By: Hassan Al-Haifi
October 15, 2011
In trying to assess the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Initiative, which is supposedly intended to solve the political upheaval existing in Yemen, it seems quite clear by now that neither the authors of the GCC Initiative, nor the parties that are signatories to this farce of regional diplomacy with international blessings fully comprehend what the so called political crisis in Yemen is really all about. The GCC Initiative deals with the Yemeni situation without addressing any of the real core issues that must be taken care of, if Yemen is to ever enjoy long term political stability and if a modern civil government is to be put in place, in keeping with the aspirations
and due expectations of the Yemeni people. In fact the latter are not even recognized in the GCC Initiative, let alone discussed by this screwball of political reforms, which is presumably tousher in a new age for Yemen.
The first and leading obvious drawback to this GCC Initiative is the obvious neglect of the cause d’être for the GCC Initiative. The GCC Initiative totally ignores the unequivocal fact that there is a large massive revolt by the people of Yemen, led by peaceful youth protesters, who have been calling for an immediate and unconditional removal of the long time reigning dictatorship of Ali Abdullah Sale and his family mob, who are in control of almost every meaningful functioning organs of Government in Yemen (military, civilian and economic). This most important demand of the Yemeni people should be granted similar status and acknowledgement as granted to the similar demands of other popular revolts in the region, in Tunisia Egypt and Libya. This is more so in Yemen, because the entire Government of Yemen has been turned into a private enterprise of Saleh, his relatives, and close of kin
to plunder and abuse as they wish. Under the Saleh tyrannical regime, the Yemeni people have been left with a government that only serves to fulfill the narrow and selfish interests of the latter cited mobsters, while depriving the entire Yemeni people their internationally recognized rights of high quality public services and corruption free governance. Under the Saleh regime, the security situation in Yemen over time went through a gradual metamorphoses from one of the safest and most secure business and living environment to one of themost dreaded security climates in the world. The Saleh regime brought with it terrorism, highway robbery, kidnappings, sea piracy, gun smuggling and yes, even human smuggling, including the illicit trade of trafficking children. All these phenomena were literally non-existent in Yemen before Saleh and his gangster family took the helms of authority under the nozzle of tank cannons on that dreadful day in 1978.
Thus, one must look in awe at amazement how the regional autocracies that “came up” with the GCC Initiative, expect the Yemeni people to regard this ambiguous
effort as a sincere and genuine proposal to remedy all the years of grief and discontent that have been forced upon the Yemeni people, which only came about because of the substantial support from some of these very same regional neighbors. In fact, the Yemeni people neither requested or saw any reason why these good neighbors should provide any proposals at all to remedy a situation that is, for all intents and purposes none of their business. Furthermore, to what extent have these neighbors reached unbeatable expertise on political solutions for other sovereign states, which would be more significant and palatable in deciding the fate of these states than what the people of such states are really and legitimately calling for. Such
neighborly meddling is unheard of in any time in human history and is a clear
violation of the sovereign rights of the Yemeni people in deciding their own destiny.
That takes care of the neighbors, but when coming to the international community, the attitudes of most of the states involved is even more flabbergasting. Many of these states have a long legacy of democratic development behind them and generally favor political solutions to political problems in their own countries that are conducive to the wishes and aspirations of the people in their constituencies. Surely, the people of the United States, for example, understandably, would never settle for a solution dictated by Mexico, Cuba and San Salvador or other neighbors such as even Canada, for the civil rights problems faced in the United States in the Sixties of the last decade, in which large scale massive peaceful and violent protests, led to a significant breakdown in law and order in several parts of the country. If one would have added the Soviet Union then, as well, assuming that only 50 miles of ocean separate Alaska and the former Soviet Union, almost all these neighbors would have been closer to the US than some of the Gulf neighbors are to Yemen. Having said that, would a solution presented by four autocracies (Qatar, wisely, stepped out of the GCC Initiative at the start of the second version) be suitable for a country, in which the people of the country are trying to get rid of one autocracy in its own soil?
When one realizes that the giant autocracy of the GCC was and is currently the sole reason that the Saleh regime is able to hold on to some semblance of power in Yemen to this day, thanks to the generous aid the former provides the latter, then the mediocrity of the GCC proposal becomes all the more apparent.
We then come to the contents of this not so digestible GCC Initiative from logical and legal standpoints.
1) The proposal provides Saleh with full immunity from any questioning or accountability for all the blood he has shed in Yemen, mostly just to keep his hold on the reigns of authority in Yemen, over the last thirty three years and especially over the last eight months. With such immunity, how can justice be exacted for the hundreds of Yemeni unarmed protesters engaged in non-violent peaceful protest who were killed and the thousands who were wounded if the culprits of such heinous crimes are allowed to go free and be rewarded for their crimes against the people they insist they have an indefinite right to keep them under their oppressive rule? On the other hand, what kind of a good precedence would this be for future governments of
Yemen to be held any accountability for their crimes, or the misuse of government authority by the respective officials thereof?
2) The GCC proposal says to Saleh that he can keep all the funds and assets he has illegally expropriated from the state treasury for himself, his kin and supporters, as well as all the assets and other public properties taken without any legal justifications, for himself, his kin and supporters. This is simply unthinkable and would certainly be a dangerous precedent that would bring havoc to the judicious application of law and acceptable standards of honest public service, as understood by all civilized societies. This would deny the Yemeni people a very important right under the social contract between them and their government officials. Would the people of the
United States, Britain or France allow their Presidents or Prime Ministers, if
they just misused public funds, to leave their offices and countries without
demanding that they are made accountable for any amounts misused as such and all the gains they may have made out of such misuse? Yet, the Yemeni people would not even have a right to retain what the crooks of the Saleh regime have stolen, if they were allowed to leave unscathed, let alone undertake legal proceedings against Saleh, his relatives and cronies for such criminal acts.
3) The GCC Initiative also actually grants Saleh an ongoing role (for months) to decide the future of Government in Yemen, as if the people of Yemen have not had enough of the gross misuse of authority that Saleh has displayed throughout his thirty – three years of dictatorial rule, in which almost every government position of significance was either given to his close of kin, fellow tribesmen, or loyal public servants, who are corrupt and who never dispute or question the decisions of Saleh. In addition, Saleh may act in any way he likes during this post Initiative interim period, without being held accountable for any inappropriate or illegal actions he may and can carry out, since the GCC Initiative has already granted him from immunity for any infractions or crimes he committed or could commit as ongoing President. As such the sky is the limit then for Saleh to do whatever he wants to insure his continuity or carry out his revenge against the Yemeni people for rejecting him outright.
Yet the gist of the opposition to this farce of political medicine is that there is no
consideration for the hundreds of Yemenis, who have lost their lives, and suffered heavy injuries and lost their economic well being, during this long ordeal that the Saleh regime has put them through over the last ninemonths. Is this fair? The Yemeni people are demanding a legitimate change from dictatorship, corrupt government and family rule to a democratic government of the people, by the people, and for the people, which obviously one cannot expect the four autocracies behind the GCC Initiative to agree with in the first place. As for the international community providing their own guarantees to this get away with murder proposal for Ali Abdullah Sale and his fellow mobsters, all one can sayis, this really adds more insult to injury against the Yemeni people.
Part II: The Suspicious Role of Yemen’s So Called Opposition Parties and Factions
 When the Constituent Assembly met to
decide on who should be assigned to the Presidency on July 17, 1978, the premises
of the provisional parliament then was surrounded by tanks from all sides and
Saleh’s thugs were all over the premises grounds. So the notion of Saleh coming to the
Presidency under legitimate legal or constitutional “democratic”
cover should never be entertained by anyone with any sense of understanding of
the Yemeni political scene and of Yemen’s modern history.