Monday, April 18, 2011

Yemenis Fear Chaos Could Erupt after Saleh Goes

The Yemeni people fear chaos could erupt after Saleh steps down because there is not a national personality that enjoys unanimous approval of all the people and all the political forces to be the head of the interim government and then to run for president.

However, the most dangerous thing that Yemen is expected to experience is the process of picking a president in the transitional period as political conflicts will be there and civil war is expected.

Meanwhile, the opposition is still unable to unanimously nominate a replacement for Saleh and even Saleh could not select someone to be the president when he accepts to quit.

Analysts see that not a single person is supposed to rule the country in this critical juncture, however, an interim presidential board including representatives from the various political forces should do this. This report spots light on the main players in the Yemeni political landscape that can't be excluded in the next period.

Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi

Lately, the name of Hadi, the current vice president, has largely been mentioned, specifically after the GCC proposal for tackling the Yemeni crisis.

Everybody has been talking about this name as the nominee for leading the coming period, though he has been in power for 15 years but not expected to be the first nominee for the post of president.

Hadi has served as vice president, and according to the constitution his post entitles him to be the head when there is no president. In addition, he is from the south and if he becomes the president during the transitional period, this will be a victory for the voice of the south which says the south is occupied by the north.

However, his close relatives and friends said he is reclusive to keep up with the rules of the game set by Saleh, who picked him as his deputy in 1994 from among the southerners, who offered support in this year. In 1994, Saleh had to keep formalities to add to the general decoration the touch of the unionist and democratic president as well as due to the role of hero he played in the secessionist war, particularly at Al-Anad which was seen as the strongest military base in the south.

Hadi was very impressed when he saw President Saleh knock his door and ask him to host a meeting attended by the U.S. ambassador to Yemen. He welcomed the request and was further impressed when Saleh offered to transfer powers to him as the way out of the crisis. A source familiar with all this said Hadi had been very shocked hearing the offer and he had understood that if he accepts, this means he enters the dangerous line.

People with close relationships with Hadi said he is living in trouble and has no idea what to do towards the GCC proposal that called for Saleh to transfer power to him.

Yasin Saeed Noman

Dr. Noman is very calm and his reactions are not reckless or hasty and his personality makes many say he will be the suitable president of Yemen.

In addition, those who argue this also say that Noman is a politician from the south where the people call for equality and he is from the Yemeni Socialist Party, which was the partner of unity, survived for three decades despite changes in the north and the south and still has many fans in the south.

Noman came to politics through economics and worked as Prime Minister for the southern republic in 1986. He came to be a famous politician when he held the post of the first speaker of the post-unity House of Representatives that was the result of the merger of the two parliaments. Noman along with his southern fellows left the unity project to come back to the south at the end of 1993. From there, he played a role that contributed to reaching the pledge and agreement document, which was the laid the basis for the new Yemeni system. After the 1994 war, he left Yemen to Abu Dhabi and he returned to politics again to play a big role in the agreement of the opposition coalition, the Joint Meeting Parties, for nominating their presidential candidate to compete with Saleh in 2007. Regarding the south issue, Noman sees that solving this issue is the most practical step towards solving the Yemeni crisis and he is in favor of federal system. At present, he is the rotating president of the JMP.

Sheikh Abdul Majeed Al-Zandani

This man has experienced different events and is forceful respected by a large portion of the Yemeni people.

He came back to Yemen and contributed to the efforts of protecting the republican revolution that ended the imamate rule. He is the found of Al-Eman University for Shaira Sciences and the International Board for the Scientific Miracles in the Coran and the Sunna in Mecca.

He is chairman of the Shura Board of Islah Party. He was selected as a member in the presidential council after the unity in 1990 and this post was deemed as one of his prominent political roles in the country. Al-Zandani enjoys huge popularity among the Yemeni people and has hundreds of thousands of fans from the various social strata.

His strength stems from being one of the religious figures in a country where religion continues to be the key motor. He was accused by the U.S. of involvement in terrorist financing, but he continued to appear as a prominent person playing big roles in pubic issues.

In early March 2011, he left the Secretariat Capital to the tribe of Arhab on the northern outskirts of the capital after disagreement with Saleh intensified following failure in mediation between the president and the opposition.

Hamid Al-Ahmer

He is a famous politician and businessman and one of the biggest foes of the Saleh regime. He is Hamid bin Abdullah bin Hussein Al-Ahmer, son of the late speaker of the House of Representatives, the sheikh of Hashid tribes. He holds the post of secretary general of the preparatory committee for dialogue and is a prominent leader inside the JMP. The people here think he is the motor of the popular uprising calling for the ouster of the current regime through his political position and providing finance and media coverage through his satellite channel of Suhail.

He was elected three times as an MP since 1993 until 2003 and was a member in the development and oil committee in Parliament. In addition to his membership in Parliament, Al-Ahmer is one of the prominent members of the supreme board of Islah Party and heads the executive office of the party branch in Amran province.

Externally, he enjoys strong ties with the Saudi governing family and he is the honorary consul of Finland in Yemen.

Hamid is brave and powerful and his character qualifies him to be on top of the politicians in his country as he could build an army of journalists, intellectuals and opinion writers to defend him and his political projects.

Privately, he is chairman of the board of directors of Al-Ahmer Group for Trade, Industry and General Agencies, that includes a number of trading companies and specializes in many fields.

Many analysts think that the opposition under the umbrella of the Joint Meeting Parties is led by this man, who is seen as the motor of the opposition and as a possible and strong replacement for the current president when he quits. There is another reason for why Hamid may be the next president: he is from a powerful tribe, Hashid, which wages wars and commits massacres anytime and under any pretext.

Lately, the Washington Post published confidential documents of WikiLeaks clarifying a scheme of Hamid, who gave officials at the U.S. embassy in Sana'a in 2009 details about his plan to oust the Saleh regime in 2011.

Ali Mohsen Saleh Al-Ahmer

He was born in 1945 in the village of Bait Al-Ahmer, Sanhan district, from which President Saleh comes and joined the army in 1961. He emerged as a strong state man since Saleh took office in late 1970s. He stood up for the coup led by Eisa Muhammad Saif from the Nasserite Unionist People's Organization that was planned almost a hundred days after Saleh had come to power. Moreover, he thwarted a coup to take over Sana'a while Saleh was on visits to Hodeida province and to the military camp Khalid Ibn Al-Waleed in Taiz province

He was one of the strongest military commanders, who faced the military movement of the Marxist national front until 1984 after the Nasserite coup failed in 1979; and led the battles against the Shiite leader (Hussein Badr Al-Din Al-Houthi) in Saada. He waged six wars against the Houthi rebellion.

Through these duties, he contributed to defending the republican system at several fronts, mainly in the battles between the imamate soldiers and the republican army, known as the Seventieth Day of the Siege in Sana'a.

He played a big role in the modernization of the Yemeni armed forces and under this role he formed and commanded the first armoured division. In addition, he contributed to the unity of the north and the south in 1990 through being a member in the unification committees; fought the separatist forces in 1994 as a commander of the Aden front; worked as a member in integrating the armed forces in the north and the south; and was assigned as deputy chief of the Yemeni-Saudi military committee that worked on tackling military and security disorders and border issues between the two countries.

He escaped from four assassination attempts. Recently, he was the highest military commander to announce support to the popular uprising calling for the ouster of the Saleh regime on March 21, though opposition leaders considered his defection as a suspicious move as they don't like him to play any role in any interim government.

Currently, he is preserving the public security, protecting the peaceful protesters and contributing to maintaining the national unity and a peaceful transfer of power unless things develop unexpectedly.

Abdul Wahab Al-Anesi

He is a powerful Yemeni religious figure, but he preferred to join politics through the Muslim brotherhood in Yemen. He has played political roles because he enjoys the respect of both the regime and the opposition.

He is well known for his moderate views and his tendency to dialogue to address the national issues.

In addition, he is a businessman, who has investments in the country. He was born in 1944 and held a number of posts including: a member in the Shura(Parliament) in 1988 and a representative for Islah Party in the post-unity House of Representatives.

Directly after the unification, he was appointed as deputy Prime Minister, a member in the Consultative Board and a member in the founding council of Islah Party in 1990. Later, he chaired the party founding council and was selected as assistant secretary general of Islah Party until the fourth conference in 2007. Since 2007- at present, he is the secretary general of Islah Party.

Abdul Kareem Al-Eryani

Dr. Al-Eryani is the secretary general of the governing party, the General People's Congress and is one of the smart politicians who worked in unabated ministerial posts since 1974.

He held the posts of: Agriculture Minister, Planning and International Cooperation Minister, Education Minister and Foreign Minister as well as Prime Minister. He is a member in the biggest political party in Yemen, the GPC.

Dr. Abdul Kareem Al-Eryani is one of the closest advisors to President Saleh and he played a key role in developing the political strategy in the northern republic of Yemen before and after the civil war.

In 1980, he was picked as premier for the Yemeni Arab Republic and was holding the post until 1983. After the unification, he worked as prime minister between 1998 and 2001. Since 2001, he has been as the political advisor to President Saleh.

Saudi Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz described Al-Eryani as the only Yemeni official who honestly deals with the problematic issues between Yemen and his country.

Muhammad Salim BaSondwa

He lives in the capital Sana'a since the impendence of the south in 1967.

He escaped to Sana'a from the violence of the national front which later acted in the name of socialist party and used the party as its slogan. He held several posts: Labour and Social Affairs Minister, political advisor to the head of the leadership council and state minister, Development Minister, head of the central organization for planning, Minister for Information and Culture, permanent representative of the republic of Yemen in the north to the UN, Foreign Minister and political advisor to President Saleh.

In May 2009, the mini-preparatory committee approved in its first meeting that BaSondwa will be its rotating president. Since he took this post, he did his best through consultations and meetings as well as leading protests.

Ali Nasser Muhammad

He was President of the people's democratic republic in the south between 1980 and 1986. He was born in 1939 in Abyan, joined the armed forces to fight the British occupation and became a member in the military office and in 1968 he was appointed a member in the general leadership of the national front.

He was picked as Local Governance Minister in 1969, Defense Minister between 1969 and 1975 and Education Minister 1974-1975.

He became Prime Minister in the presidential council along with Ismail and Rubaye 1971-1978. After the downfall of Rubaye, he became the president before selecting Ismail for this post.

Later the national front held an exceptional conference in 1980 and decided to eliminate Abdul Fatah Ismail and replace him with Muhammad as the state president, secretary general of socialist party and prime minister.

In 1985, he resigned from the post of prime minister and continued as president and secretary general of the party until the bloody events in 13 January 1986. Currently, he is chairman of the Damascus-based Arab Center for Strategic Studies.

Source: Yemen Post

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