Sunday, April 24, 2011

Six Soldiers Killed in Al-Bedea and Lahj Provinces

By Fatik Al-Rodaini

Sana'a, Apr 24, 2011- At least four people, including two soldiers were killed in Yemen's southern province of Al-Bedea and several others wounded.

Yemen's Interior Mystery reported that two soldiers were killed and eight others wounded, some of them in critical condition, when suspected Al-Qaeda militants ambushed soldiers belong to republican guards in their way to capture outlaws in Al-Sowdia district.

Tribal sources said that at least four tribesmen and two soldiers were killed during clashes between Al-Qaeda militants and republican guards in Al-Soedia district.

On the other hand, at least four five people, including four soldiers, were killed in Lahj province in clashes took place between soldiers and militants belong to Southern Movement in Laabos district.

Sunday's clashes in Lahj and Al-Bedea provinces brought the number of deaths from Yemen's security forces to 24 in last 34 hours according to informed soures.

Yemen's Saleh warns of al-Qaida growth

SANAA, Yemen, April 24 (UPI) -- The outgoing president of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, warned Sunday al-Qaida is taking advantage of political unrest in Yemen to strengthen, the BBC reported.

In an interview with the broadcaster a day after he agreed to step down in 30 days, the president of 32 years expressed some bitterness about the pressure applied by Western countries. He said the various protest camps that sprang up had created insurgent hotbeds.

"Al-Qaida is moving inside the camps and this is very dangerous," he said. "Why is the West not looking at this destructive work and its dangerous implications for the future?"

While he agreed to cede power to his vice-president next month followed by elections a month later, Saleh was sarcastic in the interview about the West's insistence on him stepping down.

"You call on me from the United States and Europe to hand over power," he said. "Who shall I hand it over to? Those who are trying to make a coup?"

Security forces have reportedly killed at least 120 people during the protests, 45 of them in one day during a demonstration in the capital, Sanaa.

Timeline: Protesters demand Saleh step down as Yemen ruler

Sana'a, Apr 24, 2011 (Reuters) - Here is a timeline on Yemen since protests against President Ali Abdullah Saleh's 32-year rule began:

January 29, 2011 - Yemen's ruling party calls for dialogue with the opposition, in a bid to stem anti-government protests.

-- Saleh supporters attack and disperse Yemenis who try to march to the Egyptian embassy in Sanaa to express solidarity with anti-government Egyptian demonstrators.

-- Yemeni protesters chant "the people want the regime to fall."

February 3 - A day of anti-government protests brings more than 20,000 people onto the streets in Sanaa.

March 2 - The opposition presents Saleh with a plan for smooth transition of power, offering him a graceful exit.

-- Saleh says he will draw up a new constitution to create a parliamentary system of government. An opposition spokesman swiftly rejects the proposal.

March 18 - Snipers kill 52 protesters among crowds that flocked to a sit-in at Sanaa University after Friday prayers. The killings prompt Saleh to declare a state of emergency.

March 20 - Saleh fires his government.

March 21 - Senior army commanders say they have switched support to pro-democracy activists, including Saleh ally General Ali Mohsen, commander of the northwest military zone.

March 23 - Saleh offers to step down by the end of 2011. He also proposes to hold a referendum on a new constitution, then a parliamentary election and presidential vote.

March 25 - Saleh says he is ready to cede power to stop more bloodshed in Yemen, but only to what he calls "safe hands" as thousands rally against him in "Day of Departure" protests.

March 29 - Saleh holds talks with Mohammed al-Yadoumi, head of the Islamist Islah party, once a partner in his government.

-- At the talks Saleh makes a new offer, proposing he stays in office until elections are held but transferring his powers to a caretaker government, an opposition source says.

-- The opposition promptly rejects this offer, calling it "an attempt to prolong the survival of the regime."

April 1 - Saleh tells a huge rally of supporters that he will sacrifice everything for his country, suggesting he has no plans to step down yet.

-- Anti-Saleh protesters name the day a "Friday of enough" while loyalists branded it a "Friday of brotherhood." April 2 - The opposition proposes a five-point plan whereby the army and security forces will be restructured by a vice-president acting as temporary president.

April 4 - Police open fire on protesters in Taiz, killing at least 12 people and wounding 30, hospital sources said.

April 6 - Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani says the GCC will strike a deal for Saleh to leave.

April 8 - Pro-democracy protesters hold a "Friday of firmness" in Sanaa, shouting "You're next, you leader of the corrupt."

April 14 - Yemen's opposition rejects an offer to join Gulf-mediated talks and sets a two-week deadline for Saleh to step down.

April 15 - Saleh calls the opposition liars and bandits, and appeals to religious sensitivities in Yemen by criticizing the mixing of unrelated men and women among Sanaa protesters.

April 17 - Forces loyal to Saleh fire at a protest march in Sanaa, wounding at least 22 people, as opposition leaders meet Gulf Arab mediators in Saudi Arabia. April 18 - Members of Yemen's ruling party including three former ministers from the Justice and Development Bloc, a new bloc to support the protests.

April 20 - More than 123 protesters have been killed in clashes with security forces since January.

April 23 Saleh agrees to step down in weeks in return for immunity from prosecution. The move is agreed by opposition heads.

-- The plan, drawn up the Gulf Cooperation Council, proposed that Saleh hand over power to his vice-president a month after an agreement is signed with the opposition, and that Saleh be granted immunity from prosecution for himself, family and aides.

April 24 - Protesters vow to step up street protests and said Saleh's inner circle could still thwart the Gulf plan for him to step down. Demonstrators in Sanaa shout: "No negotiation, no dialogue -- resign or flee."

Witnesses: Thousands protest deal granting Yemeni president immunity

Sana'a, April 24, 2011 (CNN) -- A mass of protesters took to the streets of Sanaa on Sunday to protest against a deal brokered by Persian Gulf nations that grants Yemen's president immunity from prosecution, witnesses said.
The protests spread across 14 provinces Sunday, according to witnesses and journalists on the ground. Witnesses reported hundreds of thousands of protesters in Sanaa alone.
On Saturday, Yemeni officials said the country's president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, had accepted a deal brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council under which he would step down.
Both Saleh and the Yemeni opposition have agreed to the deal in principle. But Saleh has yet to sign the agreement, which stipulates he leave office within 30 days and provides complete immunity for him and those who served in his regime, said a senior foreign ministry official, who requested anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media.
The agreement also calls for a unity government to be formed within seven days.
Yaseen Noman, president of Yemen's largest opposition group, the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) bloc, told journalists Saturday that members accepted the GCC proposal but had two comments -- they did not want to participate in a unified government, and they cannot force protesters to go home.
The Organizing Committee of the Youth Revolution denounced the proposal in a written statement Sunday.
"We the youth of revolution reject any proposal that does not hold Saleh accountable for the killing over 140 revolution protesters," the committee said.
The group also said it rejected the GCC proposal because it did not call for an immediate ouster of Saleh. The committee also said the GCC effort came to save the regime -- not to help the people.
Mohammed Albasha, spokesman for the Yemeni Embassy in Washington, said the opposition has to accept the final deal before Saleh will sign.
According to Yemeni government spokesman Abdu Ganadi, the ruling party said the opposition must accept the proposal completely or reject it -- partial agreements will not be accepted.
The GCC -- a bloc of six oil-producing Gulf nations -- has been working to ease tensions between Saleh and an increasingly restive opposition.
Previously, the opposition JMP bloc had objected to the Gulf initiative for failing to state clearly that Saleh must step down.
Even after agreeing to the deal, Saleh lashed out at the opposition, accusing them of "receiving dirty money to topple the government."
"We are very interested in preventing bloodshed because the Yemeni blood is very precious and the opposition can't drag us to killing each other," Saleh said. "Civil war will not only affect Yemen, but also the whole region and the international security. He said the JMP was trying to grab power outside the framework of democracy.
"I am ready to quit, but according to the constitution, which stipulated change through the ballot boxes and free elections," he said.
Violent anti-government demonstrations have erupted for many weeks across Yemen and the chorus calling for Saleh's ouster has grown louder.
Saleh has been in power since 1978 and served as a staunch U.S. ally in the fight against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. He has argued he should stay in power because he is best equipped to fight Islamic militants.
He has also said he accepts opposition demands for constitutional reforms and holding parliamentary elections by the end of the year. He promised not to run for president in the next round of elections.
But earlier this month, Saleh said he would not offer any more concessions to those demanding reforms.

GCC Proposal to solve the Yemen Crises

By Fatik Al-Rodaini

GCC Proposal

The agreement between Yemen's ruling party and the opposition

*Basic Principles

-The resolution of the agreement will lead to safety, security, stability and unity of Yemen.

-The agreement will achieve Yemen's people ambitions in change and reform.

-The agreement will achieve peaceful transition of power, and avoid Yemen entering chaos and violence and this will be within a national agreement.

-Both sides are obligated to defuse all elements of political and security tension.

-Both sides are obligated to stop all sorts of revenge and persuing of the other in appliance to the gaurantees and pledges offered by this proposal.

*Executive Steps:

-From the first day to the agreement, the President of the Republic instructs the opposition to form a national government 50% for the ruling party, 40% for the opposition, and 10 % fron other political powers.

-The government will be formed during the seven days from the date of signing the agreement.

-The new government will create the suitable atmosphere to achieve the national agreement and defuse all elements of political and security tension.

-On the 29th day of the signing of the agreement, the parliament including the opposition will issue a law which will grant President and those who served under his rule Immunity from law and judical prosecution

-In the 30th day after the signing of the agreement, and after the president and his aides in rule are granted Immunity from prosecution, the president will handover his resignation to parliament, and his vice president becomes the new president after parliament approves Saleh's resignation.

-The new president (former vice president) calls to presidential elections within 60 days in compliance to the constitution.

-The new president (former Vice President) forms a constitutional committee to supervise to prepare a new constitution.

-After the constitution being finished, a referendum will take place to accept the new constitution.

-When the constitution is approved by the people, it is important to offer a timetable for the new parliamentary elections according to the constitution.

-After the parliamentary elections are complete, the winning party with majority of seats in parliament will be asked to form a new government.

-The GCC, EU, and US will be witnessed to this agreement.


The President of Yemen Republic

Yemeni Opposition



The US

The EU

'Yemen is a good bad guy for US'

Apr 24, 2011

Press TV has conducted an interview with Stewart Stogel with the Newsmax Magazine to elaborate on the issue.

Press TV: Over the past month the US has condemned four times, a government for its repression of peaceful protesters demanding democracy, and none of the times was it Yemen that was facing any criticism. Why is that so?

Stewart Stogel: Because Yemen is a strategic ally of the United States on a whole host of areas. They're strategically located on the [Persian] Gulf. Let's look at it this way, Madeleine Albright told me this when she was US Secretary of State, that there are good bad guys and bad bad guys. And Yemen as far as the United States is concerned is a good bad guy.

Press TV: So what kind of a repercussion does this hold for the stalemate we're seeing in Yemen, considering any amount on international pressure would tip the balances, now wouldn't it?

Stewart Stogel: You would think, but to be honest with you the US has become so pre-occupied with Libya and now all of a sudden with Iraq, that Yemen, as far as the US State Department is concerned has been temporarily put on hold.

Press TV: Mr. Stogel, a lot is riding on Yemen. Let's not forget the friends of Yemen, as the West took over the responsibility to help build Yemen economically and politically speaking. Also the Americans have invested interests with regards to the so-called al-Qaeda in the country. Can the Americans afford to put Yemen on hold with events unfolding the way they are?

Stewart Stogel: No they can't but the Obama administration has come under increasing attacks from various quarters, about the lack of proper foreign policy. They seem to be drifting from one crisis to another. So I totally agree that dealing with the Yemeni issue doesn't seem to be on America's front burner. The Americans are trying to put Yemen off for several more weeks, while they try to tend to more important issues.

One of the important issues regarding the White House is the rapid growth of gasoline prices in the US. In the last month or month in a half, you may have seen gasoline prices rise more than one dollar a gallon bringing the average in the US to over four dollars, and that seems to have taken the US administration by surprise. So believe it or not, the Obama administration seems to be going from one crisis to another and Yemen may prove to be the straw that breaks the camel's back if they ignore the events too much longer.

Press TV: So what kind of a path do you see the Americans taking in regards to Yemen?

Stewart Stogel: Well, my guess is that behind the scenes the Americans are putting a lot of weight on Saudi Arabia. It seems to me that the Americans are going to try and put this mess in the Saudis' lap, backing their moves. Now, where the Saudis will stand on President Saleh and his “retirement from office” is really unclear, but I really think that at this particular point the Obama administration is letting Riyadh hold a shot in so far the day to day policy in Yemen.

Press TV: So can Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council, as a whole be honest brokers considering what we are seeing happening in Bahrain right now and the brutal repression of the protesters at the hands of Saudi-backed regime forces?

Stewart Stogel: The term 'honest broker' means a lot of things to a lot of people. What the Americans may consider to be honest brokers, other countries in the [Persian] Gulf region may not. But I think right now, the Saudis in cooperation with the PGCC are really calling the shots in what's transpiring in the immediate future of Yemen. I think that Saleh is not convinced of what his future will be if he were to leave office. Surely he has seen what has happened to Mubarak. So, I think the Mubarak situation, a possible court trial is hanging over President Saleh's position and I think that is going to result in a continued stalemate.

Press TV: With the way things are headed in Yemen and with the people's popular cry for democracy, does that scenario look possible in which a democratically elected government is going to come in place and so uphold American interests in the region?

Stewart Stogel: Well, let's remember one thing. A few years ago there were democratic elections in Gaza, with the American supporting it until Hamas won the election, so it happened there. So I'm not even sure that the Americans having been burned once by advocating free elections in the Middle East are going to push strongly for new set elections, especially in Yemen, being the result may be exactly what the Americans fear.

So again, you have the administration in Washington who really does not know where it wants to go at this point. However, they're going to have to make a move soon because the American then may see advances going beyond their control, and moving fairly quickly. My guess is going to be that they have another month, maybe two at the most, before they decide what they want to do with the Yemeni president.

Press TV: Well, Obama is started his re-election campaign and 2012 is not really far away. His cabinet's indecisiveness with regards to these uprisings and revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa, how much of that is going to play on the voters mind, do you think?

Stewart Stogel: I think there are two major factor that will determine Obama's re-election. Stabilization in the Middle East, I do not believe that these continuing mini-wars going on can continue indefinitely. It will kill the oil market. American consumers vote their pocket books, and when an American family ends up spends more than a thousand dollars more on their automobiles this year than last year, they've got to take that money from somewhere, which is usually vacation money or food money. It seems to me that Obama's re-election depends greatly on whether the current economic and political situation continues onto 2012.