Yemen’s President Shirks Transitional Agreement. . . Again

Yemen, one of the more surprising countries to come out of the region’s revolutionary momentum, is back in the news. In recent weeks there’s been a sort of stalemate between President Saleh and the Yemeni people. After a rash of violence in March, numerous army officials, tribal leaders, and government employees dissented from the current regime. 

Then the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council which is made up of six Gulf countries) stepped in. A plan was formulated to remove President Saleh from power in 30 days in hopes to restore order to the tiny country. The deal was presented to Saleh by the opposition leader Sultan Atwani. Saleh looked at the paper, considered his options, and decided not to sign. So what now?

Well, now the countries that make up the GCC are running around, trying to find some way to get the deal back on track. They planned to meet in Riyadh Sunday to try to salvage any remnants of the deal they have left. It’s going to be an uphill battle though. The out-of-touch president already gave a small statement referring to the hundreds of thousands of sustained protesters as “outlaws” and vowing to restore some vestige of order.

Although there can be little doubt for anybody in the region that Saleh will leave office sooner rather than later, his constant shirking of deals that get thiiisclose to coming to peaceful agreement have made him out as one of the delusional leaders in the region. About a month ago, opposition leaders had met with the president over the weekend and had reportedly come to a deal. Saleh was to announce his departure on State television and power would be slowly handed over to an appointed vice president in a “dignified departure.” However, instead, when the President took to the airwaves he must have had a change of heart because he announced, much to the shock and anger of the Yemeni people, that he would actually be staying in power. Then he surrounded his palace with special forces still loyal to his regime.

Now, with Saleh pulling the same tired maneuvers one month later, many in the Gulf region are worried that lasting chaos in the country will lead to an irreversible rise in poverty, and of course, extremism. Yemen has always been known to be a hotbed of extremist activity. The U.S. worked closely with the president to keep tabs on the movements of numerous insurgencies. Saudi Arabia and the UAE also have a fair level of interest in keeping the country as stable as possible as their own security and economies rely highly on international contracts and bringing in workers. If Yemen falls into a chaotic rash of violence, it will no doubt impact every country within close proximity.

Now in the capitol Sana’a and other cities around the nation, crowds are beginning to swell as outrage grips the citizens of Yemen. Numerous reporters fear that this could lead to heavy crackdowns and even more violence. In three months, the government has murdered about 150 of its civilians and many fear that if the people are pushed any further serious confrontations between the government, and even rival factions of the army who have remained peaceful in the past month, may be pushed to their limit.

By Olivia Marudan

Cad. Boondoggler. Swindler. Ass. Plagiarist. Hutcher. A movable feast in the subtle culinary art of shit talking.

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