Showing posts tagged as "saleh"

Showing posts tagged saleh

5 Jul
Middle East Live Update | Guardian
11.32am: Yemen:
The internatonally-backed “transition” plan which resulted in the removal of President Saleh last February has often been touted as a model for the way forward in Syria. However, the latest report from the International Crisis Group highlights a lot of shortcomings.
The nation essentially has witnessed a political game of musical chairs, one elite faction swapping places with the other but remaining at loggerheads …
The settlement failed to resolve the highly personalised conflict between Saleh and his family on the one hand, and General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, as well as the powerful al-Ahmar family, on the other …
Likewise, the underlying political economy of corruption has remained virtually untouched. The same families retain control of most of the country’s resources while relying on patronage networks and dominating decision-making in the government, military and political parties.
For frustrated independent activists, the struggle at the top amounts to little more than a political see-saw between two camps that have dominated the country for some 33 years …
The army is still divided, with warring commanders escaping the president’s full authority. Armed factions and tribal groups loyal to Saleh, Ali Mohsen or the al-Ahmars remain in the capital; elsewhere the situation is far worse

MORE LIVE UPDATES (Guardian)
Photo: Al@ce/Flickr

Middle East Live Update | Guardian

11.32am: Yemen:

The internatonally-backed “transition” plan which resulted in the removal of President Saleh last February has often been touted as a model for the way forward in Syria. However, the latest report from the International Crisis Group highlights a lot of shortcomings.

The nation essentially has witnessed a political game of musical chairs, one elite faction swapping places with the other but remaining at loggerheads …

The settlement failed to resolve the highly personalised conflict between Saleh and his family on the one hand, and General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, as well as the powerful al-Ahmar family, on the other …

Likewise, the underlying political economy of corruption has remained virtually untouched. The same families retain control of most of the country’s resources while relying on patronage networks and dominating decision-making in the government, military and political parties.

For frustrated independent activists, the struggle at the top amounts to little more than a political see-saw between two camps that have dominated the country for some 33 years …

The army is still divided, with warring commanders escaping the president’s full authority. Armed factions and tribal groups loyal to Saleh, Ali Mohsen or the al-Ahmars remain in the capital; elsewhere the situation is far worse

MORE LIVE UPDATES (Guardian)

Photo: Al@ce/Flickr

14 Jun
For Yemen’s New President, a Battle for Control and a Tug of War With the Past | New York Times
By Laura Kasinof
SANA, Yemen — A military ceremony that took place here last month seemed to indicate a smooth transition from Yemen’s former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to its new leader, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
Mr. Saleh’s nephew Brig. Gen. Tariq Saleh ceded his post leading one of the country’s most well-armed military regiments — the Third Brigade, based in the mountains around Sana — to Brig. Gen. Abdul-Rahman al-Halili, who was Mr. Hadi’s pick for the job.
FULL ARTICLE (NYT)
Photo: Yahya Arhab/European Pressphoto Agency

For Yemen’s New President, a Battle for Control and a Tug of War With the Past | New York Times

By Laura Kasinof

SANA, Yemen — A military ceremony that took place here last month seemed to indicate a smooth transition from Yemen’s former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to its new leader, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Mr. Saleh’s nephew Brig. Gen. Tariq Saleh ceded his post leading one of the country’s most well-armed military regiments — the Third Brigade, based in the mountains around Sana — to Brig. Gen. Abdul-Rahman al-Halili, who was Mr. Hadi’s pick for the job.

FULL ARTICLE (NYT)

Photo: Yahya Arhab/European Pressphoto Agency

26 Feb

Yemen Swears In New President to the Sound of Applause, and Violence

LAURA KASINOF

SANA, Yemen — Yemen’s first new president in more than three decades was sworn in on Saturday, taking over a country with a broken economy, crumbling infrastructure, violent separatist movements, an active Qaeda franchise and Islamist militants in control of large swaths of territory.

After a year of antigovernment protests and rising insecurity in a country the United States sees as a critical ally in the fight against Al Qaeda, Yemenis were hopeful that the new government led by Abed Rabu Mansour Hadi, the former vice president, represented a fresh start.

But as if to underscore the problems Mr. Hadi faces, hours after he took the oath of office and promised to continue the war on Al Qaeda, militants attacked government targets in the southeastern port of Mukalla, killing at least 21 soldiers.

The swearing-in ceremony, in a room in Parliament packed with legislators, diplomats and journalists, was strikingly cheerful. Members of the former ruling party and the opposition, who fought bitterly over the past year, greeted one another with smiles, handshakes and kisses on the cheek.

When Mr. Hadi entered, the room burst into applause. He took the oath standing between two men who led enemy camps last year, Yahya al-Rayie, the Parliament speaker and a loyalist of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, and Himyar al-Ahmar, whose tribesmen fought government forces on the streets of northern Sana.

“I know that there are complex and interlocking crises: economic, social and security,” Mr. Hadi said afterward.

He called the fight against Al Qaeda “a national and religious duty.” And in an indirect reference to his predecessor, the autocratic Mr. Saleh, he urged officials from both sides to work together to “build a strong state through establishing institutions that are not based on a single personality.”

Mr. Hadi, 65, had been chosen as a consensus candidate by the former ruling party and the opposition, and was confirmed in a one-candidate election on Tuesday. The election was part of a United States-backed deal to end the political crisis and remove Mr. Saleh from office.

Despite the lack of choice, the turnout was heavy, said by the government to be 65 percent, suggesting that after more than a year of protests and unrest in which hundreds were killed, Yemenis were eager to embrace change.

“We consider this a historic day for Yemen,” said Ali al-Mamari, a legislator who quit Mr. Saleh’s party last spring after government supporters used violence against peaceful protesters. “All year there was a revolution, but now a new revolution started that is without weapons, without conflict, to transform our country into a civil state. I am incredibly happy.”

The challenges remaining, however, are immense.

“This transfer of presidential power is historic for Yemen,” said April Alley, a regional analyst for the International Crisis Group. “But it’s the days ahead that are going to really matter.

“There are the economic and security challenges that are immediate,” she said. “And also there are political challenges when it comes to pulling the country back together, dealing with the separatist movement in the south and a different set of grievances with the Houthis,” rebels who control Saada Province in the north.

FULL ARTICLE (New York Times)

21 Feb

Bloomberg: Saleh’s 33-Year Rule in Yemen Ends Today With Vote That Benefits His Party

Donna Abu-Nasr and Mohammed Hatem

 Yemenis vote today in a presidential election that formally ends the 33-year rule of Ali Abdullah Saleh, who becomes the fourth Arab leader to succumb to a popular uprising — albeit on some of his own terms.

As part of the Gulf-brokered accord that concludes Saleh’s reign, the vice president for the past 18 years, Abdurabu Mansur Hadi, is running uncontested. Hadi was appointed leader after Saleh signed a power transition accord in November in return for immunity for himself and his inner circle.

“The importance of the election is that it’s a symbolic turning point,” April Longley Alley, senior analyst for the Arabian peninsula at the International Crisis Group, said in a telephone interview from Sana’a, the capital. “It’s a way to allow for a symbolic break from a past era so that there could be an opportunity to move forward.”

FULL ARTICLE (Bloomberg)

23 Nov

CNN: Yemen after Saleh: Still a treacherous road

April Longley Alley, Yemen analyst at the International Crisis Group, says the Riyadh deal offers an “opportunity to move past the current political impasse and to deal with critical issues like deteriorating economic and humanitarian conditions as well as the very difficult task of institutional reform.”

Even so, Longley Alley and other analysts expect the epilogue to be anything but predictable. There are plenty of competing elements left behind: the thousands of mainly young demonstrators who took to the streets of Sanaa and other cities in January to demand democratic change; the tribal alliance that took up arms against Saleh; secessionists in the north and south; well-organized Islamist groups; and a budding al Qaeda franchise.

Perhaps the most powerful figure in Yemen now is Brig. Gen. Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, commander of the 1st Armored Division. He defected in March and took a chunk of the army with him. His units now control northern districts of the capital and are facing off against powerful remnants of the Saleh clan. The president’s son, Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh, long groomed to be his successor, and his nephew, Yahya Muhammad Saleh, command the most effective units.

Longley Alley says the Gulf Cooperation Council accord “does not deal effectively with lingering tensions between Saleh’s family on one hand and Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar and the powerful al-Ahmar family on the other. Each of these power centers is heavily armed and still poised to fight.”

As if to remind the diplomats of the scale of the task ahead, pro- and anti-Saleh factions clashed in Sanaa hours before the ceremony. The challenge of “securing a cease-fire, removing armed tribesmen from urban centers, returning the military to the barracks and engaging in military-security reform will be serious stumbling blocks post-signing,” according to Longley Alley.

FULL ARTICLE (CNN)

NYT: Yemen’s Leader Is Reported to Accept Yielding His Powers

 and LAURA KASINOF

SANA, Yemen — After months of street protests calling for his resignation, President Ali Abdullah Saleh traveled to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday to sign an agreement that would require him to immediately transfer his powers to his vice president, a move that could pave the way for an end to Mr. Saleh’s 33-year rule.

Under the deal, Mr. Saleh would retain his title until new elections in three months and receive immunity from prosecution. But it remained to be seen whether Mr. Saleh, who has backed out of signing such an agreement on several previous occasions, would actually follow through. It was also unclear when, and if, the president intended to return to Yemen.

Within hours of the announcement, what seemed to be artillery fire echoed in the city.

Yemeni political analysts and Western diplomats said they had reason to hope that this time would be different.

His opponents and Yemen’s foreign allies, including the United States, have put increasing pressure on Mr. Saleh to sign a deal, warning that the country, stalled by protests and wracked by successive rounds of bloody factional fighting, is on the brink of collapse. The fighting has crippled the country’s already sputtering economy and the central government is rapidly losing what little control it had of outlying provinces.

Mr. Saleh was also facing the threat of international sanctions. “There was no more room for him to maneuver,” said Abdul-Ghani al-Iryani, a Yemeni political analyst and the head of a nonpartisan group that campaigns for democracy.

The sanctions, he said “would end up suffocating his regime and even maybe put him behind bars.”

But few people thought the agreement would signal the end of Mr. Saleh’s political ambitions. “He figures the rest of the maneuvering can be kept for after the signing,” Mr. Iryani said.

The president’s surprise trip to Riyadh, the Saudi capital, had been rumored for days but was not announced beforehand. It came after several days of intense negotiations between opposition politicians and the president’s representatives, brokered by a visiting United Nations envoy.

Yemeni opposition leaders, who would join members of Mr. Saleh’s party in a new unity government, were scheduled to fly to Riyadh later on Wednesday for the signing of the agreement, which was brokered by several Persian Gulf states.

Even with such an accord, formidable challenges remained. Youth activists have said the agreement and in particular the immunity clauses would not satisfy thousands of demonstrators still camped in city squares throughout the country, demanding trials for Mr. Saleh and members of his government in connection with the killings of scores of demonstrators.

The youth activists framed the agreement as a deal between political elites, rather than a step forward for their revolt. April Longley Alley, a senior analyst with the International Crisis Group who studies Yemen, said that while the agreement facilitated the exit of Mr. Saleh, “Yemenis from across the political spectrum are looking for much broader and deeper political change.”

FULL ARTICLE (The New York Times)