Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Yemen After Saleh's Show

It is time for all opposition powers to back the transitional council and take the youthful revolution in the country to the next level

By Khaled A. Ziadi

There have been many violent incidents in Yemen following the appearance of Ali Abdullah Saleh on television looking frail and burnt. The most recent incident was the attempt to assassinate Mohammad Abdullah Al Yadoumi, the head of the Yemeni Congregation for the Reform party (Islah), but the irony is the ongoing silence by the international community, including Arab and international media which failed to cover the revolution's development of young people in Yemen, as if it were a political manoeuvre behind close doors.

If Yemen were in another location, like Syria or Iraq, what would western reaction be? If Turkey were a neighbour of Yemen, surely the US, the European Union, and the UN Security Council would take a more resolute action to resolve the crisis in Yemen. Turkey as well would not accept to be part of the political bargaining by Saleh's regime and the Joint Meetings Parties (JMP), which have been slow and have colluded to achieve their interests over the demands of the young revolutionaries.

It appears the ruling party including Saleh's family is still controlling the political game to some extent, as they are betting on prolonging the political crisis in Yemen in order to create an economic disaster. Despite the delay in forming the transitional council by young revolutionaries (which was announced on July 16), this has nevertheless created major concern among members of Saleh's regime and has prompted the ruling party to defend its position as the legal ruling party and declare the transitional council as a coup against the state of law.

Mixed reactions to the revolution's transitional council declaration raised a debate of the importance and efficiency of such a declaration, and whether or not it was the right time to come out with it. It certainly was a bold step from the youth groups even though it might fizzle out as the vice-president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, has failed to seize the opportunity to save the country by taking a tough decision once and for all and facilitating the transition of power — in accordance with the Yemeni constitution.

Common goal

Hopefully members of the transitional council, 17 in total, nominated by the revolution council will do their duty towards their nation and become the leaders of Yemen's revolution. There's an urgent need to form a transitional council as it is the only option for legitimate representation of the revolution in terms of negotiations with the international community.

It is clear from the list that all selected nominees who were chosen by the revolution council group are national figures among them former president of south Yemen, Ali Nasser Mohammad, and ex-prime minister, Haider Abu Baker Al Attas. But do the nominees have the power or the support required to represent the new era and face all future challenges? Some of the nominees were quite surprised at being selected and some even said they weren't consulted to begin with! At the same time other nominees showed courage to carry out their duties and stand by this important declaration, and considered it an initiative to be developed by all other opposition groups to reach the common goal of the revolution.

Meanwhile, if it is true that the JMP, a coalition of the main opposition parties, and military leaders support the revolution why haven't they spoken up and clarified their stance immediately? This was necessary for the success of the initiative by the revolution council. It seems that they are silent because they were also surprised by the list which does not include some tribal leaders such as the Al Ahmar family or maybe because the list doesn't serve their agenda.

Young people in ‘Change Square' in Yemen proved that they are able to change the course of events with their statements, and proved that the revolution will not bow to pressure from domestic or foreign powers. I believe this declaration was clever enough to restore the revolution's liveliness and to remind us all that it is the revolution of young people who stood bare chested in the face of injustice, and is not a revolution of parties with narrow interests that compromise the blood of the martyrs. It is time for all opposition powers to back the transitional council or even add their list of names to it, and take the transitional council to the next level.

This commentary was published in The GULF NEWS on 26/07/2011

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