November 12, 2011

West/Gulf Powers Enabling Yemen’s Chaos

In what has become its own weekend tradition in Yemen, Vice President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi issued his latest defense of Ali Abdullah Saleh’s regime. Responding to faux Western pressure and ignoring Friday’s “No Immunity For Martyrs,” Yemen’s 17-year VP went about his usual business negotiating a “mechanism” for the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) initiative.

"We all have a task represented in translating U.N. Security Council resolution 2014 into action on the ground, and this is a task the ruling party and the opposition must shoulder together.”

Western diplomats lapped up Hadi’s pledges - some six months in the making - as he tried to match Saleh’s firebrand rhetoric against Yemen’s opposition. Widely viewed as a puppet of the regime and foreign powers, Hadi claims that the GCC’s initiative would have been signed by now if the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) “sincerely” cooperated. Saleh committed no destructive acts or massacres - he was simply protecting Yemen’s constitution and “unity.”

Over 75% of Yemenis “have no relationship to what is happening and are not affiliates to any political parties.”

Apparently the revolutionaries who swarm Yemen’s cities should thank the JMP for obstructing the GCC’s unpopular initiative. Not only is the proposal legally invalid - Yemen isn’t part of the GCC and UN immunity violates international law - the majority of Yemen’s pro-democracy protesters reject appeasement with Saleh’s regime. A “unity” government formed by the ruling General People’s Congress (GPC) and JMP would oversee an “early election," two codewords for corrupting the revolution.

He said that 85% of negotiations have been achieved, a statistic with no practical use other than to manipulate foreign impressions.

Even the JMP, which lacks credibility to speak on the GCC’s intiative, criticized Hadi’s statements in the middle of supporting the GCC’s efforts. Yasin Said Numan, head of Yemen’s Socialist Party, told Reuters from Dubai, "What does it mean to talk about a mechanism when the other side has not signed the initiative yet? They must sign it first and then we can talk about its implementation. I believe the whole world needs to put real pressure on the other party to sign the accord.”

Numan would hedge his stance by adding, "Diplomacy has only is encouraging the regime to commit massacres, like the ugly one that happened in Taiz yesterday.”

Following the worn trail of Yemen’s 33-year strongman, Hadi rejected accusations that government forces were responsible for ongoing assaults in Sana’a and Taiz. His statements followed a warning from the Defense Ministry, which promised to “defend” the country against “subversive armed elements” of the JMP. Although armed elements of Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar and the JMP have impeded Yemen’s revolutionaries, they share no blame in Saleh’s ruthless tactics. In addition to nationwide attacks on Friday, the U.S.-trained Republican Guard opened fire on prayers in Taiz, killing women and children.

According to the Legal Committee and forum of Yemeni lawyers in Sana’a, “shelling residential areas, women, children, elderly men, freedom square, and everyplace in Taiz is a defiance to the UNSC’s resolution.”

Yemen’s National Revolutionary Council and many youth coalitions condemned the attacks before turning on the international community’s leniency.

“The silence of the international community, UN and human right organizations is only encouraging Saleh to continue his hysteric revenge against his own people,” Yemen’s Coordinating Council of the Youth Revolution of Change (CCYRC) warned in an emergency press release. “This silence is increasingly being perceived by Yemeni people as being deliberate and that the international community is in fact backing the regime.”

CCYRC joined Yemen’s vast revolutionary network in calling on “the honest - only the honest - international community to take urgent and serious measures against Saleh’s regime.” Western and Gulf media continue to float rumors of an asset freeze to push Saleh’s signature onto the GCC’s initiative, and oppositional figure Mohammed Abulahoum returned from Washington with “good news” after consulting with U.S. officials. Unfortunately the majority of evidence reveals this maneuver to be a scam. Persistence avocation of the GCC’s initiative is a dead giveaway; foreign powers ideally seek to move Hadi into Saleh’s position, where he would maintain authority over Yemen’s security forces.

The GPC has also attempted to amend the proposal to more favorable terms, such as allowing Saleh to remain as “honorary president” until a “snap election.” The odds of manipulation increase in proportion to how soon a presidential vote is held.

Abulahoum claimed that “the US administration has been very understanding,” when nothing is further from the truth. “Financial sanctions” appear to be a pure setup, and the U.S. State Department reinforced its disconnect in Yemen by issuing another hollow statement. Condemning the violence “by all parties” - a statement out of Saleh’s playbook - spokeswoman Victoria Nuland called for a “prompt investigation into the circumstances of these attacks and for those responsible to be brought to justice.” Because self-policing is so popular in Yemen and Bahrain.

“If President Saleh cares about Yemen's future and the well-being of the Yemeni people, he must immediately initiate a full transfer of power that allows early presidential elections to be held within the framework of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) transition initiative. We call on him to fulfill his promises without delay. Only then can the Yemeni people come together to address the enormous challenges facing their country.”

Yemen’s revolutionaries are already preparing for the next phase in their struggle - the GCC’s signing. They view their situation as parallel to Egypt’s: cutting off Saleh’s head may leave his military intact within Hadi’s body. Foreign powers have falsely positioned themselves on the side of Yemen’s revolutionaries, and the UN itself is in danger of committing irreparable damage.

Few Yemenis expect Riyadh and its Gulf satellites to promote their cause. Until Western powers, specifically Washington, drop their support for Saleh’s regime and the GCC’s futile initiative, they will only fuel Yemen’s instability.

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