This Op/Ed was published in The Arab Times on 22/05/2011
Leaders of the joint parties in Yemen want to drag their country into chaos and destruction as reflected in their attitude towards the crisis. This is why the crisis remains unresolved and continues to pose a grave threat to the whole nation, not only the individual parties.
These parties have accused President Ali Abdullah Saleh of maneuvering the situation to buy time, while the reality is that each faction has its own stand, voice, issues and destructive methods. Some of them have stressed the need to put the president on trial; others called for his resignation and another group said the street protests will not stop unless he steps down. They have forgotten the fact that the president also belongs to a party, which has taken a stand on the peaceful transition of power to prevent Yemen from reaching an impasse.
No amount of pressure from neighboring nations or anybody will make Saleh change his mind. Right from the start, he has made it clear that he wants to transfer power peacefully through the constitutional institutions. His adversaries, however, have been issuing provocative statements, most of which have been bordering on the personal, yet the president remains popular among the people and he stands for true democracy that means following the will of the majority.
Saleh represents the majority but he must also protect the rights of the opposition minority, which is bent on imposing its dictatorial ideas. It has continued to threaten to march to the presidential palace and ministries to control these institutions. This is not part of democracy; it is an attempt to instigate chaos and push the country towards destruction.
It is obvious that some groups do not want Saleh to remain in power. Regardless of their number or strength, they cannot create a power vacuum and throw the country into the unknown. Should Saleh jump on his horse or plane and run away from the country through the hills between Saudi and Yemen, or through Somali and other neighboring countries? If he does, he will leave millions of supporters who have been protesting for him. Will the minority rule over the majority or should they also follow the president and leave the country?
The tens of clashing ideas and ideologies presented in the gathering of the opposition parties should not determine the fate of the country or forced down into the throats of the people just because they can cause chaos on the streets. These parties cannot even agree amongst themselves on a particular agenda for the future of Yemen, so allowing them to have their way will only push the country to the brink of collapse.
No matter how much we agree or disagree with Saleh, we cannot deny the fact that he has ruled for 33 years, during which he doused tension several times and prevented sectarian, tribal and secession wars that would have turned Yemen into another Somalia. He has been able to keep his country united and solved many internal conflicts that would have led into wars in which each militia leader would have tried to outsmart the other. He has strengthened relations with several countries, but these achievements mean nothing to the minority that has been demanding for his ouster. They do not even care if these achievements will be destroyed. After all, they have been trying to implement destructive agendas against the future, stability and international relations of the country.
The Yemeni opposition wants to rule without democratic elections. It has yet to present a roadmap for the future and it has been delaying the signing of the Gulf initiative. We have mandated Saleh to sign the pact, because it will serve as a platform for the peaceful transition of power through an election for the people to choose their president. This is better than allowing the country to fall into the same pit as Tunisia and Egypt, and Syria will soon join them if the situation gets worse.
At this point, we want to remind everybody about a popular saying, “You will never know my worth until you try someone else”.