Saturday, April 30, 2011

A civil war in Yemen, if power-transfer deal foiled

By Nasser Arrabyee

Sana'a, Apr 30, 2011- If the Yemenis failed to implement a US-backed and Saudi-led GCC plan for transferring the power from President Ali Abdullah Saleh in one month, a civil could be the only other option.

The GCC deal that is supposed to be signed by the opposition and ruling party next Monday May 2nd, 2011, could be the last chance to avoid a civil war that would not impact the already conflict-torn Yemen, but also the neighboring GCC countries.

The young protesters in the street, who have been demanding the ouster of President Saleh for about three months, absolutely refuse the GCC deal although the majority of them belong to the Islamist party Islah that leads the opposition coalition which totally agreed on the deal.

While the protesters threaten to march forward to the Presidential Palace to force Saleh out, all conflicting parties in Yemen seem to getting ready for confrontations. President Saleh and his supporters, the Islamist-led opposition, Al Houthi rebels in the northern province of Sa’ada, the secessionist movement in the south, and Al Qaeda and its sympathizers everywhere especially in the south and east.

Weapon pieces are distributed to sincere supporters of both the largest Islamist opposition party, Islah, and Saleh’s party in the neighborhoods of Sana’a city at least, according to people who already received their weapon pieces over the last few weeks.

Furthermore, about 2,000 students from El Eman fundamentalist University, run by the extremist cleric Abdul Majid Al Zandani, have been receiving weapons and military training in the 1st armored division of the defected general Ali Muhsen, according to some students who believe that doing this is Jihad.

“Yes, we joined training courses with Ali Muhsen about one month ago, now I have my gun and I safeguard as a sentry,” Said the 20-year old student who identified himself only as Jamil.

“I’m very happy to work with a straightforward and devout man like Ali Muhsen,” said Jamil who now works as a sentry close to his university El Eman which is adjacent to 1st armored division of Ali Muhsen at the northern outskirt of the capital Sana’a.

According to a security source, three Islamist militants were arrested earlier this week in Kilo 16 area close to the western coastal city of Hodeida while on their way to a military training belonging to general Ali Muhsen.

The three militants had permits from the general Ali Muhsen to have training courses in the Fighting School in Kilo 7 nearby Hodeida, the source said.

“They are leaders and the three of them are from Hodeida, this is why they were sent to Hodeida,” said the sources who also gave the full names of the three militants.

In a such a tense atmosphere, the US embassy in Sana’a called the conflicting parties in Yemen to avoid all provocative acts after about 10 Yemeni were killed in clashes between two rival demonstrations in the capital Sana’a Wednesday April 27th.

The embassy, in a statement sent to media late Thursday, urged all Yemenis to commit to peaceful demonstrations, marches, and speeches specially now as they are on the eve of signing the “historic agreement for peaceful transfer of power and having new elected president next July”

The embassy statement came after the opposition and the ruling party exchanged accusations on who was behind the violence that took place on Wednesday when the anti-Saleh protesters marched forward from their sit-in square at the gate of Sana’a university to the gate the Sana’a Stadium close to the state-run TV building where Saleh supporters have been camping out for about three months.

The ruling party accused the opposition parties of directing their supporters to march forward to the place of Saleh supporters with the aim of making violence to foil the US-backed and Saudi-led GCC plan that’s is scheduled to be signed next Monday, May 2nd, 2011.

The opposition coalition of Islamists, Socialists and Nasserites, said in a statement they would not sign the agreement on Monday if the US,EU and GCC did not condemn the violence of Wednesday and guarantee protection for protesters from further violence.

The opposition accused Saleh’s supporters of making violence to drag the country into a civil war.

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