt to legitimize Ali Abdullah Saleh’s regime through chaos, a warning that applies equally to al-Alwaki’s “near miss.” According a statement released by the group, firing on Yadoumi’s car marked, "an attempt at escalation and to reshuffle the deck, and push the country to civil war, under the illusion that this will enable them to remain in power.”

An official with the Interior Ministry told Xinhua that the attackers were hired by the Houthis, standard propaganda from the government.

Unlike the Obama administration's “leak,” however, a positive takeaway lies within today’s “near miss” (so far it is unclear whether Yadoumi’s life was actually threatened). Whereas al-Alwaki’s active hunt signals an endless cycle of Reapers and U.S. warplanes in the southern governorates, the JMP is one step closer to breaking with the GCC’s highly unpopular initiative. Or maybe it has now reached that point. Hasan Zaid, secretary general of the oppositional Haq party, condemned the act in universal terms.

“Any attack on any senior opposition leader is a direct attack at all the leaders of the JMP," said Zaid, who has also been detained by the regime.

Rightfully viewing the shots on Yadoumi as Saleh’s response to its own transitional council, the JMP has pushed forward by announcing an August 1st deadline to name its members. The coalition may fail in uniting all of Yemen’s tribes, the Houthis, Southern Movement, urban and youth protesters - its stated objective - but its secondary mission is to “relaunch protests against Saleh.” The JMP also adhered to non-violent resistance by affirming that the government’s violent provocation will not distract the peaceful revolution.

"Committees have been set up to start dialogue with all the forces of the revolution including the [defected] military, political parties, the youth protesters, and all the forces inside and outside the country," said Mohammed al-Sabry, spokesman for the JMP's Common Forum. "Our objective is to unite all these forces to achieve the goals of the revolution and overthrow the rest of this regime."

How many revolutionaries will stick with the pariah remains uncertain, but the JMP is adapting quickly to situation at hand. Much quicker than the White House and Riyadh.

Naturally the Obama administration’s unsustainable policy in Yemen once again lands on the wrong side of democracy. Although the White House and State Department have yet to formally comment on the dual transitional councils (or Yemen’s revolution in any form), the State Department did send Janet Sanderson and Daniel Benjamin to sell what is predominately the Pentagon and CIA’s counter-terrorism to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Rather than back away from a toxic GCC proposal, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs and the State Department counter-terrorism chief issued a joint-statement declaring, “We strongly support the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative which would lead to a peaceful and orderly political transition.”

Washington's vision of a "post-Saleh" Yemen would simply drop Saleh and keep his regime.

The Obama administration still believes the JMP (and all of Yemen’s revolutionaries) should accept the GCC’s initiative when Saleh’s personal forces just attempted to eliminate one of its party leaders. Furthermore, the Common Forum, "holds the national security leadership, the head of the Republican Guards, the head of the special guards and the leader of central security responsible for this criminal event.” All of these groups have been trained and armed by U.S. Special Forces and CIA personnel, units that the Pentagon openly boasts of training as they kill and maim peaceful protesters.

Now the Pentagon might have just shot the GCC’s initiative in the crossfire. We are awaiting more details on Yadoumi’s shooting, but the last 24 hours serve as a microcosm for the disastrous state of U.S. policy in Yemen.


  1. The JMP has already declared the GCC Initiative as "finished" and this was before the attack on Saleh, and right after the refusal to sign it. In fact the JMP has declared itself no longer a party to the Initiative. Any talk of the JMP still working around the framework of the Initiative indicates lack of steadfastness of position and another backtracking in its long list of series of backtracks in "stanidng behind the protesting youth of the peaceful revolution" as it originally declared in the beginning of the protests and when it declared the GCC Initiative as over and done with. This inconsistency of position of the JMP is a serious handicap that the peaceful revolution encompassing the overwehlming majority of Yemenis, one periodically sees in the protest gatherings (which are incredibly ignored by US officials at the top echelons of the Obama Administration, and even by US Congressmen and women), most of who are not even members of any of the JMP factions. The majority of protesters are represented by various independent groupings, which have a permanent or semi permanent presence in at least one or more of the of the protest squares, with liaison carried out by a cobweb of coordinating councils. The JMP is turning out to be a tool used by the regime and both its US and Saudi sponsors and backers. They should never be allowed to take the limelight from the real protesters in Yemen - the grass roots of the masses in the Yemeni population, who are incidentally just as fed up with the uncalled for and careless cheap manuevering by the JMP.

  2. I agree that the JMP still couched its language around the GCC instead of dumping it entirely. The JMP cannot speak of a transitional council and the GCC in the same breath. It needs to pick one - and only one real option exists to stay political viable.