Posts tagged ‘Ali Abdullah Saleh’

April 30, 2011

President of Yemen promptly executes 12 protestors after promise of immunity for war crimes by European Union

[Timothy Wills, Middle East and Africa News Contributor]

EU Observer: From the ‘poisoned chalice’ of the sanctioning of the deployment of cancer-causing depleted uranium ordinance in Libya in support of the rebels, to the endorsement of a plan proposed by the Gulf Co-operation Council (‘GCC‘) to give the Yemeni president, Ali Abdallah Saleh, immunity from prosecution for war crimes, the EU’s bumbling diplomacy is proving to be a disaster in the Middle East.

A glaring recent example, is that  shortly after the endorsement by the EU of the immunity plan for the Yemeni president, whose forces have taken more than 100 lives since the conflicts began, his forces promptly shot 12 protestors and injured more than 100.  Notwithstanding, the EU has said that the deaths do not change its position. However, international human rights groups are saying that the deal for the Yemeni president will be a bad example for other world dictators.

Under the GCC plan, Saleh will enjoy total immunity from any prosecution for wrongdoings if he goes in 30 days, arranges new presidential elections two months thereafter and arranges for more power to be given to opposition activists in a newly formed national unity government.

April 24, 2011

President of Yemen caves in, but asks for immunity from punishment

[Aziza Sourris, Middle East News Contributor]

The New York Times: It seems that peoples’ power in Yemen has achieved a final victory as it incumbent embattled president, Ali Abdullah Saleh,  has announced that  he will step  down after 32 years of single leadership in exchange for being granted immunity from prosecution.

However political observers are trying to make out whether the decision was made under the pressure from the public or as a cunning move to lay the responsibility for the political turmoil ‘on the opposition’s shoulders’.

One of the conditions for stepping down requires the opposition party to stop the street demonstrations and join the ruling party of the president so as to form a coalition government. However, the leader of the opposition, Yassin Saeed Noman, said that he could not ‘force protesters from the streets’ and has not agreed join ranks with the party of the president.

The government, in turn, rejected the opposition’s offer to allow Mr. Saleh’s party to rule for a while until he quits the post and then ‘join a power-sharing government’, saying that the US (who is particularly concerned about certain extra- violent Al-Quaeda branches known to be based in the country) and the EU, as well as the Saudi-led Gulf Cooperation Council were behind the offer.

April 3, 2011

Yemenis continue to demand change – protesters shot

[Ahmed Zola, Yemen Contributor]

BBC News: In the Yemeni city of Taiz, police fired on protesters killing one person and injuring more than 100. The protesters were asking for the resignation of the country’s president who has been in office for more than thirty years.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh has said that he is ready to discuss a peaceful transition of power, but judging from the oppressive actions of his security forces upon demonstrators, many as saying that this is a stall tactic and that he really wants to sit out the conflict.

Taiz has around 500,000 inhabitants and is 200 km south of Sanaa, the country’s capital. The demonstration last Friday was among many in recent times asking for the resignation of the president.

About Yemen

Yemen is a middle eastern country which was formed in 1990. It has a predominantly young population of around 23.4 million and had been occupied previously by the Turks and the British. Its capital is Sanaa and  Ali Abdallah Salih is its current head of state. It borders Saudia Arabia and Oman.

Yemenis are mainly Arab, but there are African strains on its coast. Arabic is its official language, but English is understood in most of its cities.  Muslims are in the majority comprising Sunnies and Shi’ites. Sunnies are found in the south and southeast of the country and Shi’ites are in the north and northwest. Shi’ites claim to be marginalised by the Sunnies and historically there is tension between the two groups.

Yemen is one of the poorest of the Arab countries with an average growth of 3-4% between 2000 and 2007.  It has oil, but its resources are declining.  It is currently attempting to diversify its economy and has been assisted by the World Bank which had, in 2006 raised $4.7 billion for its development fund for use between 2007 and 2010.  It has also benefitted from Gulf Cooperation Council (‘GCC’) countries which has pledged $3.5 billion for development projects in 2007/10.

As in most Arab countries, corruption is a major problem for the country especially in government circles where sectarian interests are openly protected.

February 17, 2011

Bahrain, Libya, Yemen, Iran, Jordan, Morocco in mounting chaos as people power rages on

It seems that the recent events in Egypt have been underestimated in their importance in the rise of an unprecedent wave of people power in the middle east and Africa. Now country after country, previously safe havens for repressive regimes, are suddenly finding that their people are saying that ‘enough is enough’.

Here is a summary of events taking place right now in the region which it seems are destined to cause fundamental changes to how countries there are governed.

Libya – protesters in Benghazi are demanding that a human rights lawyer and opponent of the dictatorial regime of Muammar Gaddafi, be released.  In January of this year, Libyans also angry at widespread corruption in the country had mounted protests in Darnah, Benghazi, Bani Walid and other cities in Libya. They had also stormed and occupied government facilities. The riots then had been quelled by the government responding with a $24 billion investment fund for housing and development.

However, for today, A “Day of Rage” has been planned in Libya and by Libyans in exile and the National Conference for the Libyan Opposition announced that all ” groups opposed to Muammar al-Gaddafi in Libya and in exile should protest against Gaddafi today in memory of demonstrations in Benghazi on 17 February 2006 which had been mainly against Gaddafi’s rule. In early February, in anticipation of the protests, Gaddafi, at a meeting with Libyan political activists, journalists, and media personnel, warned that they would be punished for distubances in Libya.

Iran – Iran’s state broadcaster IRIB has reported violent confrontations between the supporters of the government and protesters in Tehran.  According to Reuters, IRIB said:  “Students and the people attending the funeral ceremony of the martyred student Sanee Zhaleh have clashed with a limited number of people apparently linked to the sedition movement and forced them out by chanting slogans of death to hypocrites” .  Zhaleh was killed during an opposition protest on Monday which was reputedly the act of the state security forcres.  Security forces are using teargas, pepper spray and batons against protesters and around 1,500 have been arrested so far.

Bahrain – King Hamad attempted to placate protesters by his promise to look into the killings of opposition protesters on Monday. Ali Abdulhadi Mushaima  and Fadhel Matrook were both shot when security forces fired indiscriminately at protesting crowds. Previously, there were large demonstrations by Bangladeshis in the county calling for an end to human rights abuses.

The Guardian reports that US State Department spokesman PJ Crowley has expressed concern about events in Bahrain. In a statement last night, he said:  The United States is very concerned by recent violence surrounding protests in Bahrain. We have received confirmation that two protesters in Bahrain were recently killed, and offer our condolences to the families and friends of the two individuals who lost their lives. The United States welcomes the government of Bahrain’s statements that it will investigate these deaths, and that it will take legal action against any unjustified use of force by Bahraini security forces. We urge that it follow through on these statements as quickly as possible. We also call on all parties to exercise restraint and refrain from violence.

Yemen – protesters are  demanding the removal of President Ali Abdullah Saleh and this has been going on for the past five days in the capital Sana’a.  Yesterday, there were clashes between pro-government supporters and the protesters.

Morocco – protest marches are planned for Sunday 20 February and it is reported that more than ten thousand people will be on the streets. The protesters are planning to call for dramatic constitutional reform in the kingdom and real democracy.  They are also looking to ask for the current Moroccan government to leave office so that a caretaker government can prepare a new constitution and set up free and fair elections.

Jordan – in recent events, thousands of Jordanian are on the streets asking for the country’s prime minister to leave office and for the government to take drastic action to stop rising prices, inflation and unemployment. Last Friday, about 3,500 protesters were in the capital, waving banner saying: “Send the corrupt guys to court”. There were around 2,500 people also in the streets in six other cities across Jordan calling for the removal of the current prime minister.

Will ‘people power’ catch on in the West? What do you predict will happen in the middle east and Africa as a result of the newly found power of the people?

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