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Yemen's Dictator, Saleh, Still Resistant Playing Tricks to Stay in Power, as More Forces Join the Revolution

November 20, 2011

Signing GCC deal in both Riyadh and Sana’a

By Nasser Arrabyee & Zaid al-Alaya'a
Yemen Observer, Nov 18, 2011 - 10:17:43 PM

The signing on the GCC deal and its implementation mechanism would take place early next week in both the Saudi capital Riyadh and the Yemeni capital Sana’a, said government sources on Thursday.

The initial signing would happen in Riyadh and then the final would be in Sana’a. The Vice President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi would sign both documents for the government side, the sources said.

It's been one week now since the UN envoy arrived to Yemen to end the 10-month long political crisis.

In the first week of his current sixth round, Jamal Benomar has achieved very little, but still seemed determined and optimistic to achieve more before he briefs the Security Council on November 21st, 2011.

On Tuesday November 15th, Benomar discussed with President Ali Abdullah Saleh in the presidential palace in Sana’a the steps of transferring the power according to the internationally and regionally supported deal which was brokered by the Saudi-led six nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council, GCC.

In the meeting Saleh said he is sticking to the GCC and the UNSC resolution 2014 which urged the conflicting parties to implement the GCC deal.

Benomar said the UN resolution 2014 calls for a compromised political solution based on the GCC deal. The political solution is an early presidential elections with the opposition and ruling party agreeing on one candidate.

This candidate would most likely be the current vice president Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi.

However, leaders of the Islamist-led opposition parties are still outside Yemen until late Tuesday despite the repeated calls for them to come back from Benomar, US and EU ambassadors. However, they are expected to get back and meet Benomar before he leave Sana’a on Saturday November 19th, 2011, for New York to brief the UN Security Council on what he achieved.

Benomar said the international community would condemn any party that would not stop violence and violation of human rights. He also said there would no guarantees for any violator of human rights and freedoms.

He regretted the continuation of violence from the armed conflicting parties which caused a lot of sufferings to civilians. He said he and UN is against violence from any party.

President Saleh said he is ready to step down within 90 days maximum if his deputy reached a scheduled mechanism for implementing the GCC deal.

"I am not clinging to power, whoever clings to power is a mad," Saleh said on Monday in televised statements.

But Saleh said without reaching an agreement on how and when to implement the GCC deal, Yemenis will go to an all-out civil war.

Two important and controversial issues faced the UN envoy since he arrived last week.

The ruling party wanted the GCC initiative to be signed simultaneously with its implementation mechanism while the opposition wanted President Saleh or his deputy to sign the GCC first and then its implementation mechanism signed in Riyadh later.

The ruling party wanted the leaders of the opposition to get back from outside Yemen to finalize the last details of the implementation mechanism of the GCC. To find a middle point, the signing on the two documents (GCC deal and its implementation mechanism) might happen in Riyadh and Sana’a. The initial signing would happen in Riyadh and then the final would be in Sana’a. The Vice President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi would sign both documents for the government side.

The secretary general of the socialist party, Yassin Saeed Noman, secretary general of the Islamist party, Abdul Wahab Al Ansi,and chairman of the national council, Mohammed BaSundwa are still mobilizing support outside Yemen since middle of October and they do not want to get back until the GCC is signed despite the American and European calls for them to get back.

The ruling party also wants guarantees from opposition or from international community to end protests as soon as the national government is formed according to the implementation mechanism of the GCC.

The opposition keeps saying their protesters have the right to demonstrate and sit in regardless of any agreement between the parties.

Furthermore, there are three considerable groups who completely refuse the GCC deal as a solution for the Yemeni crisis.

In south, the southern separatist movement group refuses the GCC deal and describes it as a northern issue that has nothing to do with them.

The Shiite rebels of al-Houthi in the north also refuse the GCC deal as something that excludes them and enhances the persecution from the sunni groups from which they have been complaining.

The GCC deal is believed to be in favor of the historic opponents of the Shiite al-Houthi group.

The sunni Islamist party, Islah and the defected general Ali Muhsen, who is very close to Islah and who led six wars against al-Houthi, are the historic opponents of al-Houthi group.

Al-Houthi group is the second largest and influential group after Islah that dominates the Yemen main opposition coalition which includes Islamists, Socialists and Nasserites.

Benomar, the UN special envoy to Yemen visited Yemen for the 6th time this week as he continues his efforts to promote a peaceful solution to the country's ongoing crisis.

He is due to write up a report on the situation on the ground in a few days as provisioned by the 2014 UN Security Council resolution.

Benomar expressed his disappointment and sadness at a press conference in regards to the armed clashes which took place in the southern city of Taiz and led to the death of innocent civilians, amongst whom women and children.
"We are concerned over the suffering that Yemeni people continue to endure in the face of so much violence, electricity black-out, fuel penury and water shortages. Always it is women, children and elderly who have to bear the blunt of it all," said Benomar.

He further added: "The UNSC clearly stated that Yemen needed to found a solution to its political deadlock based on the GCC brokered proposal. It is time for leaders in Yemen to work hard at finding a way out which will end the current situation. This agreement has to be conducted and reached through a political process led by Yemenis as our job is only to facilitate the negotiations and ease the way for all parties involved."

Benomar stressed that he had conducted a series of meetings with the different political factions, social figures and civil society organizations as well as other groups in the hope to help unlock the stalemate. The UN envoy added that the conversation was still ongoing, saying that he was hoping that Yemenis will soon reach a compromise.

"We made contacts with several members of the Joint Meeting Parties as well as its members who are abroad. By keeping the communications channels open we are hoping to speed up the negotiation process, reaching an agreement soon. We stress that all parties involved in the surge of violence and all those responsible of human rights violations will be held accountable.
The UNSC resolution was balanced and we will continue our work, urging all parties to respect international conventions.

In regards to the mechanisms of transfer, there had been an agreement on the general aspects of the matter. Essentially questions relating to the transitional period were agreed upon in my presence.
We can therefore say that there has been some great advancement within the country's political process.

Furthermore, all sides agreed on the next presidential elections candidates.

All parties need now to continue their mutual efforts as only a political solution could end Yemen's ongoing crisis, as stated clearly by the UNSC. "
In response to a question put forward by the Yemen Observer regarding the involvement of all sides of the political arena in any given agreement, Benomar responded that indeed the situation in Yemen was rather complicated since political parties were legions and that it was this very fact which was making the situation in Yemen so intricate and delicate to deal with.
He noted that there were many sides to the conflicts which were shaking Yemen, with armed militia loyal to different groups opposing the government forces.
"There is the matter of Arhab in the north, the secessionist movement in the south and the problem of al-Qaeda in Abyan of course," said Benomar.

He said that he wanted to stress here is that the political process towards a solution can only be achieved if all sides agree and if all sides are included within the dialogue. So there has to be a wide participation.

There is a strong need for a broad national dialogue, it is not enough for the GPC and the JMP to hold talks, all parties within the nation need to be included in whatever decision will be taken.

He said that they also hope that the re-formulation of the Constitution scheduled for the transitional period will involve all sides until common grounds are reached. "We hope that it would be an opportunity to end a number of current issues.
It will be a historical chance for Yemenis."

Citizens in Yemen are suffering as a result of this political crisis, as there have been many human rights violations on all sides, there is a humanitarian crisis and a great number of families have been displaced in many areas for fighting is ongoing. All this could end quickly if a political solution is found.

"This is a country with a special history, culture, complex tribal structure and the solution for the Yemeni crisis can only be a Yemeni solution this is from the reality of this country. That's why we were very careful in terms of our role that is very much a supportive role, a facilitation role. It is the Yemenis who will need to make the hard decision on how they are going to live with each other on how they are going to build the future," Benomar told the Yemen Observer.

From March to this month, hundreds of people were killed and injured in fierce battles between Islah and Houthi in Al Jawf, Saada and Hajja provinces. Each group wants to control as much as possible of these provinces in the absence of the central government because of the current unrest.

On Monday November 14th, 2011, for instance, 10 people from both sides were killed after al-Houthi fighters arrested and killed a suicide bomber allegedly from Islah who tried to blow himself up in a big group of Al Houthi followers who were celebrating their sacred annual day of Al-Ghadeer in the area of Matoon, in al-Jawf province, north east of Yemen.

The third group that refuses the GCC deal is al-Qaeda. This terrorist group denies both the opposition and the government and described them as the "agents of Americans, the enemies of Muslims and Islam".

In the areas under their control as Taliban-Style Islamic Emirates in the south of the country, al-Qaeda whips, cuts hands, and executes as punishments for anyone who violates what they call Shariah law

Yemen's Saleh warns his opponents against attacking government forces

SANAA, Nov. 19, 2011 (Xinhua) --

Yemeni dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh on Saturday warned his opponents that the response would be "harsh and decisive" if the latter continue to attack the Republican Guard forces.

Saleh made the warning in a statement during his inspection visit to the 4th Brigade Republican Guards in the suburb of Sanaa.

"We warned the opposition-led defected army and dissident armed tribesmen against repeating aggressions on the military bases of the Republican Guards in the districts of Arhab, Samaa, Frijah, Bait Dahra, Nihm and Naqeel bin Ghailan (in northern Sanaa province)," the statement, carried by the official Saba news agency, quoted Saleh as telling the loyalist troops.

"We tell them that's enough ... Our response will be harsh and decisive," Saleh added.

Saleh said that he supports the political change, but he is against violence carried out by the defected army and dissident armed tribesmen.

"Yes, ... we support change against all corrupted political forces and we at the presidential office are ready to make sacrifices for the country, but you (Republican Guards) will stay on even if we step down, because your are the power, you are the safety valve of the homeland," Saleh said.

The Yemeni government has been in the grip of a 10-month-long political crisis triggered by mass protests demanding an end to Saleh's 33-year rule.

Editor: yan

Senior security officer killed by gunmen in southeast Yemen

ADEN/SANAA, Nov. 19, 2011 (Xinhua) --

A Yemeni senior security police officer was shot dead on Saturday afternoon in attack by unidentified gunmen in the southeastern province of Hadramout, a security official said.

Two unidentified gunmen on a motorbike opened heavy fire on a military vehicle, killing a high-ranking security police officer in al-Mukalla city, the provincial capital of Hadramout province, a local security official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

"Major Seaid Lardhi, director of the Criminal Investigation of Mukalla, was shot dead by two masked attackers near a crowded public market in the central city," the official said, adding that "he was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead shortly afterwards."

He added that a bodyguard of Lardhi was wounded with a gunshot by the militants who then escaped the scene.

The attack bore the hallmarks of the al-Qaida terrorist group, according to the official.

Hadramout province, some 794 km southeast of Sanaa, witnessed sporadic shoot-outs and motorbike attacks targeting security and intelligence officials during the past few months as government authorities usually accuse al-Qaida militants.

Fears mounted that al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) may exploit the upheaval that have been rattling the impoverished country since late January to expand its foothold.

Editor: yan

Yemen's Saleh files case against opposition for presidential palace attack

SANAA, Nov. 18 (Xinhua) --

Yemeni dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh' s office said Friday that it is filing a case against members of the opposition and defected army for the June 3 bomb attack on the presidential compound to the public prosecution, official Saba news agency reported.

Saba gave no further details, but Saleh's aides have earlier charged opposition's powerful tribal leader Sadiq al-Ahmar and his brother Hameed, as well as defected General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar with masterminding the attack that killed at least 13 high-ranking military and government officials and injured 87 others, including Saleh. However, the opposition coalition denied the accusation on Aug. 7.

The move came hours after the opposition leaders reiterated their stance to the visiting UN envoy Jamal bin Omar that Saleh should sign the UN-backed initiative for power transfer before resuming any bilateral dialogue.

Meanwhile, the opposition accused Saleh's forces of killing two bodyguards of dissident Sheikh Himyar al-Ahmar, a brother of Sadiq al-Ahmar, in Sufan district in northern Sanaa on Friday, according to the opposition media.

The UN envoy is now trying to persuade the 33-year ruler to sign the UN-backed Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative to transfer power peacefully and end violence.

Bin Omar was expected to leave Yemen late on Friday to present his report on the progress of implementing the UN resolution 2014 to the Security Council, which was issued on Oct. 21 and called on Saleh to sign the GCC initiative.

Editor: yan

Yemen's Saleh sacks defected generals in initial reshuffle

SANAA, Nov. 17, 2011 (Xinhua) --

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh issued a decree on Thursday replacing nine of the defected generals with new brigade commanders and chief of staffs, in an initial reshuffle targeted restive provinces of Saada, Al-Hodayda and Abyan.

The nine military positions were under the command of Major General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, who defected along with his First Armored Division in March and joint the protest movement calling for Saleh's ouster.

The reshuffle included the posts of the commander of the Army Air Force in western provinces of Al-Hodayda, the commander of the military base in the northern province of Saada which was involved in a six-year war against Shiite Houthi rebels and the commander of the 25th Mechanized Brigade in the southern province of Abyan that has been battling al-Qaida militants since May, said the decree posted on the Defence Ministry's website.

Officials said more dissident generals in northeastern and southern provinces are expected to be sacked within the next few days.

Saleh, confronting protests demanding an end to his 33-year rule since late January, has been under pressure from the international community to sign the UN-backed Gulf Cooperation Council initiative to transfer power peacefully and end the 10- month-old unrest.

Editor: yan

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