By Hassan Al-Haifi
With respect to the peaceful revolt against the regime of the long standing President of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, one cannot avoid the inescapable conclusion that there are intensive regional pressures, perhaps backed by international considerations to ensure that such revolts should not succeed. Saleh knows well that the implications of a successful popular uprising against his regime, no matter how convincing the clear public support behind the revolt, are bound to have more outreaching effects than the confines of the Yemeni border, especially in the Arabian Peninsula.
This observer must categorically conclude that the conglomeration of political thinkers that make up the Joint Meeting Party is so susceptible to be gulled into believing that they can sidetrack the youth revolt and pretend to be its leaders. That is wishful thinking without any basis by the JMP. Not only that; there is no hope for optimism that the combination of disparate political ideologies and frameworks [Yemeni Congregation for Reform – moderate (Sunni) Islamic, with a malleable political philosophy, often reliant on political arithmetic; Yemeni Socialist Party – once a state, now the remnant of a radical left wing orientation, with a great transformation in political ideology and nationalist orientation, the Al-Haq Party – another moderate (Shiite) Islamic Party, that has lost most of its grass-roots following to the more effective Houthi group, the latter of which has proven to be one of the most formidable effective challenges (and headaches) to the Saleh regime, and a hodge-podge assortment of smaller parties with little effect or reason for pride except to say that they are associated with the bigger failure represented by the JMP] represent any meaningful popular leadership among the revolting youth.
Now comes the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council), or the ultra rich but fumbling oil producing states led by the archaic Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (so despotic that it would make Louis IV turn in his grave, if he sees the horrendous waste and affluence under which this regime is living). Next is the United Arab Emirates, another family dynasty, that has no other worry than commerce and finance, (under the umbrella of a vast network of mostly British think tanks and financial and commercial consultancy and brokerage houses). The UAE is followed by the Sultanate of Oman, another British sphere of Influence, with a Sultan, whose only family, as he claimns is the people of Oman, who he continues to rule with an attempt to be as accommodating as possible to his subjects. Recently, the Sultan found out that even such seemingly astute political thinking is not getting further than the glossy files of the public relations firms that draw up the media agenda of the Sultan. Then one comes to the offshore financial enclave of the Sheikhdom – and now self declared Kingdom of Bahrain (or literally, the Two Seas), which Saudi Arabia now decided to turn into a vassal state of KSA. KSA has no intentions of any modernity in governance, or submission to the will of the people, to be found anywhere, not just in its periphery, but in the entire Arab World. Kuwait is also in the GCC, but somehow, one gets the notion that Kuwait wishes it was situated as far away from Saudi Arabia as it can go. Kuwait has lost its status as a democratic almost constitutional monarchy back in 1990, thanks to the craziness of the Madman of Baghdad, who caused trillions of dollars to be wasted on the destruction of his domain and regional surroundings, and hoped to get back at the Sheikhs of the GCC for dragging him into a war with a tough new Iranian regime that told these ageing despots that I will outlast all of you by generations, no matter who is protecting you. We now come to the State of Qatar (a modern name), which has managed to walk a thin tightrope amongst the rest of the GCC medieval despots, gaining the admiration of most of the leading players in the “international community”, the many of the discontent of this world (for its charitable efforts), and the respect of the world of the media and public relations, with such enterprises as Al-Jazeera – a powerful media outfit that has cut through the barriers of domination, in which international mainstream media tried to envelope world audiences. Qatar’s policy is more realistic, pro-people and certainly attractive to audiences than all the high-tech misleading avenues of public deception and control, by which mainstream media tries to hold world audiences. Qatar is an embarrassment to its fellow GCC members and most autocratic regimes of the region, because the former wins people’s hearts. One is almost convinced that had it not been for the awesome pressure of its fellow GCC members (especially KSA), Qatar would be now much closer to a constitutional monarchy.
So, it is understandable that any remedy for the recent and enduring revolt in the Republic of Yemen should never come out of this partnership of failure (GCC and JMP). Even the blessings of the EU and the good old USA (which has never displayed any good to its own people, let alone the world at large, over the last couple of decades) to the GCC initiative to settling the political crisis in Yemen is further cause for worry than comfort. The reason is that, for all intents and purpose, the GCC would never allow for democratically inclined Yemen to hold sway in the Southern flank of the oil rich peninsula (Saudi Arabia works against democratic change throughout the Arab World as a general policy of the despotic Kingdom, since its creation). The GCC (Saudi Arabia) is clearly adamant at leaving the Saleh regime as long as possible until they can rearrange the political cards in Yemen to their liking. This is where the JMP option as the “opposition” comes in as being more condescending than allowing the Saleh regime to collapse in a manner similar to the Tunisian and Egyptian autocracies that fell earlier in the year. As for the initiative, well all one can say is that one does not give immunity to a bloodsucking vampire while his incisors are still in place (the Central Security, Republican Guards and Home Security organs – under the command of his sons and nephews). Thanks, guys, but our youth seem to know where you are heading and the real mean intentions of the so called GCC initiative. The initiative will not heal any of the moans and groans of the overwhelming majority of the Yemeni people (north and south), who are inescapably fed up with Ali Abdulla Saleh, with the flops of the JMP over the years as an effective opposition and with the arrogance and façade of power and wealth shown by most of the GCC members. Yemen has only one option: the immediate and unconditional removal and accountability of Saleh and his thugs, and a democratic government that will catapult Yemen to a free, united, stable and modern state, God willing.