Saturday, February 25, 2012

Yemen: Violence continues as Obama praises one candidate election

By northsunm32
Sanaa : Yemen | Feb 25, 2012
Wonder of wonders the sole candidate for president of Yemen Major General Mansour Hadi won the election. Hadi served as vice-president under Saleh and is strongly backed by the U.S. Saudi Arabia and other members of the GCC.
The GCC brokered a deal for former president Saleh to step down. Saleh and all his cronies and family were given amnesty for any crimes they may have committed such as killing their own people. The legislators decided they would extend the amnesty to themselves.
President Obama cheered on the election process and even suggested it could be a model for other Middle East elections. Huh! Single candidate elections with the candidate a military person annointed as successor by the former dictator! Perhaps Obama would like to import the model for the next U.S. election and not bother to have a Republican opponent!
Many groups have boycotted the elections. Just hours after Hadi was sworn in as president a suicide attack in the south on a presidential palace killed at least 25 people. Another 30 were wounded in Mukalla the provincial capital of Hadramaut. Most of the dead were members of the elite Republican Guard.
While AL Qaeda claims responsibility for the attack, southern separatists also operate in the area. They boycotted the elections along with rebels in the North as well. Those who protested for democracy in Yemen are also unhappy with the deal that gave Saleh and others amnesty and replaced one set of old guard leaders by another group of the same type. Former president Saleh who had been receiving medical treatment in the U.S. returned to Yemen to witness the swearing in of Hadi. Salehs relative remain prominent in the new government especially in the security forces.

The text of President Hadi before the Parliament

SANAA, Feb. 25 (Saba)- A speech was delivered on Saturday by the newly elected President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi before the parliament after officially took the constitutional oath.
In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate
I am standing now in a historic and critical moment of Yemen's history after the successful completion of the presidential elections. It was surprising what the Yemeni people have done. They proved to the entire world their uniqueness and their ability to survive ordeals and hardships with a will that has not been affected by deception and intrigue.
I would like to hereby profusely and gratefully thank all the Yemeni people without exception who cast their votes for me.
This places a heavy responsibility upon my shoulder. Pray to God so that He would help me honour and fulfil my obligations.
Moreover, I would like to thank the chairman and members of the Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum, who exerted a great deal of effort for the success of this democratic event, as well as inside and outside contributors to reach this graceful outcome. This outcome will bring peace, security, and stability to a country worn out by division and harmed by the conflict of rivals.
Therefore, what we have accomplished is an unprecedented experience in dealing with a crisis that reached every city, village, and home. This would undoubtedly provide a model to follow now and later.
Also, I would like to extend my thanks to the army and security forces for their considerable efforts and the efforts of the subcommittees in governorates.
I pray for God's mercy for martyrs and a speedy recovery for the wounded.
Elections embodied the bridge with which the people moved from hopelessness to hopeful.
This makes the obligation of responsibility incumbent upon the political parties with their government representation as well as whomever has power to move with the people towards the future. This is to be done with clean and forgiving hearts and rhetoric carrying good news of hopes and signs of a hopeful and clear future, so that we can make up for the losses of the past period and try to keep pace with others.
The great transitions cannot be made by chance or brought by wishes. Wishes will be mere unrealized wishes if we bear upon our shoulders the burden of the past and the consequences of enmity.
We are all aware of the fact that the strength and stability of any country hinges on the power of its social unity and a great national project before which all subjective projects and small ambitions will shrink. And he whoever will propose phony visions and devious logic, given that our people have experienced all sorts of deception and intrigue including resorting to the rule of power, should be vanished from the heads of those who still deceive themselves considering that the authority today has been backed by unquestionable and unwavering popular legitimacy.
I know for certain what the coming two years mean for the people whom I am honoured to win their trust, and I also know that compounded crises are entangled on several levels involving economic, social, security, and humanitarian issues.
Having said that, the country cannot stand any vengeance-driven crises that would destroy it now.
The coming period requires serious dialogue that would shape the features of the future rule through a new constitution that meets national aspirations; a constitution that would change ruling from traditional legitimacy to a national legitimacy based upon the principles and basics of good governance and build a powerful state through establishing and bolstering the role of institutions which are not based upon personification. To build the character of the Yemeni citizen, it is necessary to energize their unlimited potentialities in various aspects of practical life.
In addition, security should be tangibly experienced by the citizen given that it is a prerequisite for any desired development and the power of any applied law.
The national economy should be rebuilt according to scientific and real principles, making the best use of what is offered by friends and brothers and the Yemeni capabilities, as well as solving the issues which hinder development so as to overcome the damages caused by the last crisis.
This is to be done in a way that revives the middle class, which is the base of any country.
The war against Al-Qaeda will be continued as a religious and national duty, leading to the return of the displaced people to their cities and villages.
What has been said are mere highlights of real issues. If we are not able to practically and systematically address them, then chaos would be the possible alternative. Consequently, I greatly depend on your role as representatives of the entire people whose turnout in the presidential elections have given a message to the world that the people granted legitimacy to change and change for the better only.
This is what you should work for by considering the various issues which are discussed in your honourable council maintaining the interest of the country, not the interest of your own parties.
We have to remember very well that the people do not believe in half-solutions anymore, deal with traders of illusions, or be the reason of returning back.
I do not want to speak a lot, but before I conclude, I sincerely invite all people in authoritative positions - whatever rank - to seek change and answer questions of this stage: Where do we want to go? What is our course? What is our objective? Which vision shall we develop?
May God guide us all as we grope for the way of the future with souls free of grudge. We should open a new and clear page in order to build a new Yemen involving everyone without distinction and with hatred-free hearts and minds seeking to improve the condition of our country and people only.
May God's peace and mercy be with you.

Yemen: Car bomb kills 25 in south as new president vows to keep up fight with al-Qaeda

February 25, 2012
SANAA, YEMEN A car bomb outside the gate of a presidential compound in a southern Yemeni city killed at least 25 people hours after the country’s new president was formally inaugurated and vowed to fight al-Qaeda.
A security official said it was a suicide blast, and that it bore the hallmarks of an operation by the militant group. Both al-Qaeda and southern separatists are active in the region.
A health official confirmed the death toll. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not allowed to speak to the press.
The blast came as Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi was sworn in as president to replace longtime leader Ali Abdullah Saleh, following an election aimed at ending over a year of political turmoil. Hadi was the only candidate in the election.
In his televised speech before parliament, Hadi swore to keep up Yemen’s fight against al-Qaida-linked militants, who took advantage of the country’s upheaval to seize control of several parts of the country.
Hadi also pledged to work to bring home the thousands of internal refugees created by fighting between government troops, southern separatists, mutinous military units, tribal movements, and numerous other factions.
 One of the most prominent tasks is the continuation of war against Al Qaeda as a religious and national duty, and to bring back displaced people to their villages and towns,” Hadi said.
Hours later, the bomb exploded in the city of Mukalla in the province of Hadramout, part of formerly independent south Yemen, that joined with the north in 1990.
Ahmed al-Rammah, who witnessed the blast, said by phone from Mukalla that he saw a pickup moving slowly to the gate as soldiers were coming out. Then it exploded, he said. The blast was followed by heavy gunfire from the surviving guards.
Newly inaugurated President Hadi has an onerous task ahead of him bringing stability to Yemen. He must restructure powerful security forces packed with Saleh loyalists, launch a national dialogue that would include southern secessionists, and appease a restless religious minority in the north as well as disparate opposition groups in the heartland.
An unexpectedly large turnout for the Tuesday vote gives Hadi a strong popular mandate to tackle these problems.
Election Commission chief Mohammed al-Hakimi said Friday that 6.6 million people out of a potential 10.2 million voted. Of those, over 99 per cent selected the only option on the ballot — to vote “yes” for Hadi — with the remaining ballots invalid.
The election was arranged as part of a U. S- and Gulf-backed power transfer deal signed in November. Washington has played an active role in the transition, in hopes that Hadi can head off chaos and ensure co-operation against the country’s active al-Qaeda branch.
Government operations have failed to oust the group, which is blamed for trying to blow up a U.S.-bound airliner in 2009 and cargo planes bound for the U.S. a year later.
Saleh meanwhile returned to Yemen early Saturday after spending about three weeks in the U.S. receiving treatment for injuries he suffered during a June explosion on his compound that helped hasten his departure.
Saleh had pledged to return to Yemen for his successor’s inauguration. He was met at the airport by his son Ahmed, who heads the powerful Republican Guard.
Saleh is the fourth Arab leader swept from power by the Arab Spring. But thanks to his continued presence in the country and his negotiated exit, the political changes brought by his ouster may be much less dramatic than the results of uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya.
Many fear that the ex-president, who has cast a large web of tribal and family relations during his three decades of rule, may still try to pull the strings during the transitional period until a new constitution is written.
Hadi called on all political parties to abide by democracy as a means to take Yemen out of its crisis.
 Expected changes don’t come by mere wishes and hopes but through democratic dialogue, and through a serious and correct approach to the key issues that racked the country,” he said.
The election saw several attacks against polling stations in the southern province of Aden, but Hadi vowed in his oath to preserve the country’s unity.
 I swear by Almighty God to uphold the republican system, respect and preserve the constitution and the unity and independence of Yemen,” he said.
The ceremony was attended by the U.S., and EU ambassadors, and several Arab envoys.
Meanwhile, senior officials close to Saleh said the former president was waiting for an answer from the Gulf sultanate of Oman on whether he can live there. Saleh stayed in Muscat in January for some days before he left to the U.S. for treatment, and Yemeni officials raised the possibility at the time that he would eventually seek exile in Oman, which borders Yemen to the north.
The officials said Saturday that Sultan Qaboos bin Said received Saleh’s request but did not meet him. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue,
Saleh’s son, Ahmed, also travelled to Oman on Jan. 21 to arrange a residence for his father but did not meet with the sultan at the time either.
The officials said Oman was negotiating the issue with its Gulf Arab neighbours and the United States.
The Associated Press

Yemen's Hadi takes presidential oath

By REUTERS 02/25/2012
SANAA - Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi took the constitutional oath to become Yemen's new president on Saturday, formally removing Ali Abdullah Saleh from power after a year of protests that paralyzed the impoverished Arabian Peninsular country.
Hadi, who stood as the sole candidate to replace Saleh in a US-backed power transfer deal brokered by Gulf neighbors, was voted in after more than 60 percent of eligible voters had taken part in the election this week.

President Saleh Arrives in Sana'a

By Faitk Al-Rodaini
Sana'a, February 25, 2012- President Ali Abdullah Saleh arrived in Sana'a Friday night after more than three weeks in the U.S. for medical treatment from wounds sustained in a June assassination attempt.
The 69-year-old Saleh, Yemen's ruler for 33 years, has pledged to attend his successor's inauguration
Yemen on Tuesday voted to replace Saleh with Vice President Abed Rabo Mansour Hadi, who is expected to be sworn in Saturday. He takes over after months of uncertainty over whether Saleh would step down in the face of popular protests that plunged Yemen into crisis.