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Saleh's pride binds him to stay in power
Wed, 27 Apr 2011 16:35:36 GMT
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The PGCC has brokered a deal in Yemen, which includes an orderly transition and an end to three months of turmoil resulting in the death of over 135 people.

Press TV interviewed Assistant Professor Ahmed Alabbasi regarding the resignation of the Yemeni President and the Yemeni youth and opposition movements.

Press TV: According to reports, the Secretary General of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council will visit Sana within a few days to finalize the power transfer plan that requires Saleh to step down thirty days after signing the deal. In your views, does this mean the deal is pretty much done, and what do you think about the initiative all together?

Alabbasi: I would like to give a background about the plan of the [P]GCC countries. The plan doesn't recognize what is happening in Yemen as a revolution. They consider it as a political crisis which is not true. This is why we the Yemeni people are not happy with this initiative. They didn't consider what's happening as a revolution. The other thing is that there is no guarantee that the President after one month will step down.

The most important thing is that we understand in Yemen that the [Persian] Gulf countries while designing this plan an imitative were pushed by what is happening in Bahrain. They are afraid of what the potential is here in Yemen because they are very sensitive to democracy as we all know. So this is why they designed this plan, and this initiative according to their aspirations. They also tried to please the regime, and get it out of power in a nice manner without recognizing that this is a revelation.

This is what I wanted to say about the plan itself. As for the signing of this agreement, the President himself yesterday rejected the plan. In one of his speeches he said we cannot transfer power unless it's by the elections. Anyhow according to some sources this morning, there is a sort of agreement from the two sides: from the opposition side and government regime to sign this agreement. This is one stance. The youth and the Yemenis are not welcoming this initiative. They are insisting on their sit-ins and demonstrations. The political argument can continue between the opposition parties and the government, but this doesn't concern the youth in the sitting in squares.

Press TV: You gave us a detailed account of why the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council may have been involved in Yemen in the first place with the negotiations. What can you tell us about the United States' role in all of this?

Alabbasi: We are surprised here in Yemen because the initiative was planned maybe by three sides: the [Persian] Gulf countries, European Union and America. We were expecting them to fulfill the demands of the Yemeni youth who are now sitting in. We are really surprised why they could not come up with a good proposal that fulfills the demands of the Yemenis here in Yemen.

Now most of the politicians and Yemenis are shocked and surprised by this and even the opposition parties. They are involved in such dialogued and agreement because they had to accept it, for they don't want to create any hostility or animosity with the [Persian] Gulf countries. They want to attract them as friends in the future. They couldn't say no. They know this is going to make like a wall between them and the US sitting in.

Press TV: This isn't the first time that Saleh has vowed to step down. The question is will he keep his promise? Some observers of the situation in Yemen see all this as yet another crafty maneuver by Saleh intended to buy time and also to try and divide and discredit the opposition. What do you think?

Alabbasi: This is possible because we in Yemen believe that Saleh has never been credible. He always changes his mind from time to time. The fact he is going to sign the agreement himself, because there was a sort of fear that he was going to send someone else on his behalf to sign the agreement. But the authorization parties insisted on him signing the agreement. Yes, he is buying time and this is what we have in mind here in Yemen. Everyone has this in mind. He is buying time.

Any point in time he can make some excuses for not continuing in this agreement. He can create some sort of problems and say the opposition parties are behind this problem or whatever. Anyhow the sit-ins and demonstrations are continuing so it will not affect us. Our strength is in the sit-ins and the demonstrations. This is what we are depending on here in Yemen

Press TV: Is Yemen's opposition a unite front and is it rightfully in the interests of the people?

Alabbasi: One of the things the government has been trying to do is divide the opposition parties and the youth. Maybe it has succeeded to some extent but in fact the opposition parties do not represent the youth. As I told you earlier this is a revolution of the Yemeni people. It's not a political uprising. It is between the Yemeni people and the regime.

Yes, those opposition parties are the biggest and are a big part of the Yemenis but not all. So this is what the [Persian] Gulf countries have understood. They should understand that those opposition parties do not represent the Yemenis at large.

Press TV: You mentioned Yemen's youth movement which many consider the backbone of this revolution. We know that men and women under 25 make up nearly three quarters of the population in Yemen. Tell us more about their role in the events taking place. How much of a say do they have in the negotiations?

Alabbasi: I think this agreement would have been successful if they included some representatives of the youth. At least some of their demands could have been included. Now the youth and sit-ins are escalating their activities, and I think in the coming days there will be new ways of having demonstrations. They will go to certain parts of the city, and not just the Presidential Palace because that is the last place they will go.

There are certain areas in Sana'a they haven't gone to. I think we will witness certain types of changes in their techniques. This is what we have gotten from the sitting in the square.

Press TV: If this deal goes through, what will happen after Saleh transfers power to his Vice President? Take us through what you think will be the outcome of this deal. Another question is why is there a one month window of time devised between the power transfer and the stepping down of Saleh?

Alabbasi: The President himself doesn't want to show that he is weak. He wants to dictate his own conditions. He is trying to say okay if I leave power give me some time. There are so many things he wants to rearrange here. I don't know with regards to his immunity, and his regime members and how to arrange his life after the dismissal. I think this is his desire to stay in power for some time.

He doesn't want to be shown that the administrations and initiatives have forced him to leave soon. He is the kind of person that is proud and arrogant. This is clearly shown in his speeches and even in one of his speeches he says he will not live outside Yemen. He said he will live in his home village and secure and take care of himself to show his arrogance.

This is the mentality of the Yemeni soldiers. So I think this month is going to give him some time. There is a possibility of breaking his promise. We are not sure whether he is going to step down or not. But as I told you we are relying on the demonstrations and sit-ins, which is powerful for all Yemenis.

Press TV: What would you expect to happen after this transition takes places? It's definitely going to be a big task for whoever takes over isn't it?

Alabbasi: I think it's going to be a heavy task for him. Now the imitative did not talk about the relatives of the President like his sons and nephews who are in charge of the army. The first demand will be after the resignation of the President to restructure of the military in Yemen.

There maybe we can witness a sort of difficulty and problems. There are some members of the ruling party in the government. For sure there will be some difficulty in handling the affairs of the country and handling the transfer of power.

Different views will be there and we don't know whom Saleh will be appointing in the coming ministry because most of those important figures of the ruling party are not accepted by most people. Their pictures are in the streets as killers of the Yemenis, and the President will nominate them to be ministers and the opposition parties will refuse. The youth will also refuse for them to be ministers in the coming government.

Press TV: The opposition had rejected the Arab initiative. Why the change of heart? Why did they reverse their initial refusal?

Alabbasi: I think under the pressure of the [Persian] Gulf countries they don't want to lose the [Persian] Gulf countries as future friends. So sit-ins and demonstrations will continue, and politically diplomacy forces them to accept this agreement while from within though don't accept it. But they were forced to accept it due to the kind of relationship with the neighboring countries.

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