The Obama administration is reportedly preparing to admit President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen into the United States for medical treatment. It is not an easy call. But admitting Mr. Saleh, under strict conditions, offers the best hope for speeding his exit from power and ending the repression that has cost hundreds of Yemeni lives.Compare with the more conservative Washington Post’s rejection of Saleh’s visa, which also supports the GCC’s power-sharing agreement.
We understand why the administration has moved cautiously. It does not want to be seen as giving sanctuary to a bloody dictator — one who previously curried Washington’s favor by cooperating in the fight against Al Qaeda — or to give Mr. Saleh an overseas platform from which he can stir up more trouble for Yemen. And it does not want a replay of 1979, when Iran’s ayatollahs used the excuse of Washington’s admission of the deposed shah for medical treatment to orchestrate the seizure of the American Embassy and capture of American diplomats.
The arguments for admitting Mr. Saleh are still persuasive. Most important of all, with Mr. Saleh out of the country, Yemen will have a better chance to hold credible presidential elections, now scheduled for February. While Mr. Saleh’s departure to the United States does not guarantee a fair vote or a peaceful outcome, his continued presence in Yemen makes one almost impossible.
All this year, Yemenis have risked their lives demanding an end to Mr. Saleh’s 33 years of corrupt authoritarianism. Mr. Saleh has repeatedly promised reform and then failed to deliver. After he was badly wounded in a bomb explosion in June, Mr. Saleh left for treatment in Saudi Arabia and many hoped he would not come back. Months later he did, and the abuses continue.
As news circulated this week of his possible departure, Yemeni views were divided. Some wanted him gone as soon as possible. Others bridled that he might escape justice. Many Yemenis would like to see Mr. Saleh eventually stand trial for his many bloody crimes. And Washington should not grant Mr. Saleh permanent asylum, which could shield him from future prosecution. Getting him out of Yemen right now increases the chances that his country will finally be able to move beyond his repressive rule.
December 27, 2011
NYT Continues Infowar Against Yemen’s Revolution
After a misfired attempt to spin Ali Abdullah Saleh’s vacation in America, The New York Times’ editorial board fires a second blast of propaganda to defend itself and the White House. Full support for the Gulf Cooperation Council included: