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Written by Adenpress Friday, 17 June 2011 23:13
London “ adenpress’ By: Abdullah Alasnag – Ex. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Yemen
“A roller coaster to hell” was the description of current affairs in Yemen given by a government official. With the Yemeni dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh hospitalized in the Saudi capital Riyadh, the four thugs are continuing the destructive path they laid for their almost dethroned “god father” president.
Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh, the president’s eldest son and commander of the Republican Guard forces, is convinced and adamant that he and he alone is the rightful successor to his father at the top of the Yemeni regime, according to presidential sources.
The three other thugs Yahya, Amar, and Tareq Mohammed Abdullah Saleh the nephews of Saleh and leaders of Central Security Forces (CSF), National Security Agency, and Elite Presidential Guard respectively, are supporting their cousin in order to preserve their own financial interests and gains.
There seems to be yet another round of violence looming over the Yemeni capital Sana’a as eye witnesses continued to report that the Republican Guard is fortifying its positions and a new wave of arms is flowing into Sana’a especially to the military camp south of the presidential palace in “Bait Boos” including but not limited to BM-21 rocket launchers and an unspecified number of FROG-7 surface-surface missiles which were moved on the nights of June 11th and 13th, 2011.
Tribesmen loyal to the Hashid tribe leader Sheikh Sadeq Al-Ahmar continued to stockpile weapons in rented buildings along Siteen Road in the capital Sana’a.
It is widely believed amongst the political elite and intelligentsia in Sana’a that this renewed and anticipated confrontation will be the most violent and will wipe out most, if not all of the current powerful leaders. One political analyst warned that Saleh violated the most sacred tribal law of not attacking one’s home when he bombarded Shiekh Sadeq Al-Ahmar house in the Hasaba district of Sana’a. Similarly, the attack on Saleh himself in the presidential palace violated another sacred tribal law in Yemeni society by attacking a mosque which almost contained the top tier of the ruling class in its entirety.
The same analyst warned that the next round of violent clashes will see a different kind of savageness and brutality by all parts who will seek to wipe each other out.
Concurrently, a large war is raging in the governorate of Abyan in the south of Yemen with hundreds reported killed during the first two weeks of June 2011. Although the government has declared the dead as terrorists, a substantial number of these supposed terrorists have turned out to be on the payroll of the National Security Agency (headed by Amar Saleh). Many families of the deceased and supposed terrorists, have reported that their sons were employed by the National Security Agency and some families even presented NSA ID Cards belonging to the deceased. It is therefore readily apparent that the war in Abyan is a desperate attempt by the regime to convince the western world of a fabricated risk of terrorism, a ploy used every time the regime has faced political turmoil.
Continuing to play with time, one of the four thugs and commander of the CSF, Yahya Mohammed Abdullah Saleh told the BBC on June 11th 2011, that the GCC initiative will not be discussed until Saleh has returned from Saudi Arabia after completing his treatment. This same game was played by Saleh before his injury, only this time the actor is a different one.
With the EU and the US apparently terrified of these four thugs, the public in Yemen has started to raise many questions as to why the west hasn’t condemned the brutality and savageness the thugs have used against peaceful demonstrators in Aden, Taiz, Hodaidah, and Sana’a. A mild statement issued through the US embassy in Sana’a on the 30th of May 2011 has been the only denunciation made to date. On the other hand, the US was quick to condemn the attack on the president “in the strongest terms” by president Obama himself through his press secretary on June 3rd, 2011.
The tone of Obama’s statement convinced many of the Yemeni youth that the Obama administration is still supporting this tyrant and betrayed their own values of freedom and justice. One of the youth at the Change square in Sana’a said “When the US talks of freedom and human rights they only mean their citizens, they look upon us Yemenis as animals not humans deserving these rights.”
What is more puzzling is the leak in Sana’a and Riyadh of secret negotiations between the four thugs, the GCC, and the west for immunity from prosecution and a U.S.$ 2 billion (two billion US dollars) payout for them to leave power. Politicians from JMP are furious that this arrangement not only shields them from prosecution but also rewards them for the killing and massacres they have carried out throughout the country.
If true, this new proposal will usher the beginning of the end for US interests in Yemen over the long term, as Yemenis will always remember with dismay such a betrayal of democratic principles and values.
Indeed the latest statement by Secretary Clinton on the “strong Yemeni Constitution” was the subject of intense ridicule in Yemen as power should have been transferred to the vice president according to the constitution. Instead it has remained firmly in the hands of the four thugs who have completely sealed off the capital Sana’a as of 5pm June 8th, 2011.
In another display of complete disregard for the Yemeni citizens, the four thugs celebrated the discharge of the Yemeni president from the intensive care unit of the military hospital in Riyadh, with horrific shooting of cannons and heavy machine guns late at night and in several Yemeni cities. For about an hour, the shots lit up the Sana’a night sky and local residents terrified of the ferocity of the bombardment said good bye to their friends through Twitter, Facebook, and mobiles phones. One message on Twitter read “Forgive me the shooting is everywhere around me I might be killed now goodbye.” in Aden the Republican Guard fired cannons and heavy machineguns from the presidential palace in Maasheek in the Crater district, sending residents into a panic. A frantic lady in Aden cried out during a phone call and proclaimed, “They decided to kill us!” State television later announced that the bombardment was a celebration of the president’s good health. In the morning it was revealed that the “celebration” had left 3 dead and over 80 seriously injured.
It’s clear that the four thugs are the driving force behind President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s destructive mismanagement and corrupt rule. Accordingly, it is critical that they are removed from the picture if there is any hope of salvaging the country, especially taking the following events into perspective:
Use of the Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU) against protestors and in local wars against political opponents happened with the full complicity of Yahya Mohammed Abdullah Saleh the commander of the unit and the Central Security Forces (CSF). Three such cases are well documented:
The Huthi war in Saada where several members of the CTU were killed in action and constituted a grave loss to the CTU in 2009.
The bombardment of Al-Ayyam Newspaper headquarters in Aden on the 5th of January 2010.
Clashes in Sana’a between Saleh’s forces and tribesmen loyal to Sheikh Sadeq Al-Ahmar during June 2011.
Misleading intelligence which was provided by Amar Mohammed Abdullah Saleh, the head of the National Security Agency, and resulted in disastrous consequences on secret US military operations in Yemen. Examples are:
Al Majalla strike (17th December 2009) where not a single target of value was killed in the strike and the fiasco culminated in the Deputy Prime Minister apologizing to the Yemeni parliament and “Amnesty international” while publishing photographs of U.S. ammunition debris found at the site.
Mareb strike which killed the Deputy Governor of Mareb Mr. Jabber Al-Shabwani (25th May 2010). In this case in particular, the president informed the father of the slain Deputy Governor that the “Americans killed your son,” pushing further anti-American sentiment in the tribal area. The president’s comments also resulted in wrecking former American Ambassador Edmond Hull’s efforts over the course of 4 years to foster good relationships with the entire tribe.
Atrocities committed against activists and political opponents was ordered and commanded by Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh who used his Republican Guard troops as well as the CSF to carry them out.
In an interview published Saturday 12th June 2011 by Al-Hayat newspaper, Major General Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmar clearly accused Saleh of manipulating the western world with threats of Al-Qaeda, and pointed to terrorist elements in Saleh’s presidential guard who have appeared with him repeatedly during public events in published photographs. The general also singled out Amar and Tareq Mohammed Abdullah Saleh as the overseers of Al-Qaeda operations in Yemen.
What is quite noteworthy is the complete and sudden cessation of piracy in the Gulf of Aden since the start of the youth revolution which further enforces earlier reports linking Saleh’s regime with piracy in the region. As Saleh became more and more engaged with the explosive situation in Sana’a, the threat of piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea diminished.
In this connection, I have also elaborated in a previous report on the two private security companies owned (through fronts) by Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh, and Yahya Saleh which use American military aid and resources funnelled to the Yemeni Coast Guard for private profiteering. According to officials and clients, the two companies are “Lotus Maritime Security Services,” which is based in Sana'a and the Channel Islands-based company called “Gulf of Aden Group Transits Ltd.”
The Coast Guard was also involved in smuggling diesel to Somali pirates in the area, whereby the American Embassy in Sana’a was involved in the removal of the previous Yemeni Coast Guard commander in 2007. Smuggling operations have continued however up to early 2011 and have expanded to include sales of arms, GPS, and radar equipment.
It is clear that post-Saleh Yemen will see legal action brought against all involved in these crimes. Legal action will also be pursued with respect to the criminal use of the CTU against civilians which has been and continues to be well-documented by Yemeni NGO’s in photographs and videos, especially during the last clashes in Sana’a between the Saleh’s regime and the tribal leader Sadeq Al-Ahmar.
The extension of legal ramifications of this regime’s actions to other countries especially the US therefore cannot be avoided. Moreover, under the immunity proposal which is currently being pushed by the American administration as a way out of the crisis in Yemen, only Saleh and his minions are immune, and lawyers are already finding ways of holding other countries liable for Saleh’s crimes.
Contacts with Yemeni, American, British, and French lawyers are currently underway to sue the government, Saleh, his relatives, and all who are involved in crimes against Yemeni citizens. By removing immunity from the GCC initiative however, Saleh and his family will ultimately face the brunt of the foreseen and necessary legal action. It may therefore prove to be a blessing in disguise that Saleh chose not to sign the GCC initiative.
Finally, I should pay tribute to the brave peaceful freedom fighters in all southern governorates as well as the courageous youth gatherings in Sana’a, Taiz, Hudeidah, and Ibb who have made great sacrifices to achieve total national aspirations and bringing to an end an era of corruption, tyranny, and abuse of power. I wish to conclude by stressing the fact that there is no interest for Yemen and its friends in continuing any efforts to secure a conditional return for the dictator on the basis of let bygones be bygones. The dictator of Yemen is a unique example, being a first class liar, merciless, and deceitful ally of governments and individuals who have invested their confidence in his promises and undertakings over the last 33 years.
Today, let us remember the words of the poet Alfred Lord Tennyson, “The old order changes, giving place to the new.” Yemen is entering a new era of stability and development, and I hope that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, other Gulf states, and all other friends of Yemen will offer their understanding and support to an emerging nation.