September 26, 2011
Yemenis Reject Saleh's Fatal Dialogue
“Our protests will escalate and we are confident we will win. We will arrest him and bring him to court.”
- Tawakul Karman, head of Women Journalists Without Chains, and a rogue member of Yemen's Islah party, the dominant faction within the oppositional Joint Meeting Parties (JMP).
Karman, who immediately rallied in January and inspired more protests after getting arrested, split off to announce a revolutionary council independent from the JMP's National Council. The JMP has sought to broker a power deal for themselves, but officials have so far resisted Ali Abdullah Saleh's latest "offer" for "dialogue" with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). At least 100 people - protesters, anti-government militiamen and government forces alike - have been killed in the last six days, with untold hundreds wounded over the last two weeks of fighting.
Local estimates exceed the foreign media's. Yemen's Coordinating Council of the Youth Revolution of Change (CCYRC) released the following press release after Saleh's speech on Sunday:
"The speech delivered by President Ali Abdullah Saleh tonight did not present anything new, it rather left many questions unanswered. Although his tone and volume of voice reflected his physical weakness, his language included lots of accusations to his political opponents. The accusations he brought in his televised speech of being terrorists and violent imply a deep desire for violence and revenge. Most dangerously he also indirectly accused his opponents of being behind the June 03, attack on his presidential mosque, in which first-rank state officials including his own self were injured.
The speech on 49th anniversary of 26 September revolution provide grounded evidence that Saleh physically and constitutionally incapable of achieving the aspirations of Yemenis. His sudden return from Saudi – in a secret way – shows his decreasing support inside Yemen and in plain words he is not welcome any more. He made calls for ceasefire upon his return according to the government spokesperson, but his own army – led by his eldest son Ahmed and central security forces, launched one of the most aggressive assaults on protesters killing some 44 in an overnight assault on Friday 23, 20110.
Saleh in his first appearance after his return to Yemen from Saudi repeated his unserious calls for dialogue & early elections. He pointed out that he delegated authority to Vice President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi to sign the GCC deal.
Although Saleh expressed his welcome of the international and regional calls to peacefully transfer power according to the GCC deal, his language showed discontent and discomfort with particularly the belated statement of GCC ministers of interiors on the recent causalities and the over 150 killed by his forces.
Saleh is trying to buy himself some time, while it is too late by swapping the responsibility to his Vice President. He showed in more than one occasions his unwillingness to step down and hand over power in a peaceful manner. This attitude could trigger violence and has done so in several occasions.
As our initial and ultimate reaction, we - the Coordinating Council of the Yemeni Revolution for Change (CCYRC) – consider Saleh’s speech worthless and meaningless. The CCYRC will continue the revolutionary escalation. We will continue our peaceful demonstrations to oust Saleh and his children. We dream of a new Yemen without family rule, aggression, bloodshed and social discrimination and divide. Saleh has to listen to our peaceful and continuous calls asking him to step down and save Yemen all the tragic losses.
We also denounce all forms of violence committed by Saleh’s family army and security forces and we call upon all regional and international powers to practice further pressure on Saleh to step down immediately."
Protesters held massive demonstrations on Monday in Sana'a and Ta'izz, calling for immediate regime change and justice for Saleh's human rights abuses. They realize that his "peaceful and orderly transition" is a myth, but when will the Obama administration and U.S. media stop telling it?