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'Saleh never to have solace in Yemen'
Tue, 26 Apr 2011 13:16:40 GMT
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Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh
International groups have provided Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh with a deal to step down and immunity from prosecution, but the Yemeni people assure he would not be safe in the future.

In an interview with Press TV, Professor Nabil Mikhael from the University of Maryland tells us that the Yemeni people have reached their limit with President Saleh and that there is no solace for him inside of Yemen even if an agreement is made for his immunity from prosecution.

Press TV: Tell us your understanding of the events that are happening in Yemen, basically today, after this deal.

Mikhael: The president will resign. There will be public elections. This has been in the American newspapers; the decree of the post of Ali Abdullah Saleh has been entered.

We hope there will be no bloodshed. It should not develop the tensions of the Libyans, or the growing conflict in Syria. It shows the importance of regional diplomacy.

The [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council ([P]GCC) was successful in putting pressure on President Ali Abdullah Saleh's exit. We should find a safe exit for him. Again, the question is whether he should be put on trial like Mubarak or not…

Press TV: Why would you think that, unlike what is happening to President Mubarak in Egypt today, there are talks of immunity for President Saleh in Yemen?

Mikhael: We do not know how long this would last. Immunities are not permanent agreements unless it is physically the country.

It cannot be in use. As a matter of fact, if there is a system of government, and it is new, you can very well prosecute him. Why not? This is ensured and this is not really something that is permanent.

Press TV: The reason why I brought this up with you is that this is one bone of contention for the opposition right now because, as long as they're concerned, at least strands of the opposition are saying the recent deal would not work simply because of the fact President Saleh will not face prosecution anytime later on.

It seems that President Saleh will face the prosecution later on and is one bone of contention for the prosecution in Yemen.

Mikhael: I agree with you, that's a nice way of putting it. I cannot dispute this. It can happen. This prosecution can happen for sure.

Press TV: The other thing is that we have forces loyal to General Mohsen al-Ahmad. Are you seeing a showdown, militarily at least, in Yemen?

Mikhael: This can happen and it can be very dangerous. The problem with the armed forces in so many Arab countries including Yemen is that they are not, I hate to say this, as professional as they are in other military institutions.

Second, meaning that these loyalties can be to the tribes, to the denominations, to the region, we have seen Sana'a as being the sea to so many conflicts among different branches of the armed forces. Of course, we hope this would not happen.

But, [there's] the potential of a conflict between one faction of the army and another one of Saleh's loyalists or other group trying to assert themselves in a vacuum - because you have created a vacuum. That can very well happen and this can be a source of instability.

Press TV: Again, there's the issue of the famous saying by President Ali Abdullah Saleh of “safe hands”. Do you think that within the next 30 days President Saleh will find “safe hands”?

Mikhael: I hope so. If you are saying there is a one-month grace period or transition period, I'm quite sure of that.

It's the task of everyone, the Yemeni forces, people, the [P]GCC, just to maximize the pressure and try to ensure that Yemen will be safe. And Yemen will not witness the scenario of Libya.

Libya is an extreme since Gaddafi is so much hated and there was an international sanction against him. But definitely, America did not take enough action to render the resolution against Gaddafi and this is why we have a mess.

America does not want to see a mess, again, in Yemen or Syria. Otherwise, the developments in the Middle East will be uncontrollable and unpredictable, and left for different forces to evolve and take their course.

No other power can really exercise a great deal of influence except in cases where they want the intervention of America and other international groups.

Press TV: Do you think it's a good idea on the part of the opposition not to call on the protesters to stop their protests?

Mikhael: I believe the opposition should not go to the extreme, they should now have a degree of confidence. They should direct and channel the energy of the matter to a different program that can transform their demands into real policies.

So I would say if you have extracted a [deal] from Ali Abdullah Saleh, pay attention to other figures in future developments in Yemen's modern history.

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