Monday, March 21, 2011

Scenarios for change in Yemen between Egyptian and Libyan models

By Nabil Al-Bakiri

Sana’a, Mar 21, 2011 - On the impact of Arab revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, the revolution atmosphere is spreading throughout all parts of Yemen. A revolution uniting all Yemeni goals in a historic moment under a raised slogan: "Ouster and departure of the president."

This unity comes after the Heraki militants of the south raising the flag of secession and restoring their state over the past four years, as well as the seven Houthi wars without a stated cause, and the loss of the opposition party for years in fruitless discussions with the Authority.

What kind of revolution is this Yemeni revolution? What form of revolutions will craft the Yemeni change scenario? Is it the same scenario of peaceful change displayed in Egypt and Tunisia? Or is it the scenario of bloody violence such as that of the Libyan revolution? And what is the ruling mentality displayed by the Yemeni regime? We will discuss all these questions through this analytical approach.

The Surprise…!

It did not cross any Yemeni observer’s mind that the youth revolution would take a peaceful orientation in a tribal and armed country such as Yemen, despite all the attempts to drag this struggle to a clash and confrontation with those known as "thugs", pushed by the government to accomplish that task to find justification for the use of force against the peaceful protesters.

The peaceful orientation displayed in the Yemeni protests with hundreds of thousands of youth participating, caught everyone by surprise; observers, politicians, and writers, who thought that a tribal and armed country like Yemen will not allow for a peaceful revolution like that of Egypt and Tunisia, and in fact there would be a bloodbath; the scarecrow used by the regime to discouraged the youth from embarking on the revolution.

Some observers believe that what is happening so far in Yemen, cannot be judged as of yet, because the revolution is still in its early stages, and the regime is willing to pay any cost to remain in power.

Losing bets

Many observers are aware of the current Yemeni situations. That President Saleh did not learn his lessons from the events that took place in Tunisia, Egypt, and currently Libya, and in a hysterical act instantaneously pulled out the thug card, which had serious political repercussions within the confines of the rules and his ruling General People's Congress.

The most prominent of these consequences was the cascaded resignations from the ruling President’s party, that was approached by a large number of influential political figures of the members of the House of Representatives and the Shura Council, as well as general managers, provincial agents, academics, officers, tribal elites, and others, in protest against the oppression and hooliganism against the peaceful protesters in the Squares of major Yemeni cities such as Sana’a, Taiz, Aden, Ibb, and others.

Some observers also believe that, because the hooliganism card was quickly discovered, and the backfiring aftermath aimed at the President, stripping him of whatever popularity he has amongst the people, it also exposed the possible future cards he may use, such as that of tribalism, regionalism, and finally the army and security forces managed by his family.

Remarkably, following the exposure of the hooliganism and regionalism cards, the elites of the Hashid and Bakil tribes joined the cause of the protesters.

Fallen leaves

President Saleh held meetings over the past few weeks with all the tribes surrounding the capital Sana’a, especially the tribe of Hashid, in an attempt to, as observes believe, a historical reenactment of what was done by Imam Ahmed Yahya Hamid Ad-Din after the fall of Sana'a, and the death of his father Imam Yahya in 1948, where he lured these tribes into storming Sana’s and taking whatever they find as booty.

This historical reenactment, according to observers, represents the ignorance of the regime in reenacting a historical scenario that no longer applies in this time and circumstances, because nowadays these tribes are not longer tribes of war. Their children are now educated and became exposed to life in the city, live, and own properties there.

The regionalism card, the most dangerous of all, is the card the President is most reliant on. This is where he sets different regions against each other, especially the region of Taiz, where the President portrays them as the enemies of the tribes and are those behind the revolution.

Therefore it is not in the best interest of these tribes to support it. To the naïve ignorance of the President to realize the extent of awareness of people today, not just in Yemen, but in all parts of the Arab world, towards change. This gave these tribes the initiative to joint this revolution from the first day.

The closest scenario

With regard to the army and security forces card---which are managed by members of the ruling family, without credentials, except that they are part of the ruling family--- the Republican Guards for example, are led by the president's son Ahmed Ali, and the Air Force are led by President Saleh’s brother, Mohammed Saleh Al-Ahmar, the Central Security forces are run by the President’s nephew, General Yahya Mohammed Abdullah Saleh, and national security is led by General Yahya's brother, Ammar.

Apart from this, the Personal Guards are led by the third brother of Yahya and Ammar, Tarek Mohamed Abdullah Saleh, as well as the leadership of the First Armored Division surrounding the capital Sana’a, led by the most mysterious man in the regime, playing a major role after President Saleh, Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar.

The military is suffering from the same previous problem, where its four military areas are managed by unqualified officers. The only qualification they bear is that they are from to the same geographical birthplace of President Saleh, the village of Bayt Al-Ahmar in the governorate of Sanhan outside the capital Sana'a.

As a result of such a combination to lead the security and military institutions in Yemen, some see no possibility of the success of the revolution in Yemen in a Tunisian or Egyptian style, where the army played a crucial role siding with the popular demand for change.

Therefore, those observers see it as difficult---if not impossible---to repeat what happened in Tunisia and Egypt, which means the likelihood of the Libyan scenario taking place in Yemen, because of, according to observers, the resemblance of Saleh’s psyche to that of Gaddafi.

What many observers do not realize about the Yemeni case, is that even though the psyche of Saleh and Gaddafi resemble each other, that does not necessarily mean that the scenario that happened in Libya would repeat itself in Yemen due to a number of logical reasons, even though Saleh hinted in the Security Council meeting on February 26, that there might be acts of violence resembling that of Libya, when he said: "We will preserve the Republican regime until our last drop of blood".

It is obvious to the observer of the situation in Yemen, is that there are in the ranks of the Yemeni army leaders and cadres who are honorable and sincere, it is impossible for them to show bias to the interests of a corrupt family. They realize that they are a part of the people and not simply staff used to protect the interest of the ruling family.

This is in contrast to Gaddafi’s army, which is comprised of a group of African mercenaries. As well as the Libyan battalions, who were orphans brought from orphanages and trained in an inhumane and ill-manner way, and brainwashed until there is nothing left in their minds except the Colonel and his regime.

Distinctiveness of the Yemeni scenario

The advantage of the Yemeni scenario as well, is that the members of their army are Yemeni, who belong to various tribes and regions in Yemen, who feel the deprivation just like the rest of the Yemeni people without basic rights such as education, medical care, and a dignified living.

Therefore, observers believe that such facts will entice the army to side with the people and the revolution and to abandon the ruling regime that has no credibility with the members of the army who are suffering to make a daily living, while the ruling family is swimming in riches and corruption, and the leaders of the army who have no qualifications except that they are related to the ruling family.

The clearest example of the absence of mutual consent between the army and its leaders and the lack of confidence between the parties, is what happened in the seven wars against the Houthi rebels, where in all the army’s victorious battles, they fail in displaying harmony between the army and its leaders.

There is also a state of balance of terror between the armed people and the security forces and army, which represents a guarantee that they will not be drawn into the spiral of blind violence, even if the regime foreshadowed it. Thus, the regime will not be able to continue gambling until the end of the unacceptable horrific scenario they are leading. This will ruin the reputation of the regime, in an era where the international powers realize that their interested are better suited with the people and not the regimes.

Source: Islam Online

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