Hadi’s Murder is Saleh Salvation


Those close to the Yemeni transitional President Abd Rabo Mansour Hadi know that he is addicted to reading books about the world of spies, conspiracies, assassinations and political conflicts, whether for thrones or for government portfolios, and that, even under normal circumstances, he is obsessed by the idea that he himself could one day become a “target”, and that for reasons known only to him.

The irony of Yemen’s present ordeal is that concerns for the safety of Abd Rabo Mansour Hadi are now ours as well and that, ever since Ali Abdullah Saleh signed the Gulf initiative stipulating his departure from power.

But away from such concerns and whether they could be founded or not, and away from what is taking place in the mind of Hadi, let me tell you what goes on in the mind of the former President of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is right now trying to find a way out of his personal crisis which came about when he had no choice but to sign the Gulf initiative in order to avoid the inevitable confrontation with the international community which was ready to freeze his, and his relatives’, assets abroad and to impose sanctions which his fragile regime could not have tolerated.

Thanks to his wits, Saleh has managed to avoid all this, for a while. He also succeeded in deluding the international community and neighboring countries, as well as a large number of opposition leaders or even the leaders of his party who had all imagined that he would hand power over to his deputy and just go away in peace. He even proclaimed that prior to leaving power he would pardon all the martyrs whose deaths were caused by him. What a great and tolerant man he is! This is still the view of certain persons who are manipulated by him, but I personally can claim that I had understood him years before anyone else did. And I can assure you that, while he may abandon the presidency under external pressure, President Saleh will not never give up power as long as there is even the slightest room to manoeuver. So, here is the Saleh master plan for the next ninety days:

First: He would do everything in his power to obstruct the formation of a national unity government. He shall use his influence, and that of Ali Muawda (the presidential official who oversees Saleh’s ongoing phone communications), to disrupt the formation of a national unity government through attempting to impose “baltagiyya” (thugs) personalities who have blood on their hands, or who are corrupt, as members of government, in that opposition parties would refuse their names, which would bring the national dialogue back into block one.

Second: If he does not succeed in this ploy, he may try to, indirectly, inciting the young protestors of the Tahrir Squares into taking revolutionary actions to overthrow the national unity government headed by the opposition figure Mr. Mohammed Salem Basendwah. If this works, Saleh would be seen among the spectators laughing at the international community and at the Yemenis who had imagined they were capable of forming a government whose head was not chosen by him- a thing which had not happened for 33 years in Yemen.

Third: If he cannot topple the national unity government during the next ninety days, he will certainly do all that is in his power to prevent the presidential elections from being held in February. He has several ways to do so, including going into a military confrontation with his opponents, assassinations of high officials in his own party in order to justify military actions against the opposition, or resorting to the final solution, which may be imminent: the physical elimination of Abed Rabbo Mansour, an event which would lead to the cancellation of the elections and allow him to shuffle the cards and play again with time.

We should realize that the Transitional President Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi is right in his fears and lack of confidence in the possibility of exercising his powers as long as the Republican Guards units are still in the hands of Saleh’s children. He knows perfectly well that Ali Abdullah Saleh could be forced to give up the presidency but will not give up his power except by force. Power in Yemen, as Hadi knows, is the Republican Guard, not the presidency or the premiership.

How could his plans to thwart the Gulf Initiative be foiled ? This would be the subject of Part II of this article.

Translated from Arabic by Aline Karim.

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