| The Last Circumstance in Yemen
|Nebahat Tanrıverdi, ORSAM Research Assistant
| The protests and clashes between security forces and demonstrators pass to a new stage with the rocket attack to Presidential Palace and injury of President Ali Abdullah Saleh on 3 June and going to Riyadh for cure on 5 June. The future of Gulf Cooperation Council’s mediator initiative which has been refused by Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh several times, of the demands and pressures coming from opposition groups for forming a interim government, of the decisions of loyal to Saleh in key state positions and of politic situation of Vice President Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi who took the charge in the absence of President Ali Abdullah Saleh will be decisive in this process. The four months protests which are inspired by the regime change in Tunisia and Egypt still continue after the President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s departure for cure from country to Saudi Arabia. Besides the spreading Friday demonstrations to the most places of the country, there are rumors that Al Qaida takes the control of some cities which alarmed the international and regional actors, bring up the Yemen issue on the agenda in the face of security and stability. (1) Many civilians lost their life because of the clashes between the security forces and demonstrators and a bloody strife began between the state and Hased tribal federation which is very influential in Yemen. The attempts of GCC to resolve the crisis in Yemen that constitute a high threat potential to security of Gulf region remain inconclusive with refusal of President Saleh. On 22 May, armed Saleh supporters surrounded GCC secretary general Abdullatif al-Zayani and Western envoys inside the UAE embassy in Sanaa, who plans to meet with President Saleh, in so the mediator initiative hold by GCC was put on the shelf. The main content of the transition deal covers Saleh’s assign his power to the Vice President, and his resign within 30 days, formation of coalition government under the leadership of opposition groups and election of new President within 60 days. This deal which was composed by six GCC countries and supported by both EU and USA and also refused three times by Saleh is once again brought to agenda after Saleh’s departure the country. (2) Many people with President Saleh were hurt by the rocket attacks against Presidential Palace on 3 June. (3) On 5 June Saleh went to Riyadh for cure. (4) Together with the fact that Saudi authorities neither confirm nor deny the rumors about the Saleh’s health situation, the general assumption is his health is not as good as the Yemen officials have declared. This surmise is supported with the lack of any visual record after the attack while the audio record served to the media, and Saleh’s evacuation to Riyadh for treatment. On the other side, the official statement which declares the return of Saleh to the country in a short time is deepening the ambiguity of the situation. (5) Saleh’s evacuation to Riyadh on 5 June was met with enthusiasm of protesters in Yemen. Al Ahmar group confirmed ceasefire and Yemeni officials declared that they will start to negotiate with opposition groups just after the Saleh away in Saudi Arabia. (6) Also EU and USA stated their support for regime change in the country after the recent developments. On 6 June, Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State has called for an "orderly, peaceful and democratic immediate transition" of power. Similarly, Catherine Ashton, the European Union's foreign policy chief, said she hoped Saleh would let his country "move on" while he sought medical treatment in Saudi Arabia. (7) At the same day massive demonstrations were held in several Yemeni cities including the capital Sana'a, Taiz and Dhamar with antigovernment protesters urging to form a transitional council. In Taiz the demonstrations turned clashes between security forces and protesters. Also, On Monday, Al-Ahmer's and other tribe’s offices and houses were attacked by the army. The Yemeni officials deny the rumors that they lost the control of Taiz. (8) The negations which suppose to organize since 5 June have not started yet. Mohammed Qahtan, the opposition Joint Meeting Parties spokesperson stated that the JMP did not meet with Vise President Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi but he added that they will be welcomed the vice president’s role in trying to end the crises; are expected to meet with the vice president in the next two days, and are ready for dialogue in order to save the country from more bloodshed on 7 June. (9) It is discussed that the Saleh’s evacuation to Riyadh gave a theoretic opportunity for peace deal which is offered by GCC initiative. This reading of recent developments directly shaped the demonstrations to urge to form a transitional council and also is supported by many regional analysts. However, the power of Vise President Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi has been seen limited and inadequate for peace process offered by GCC. That was appear in the developments that Government Spokesman’s declaration which stated that Saleh will return to country in very soon future; and the continuing operations of security forces against tribes and opposition groups can be read as a sign that the Saleh’s policies against protests have not been leaved yet. Additionally Saleh’s close relatives still post the key positions in security forces and army and that form another obstacle for the peace process in Yemen. Saleh's son, Ahmed, chief of the presidential guard and has been considered as potential successor of Saleh, has taken over the palace and won't let Mansour Hadi in. All these show the Mansour Hadi’s limitations in Yemen politics. (10) It is considered that Saudi official would press Ali Abdullah Saleh to accept the GCC’s deal for transition. However even Saleh’s confirmation of deal does not mean that Saleh’s relatives and son will agree on this solution. A tense debate and process is waiting for Yemen while EU, USA and GCC increase their initiatives for deal.
Notes: 1- Yemen'deki Çatışma ve El Kaide, Sercan Doğan, ORSAM, http://www.orsam.org.tr/tr/yazigoster.aspx?ID=2017
2- Saudis may be key to a Yemen solution: analysts, DAWN, http://www.dawn.com/2011/06/08/saudis-may-be-key-to-a-yemen
3- Saleh Hurt as Shell Lands inside Presidential Palace, Yemen Post, http://yemenpost.net/Detail123456789.aspx?ID=100&SubID=36
4- Government Says Saleh in Saudi for Normal Check Ups, Yemen Post, http://yemenpost.net/Detail123456789.aspx?ID=100&SubID=3650
5- Is Saleh gone for good?, Aljazeera, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/06/2011654303
5728416.html ; Yemen Uncertainty Grows; Leader’s Burns Called Severe, NYTimes, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/08/world/middleeast/08saleh.html
6- Tenuous truce in Yemen amid uncertainty, Aljazeera, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/06/2
7- US calls for 'immediate transition' in Yemen, Al Jazeera, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/06/20116620288
97374.html ; Yemen, and the trouble with 'democratic transition', The Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jun/07/yemen-politic
8- Massive Demos Urge to Form Transitional Council in Yemen, Yemen Post, http://yemenpost.net/Detail123456789.aspx?ID=3&SubID=3663&Ma
inCat=3 ; 10 Dead in Missile Attack against House of Hamid Al-Ahmer in Sana'a, Yemen Post, http://yemenpost.net/Detail123456789.aspx?ID=100&SubID=3648&
9- Opposition Did not meet Vice President, Yemen Post, http://yemenpost.net/Detail123456789.aspx?ID=3&SubID=3666&M
10- Yemen, and the trouble with 'democratic transition', The Guardian.