Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, April 2010
Yemeni Revolution in Full-Force in Various Cities Despites Attempts of the US-Backed Dictator, Ali Saleh, to Stay in Power
March 1, 2011
By Hassan El-Najjar
Editor of Al-Jazeerah, CCUN
The Yemeni revolution is in full-force with protests in almost all of the Yemeni cities, calling for befalling the dictatorial regime, starting with the dictator, Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Arabs have been waiting impatiently for Libyans to achieve their goal of ending the dictatorial regime of Mou'ammer Al-Qaddafi. Libyan revolutionaries have achieved most of their goal by controlling all of the country except the capital and the city of Sirt. It seems that the Libyan dictator does not want to accept the people's will to depose him. He has decided to fight to the end, causing more bloodshed and more suffering among Libyans.
Yemenis, like all Arabs, were watching Aljazeera TV, which covers the Arab Revolution 24/7, hoping that the Libyan dictator leaves office as the Tunisian and Egyptian dictators did. Because he refused to do that so far, Yemenis have resumed their protests to throw out the regime of the Yemeni dicator, Ali Abdullah Saleh.
So far, Yemeni protests have been peaceful but if the police continue to kill protests, Yemenis may resort to burning police stations, like their brethren in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya did before. Then, the dictator will be forced either to leave or to use his secret security forces to prolong the suffering period of the revolution.
One ridiculous development happened today when the Yemeni dictator accused the US and Israel of standing behind the Arab revolution. He forgot that he and his regime would not have continued without support from the US. He ignored the fact that he allowed the CIA to operate publicly in Yemen, flying drones to kill Yemeni citizens suspected of being members of Al-Qaeda !!!
Hosni Mubarak and Bin Ali did not go that low to accuse their Israeli and Zionist masters of toppling them. Indeed, there are different types of dictators. Some of them are smart with good sports spirit, like Bin Ali, who accepted the defeat and left early on, without further bloodshed. There are also dum dictators, like Hosni Mubarak, who needed millionis and millions of Egyptians to tell him again and again that they did not want him anymore, until finally he got it. A third type of dictators are the bloody ones, like Qaddafi, who won't accept defeat and will do everything they can to cause more bloodshed, harm, and suffering to peopl before they are forced out by the force of arms.
Anyway, Yemenis are saying that they won't wait for Libyans to finish their job, so are the Iraqis who went out in protests all over Iraq on Friday, followed by Omanis yesterday.
Tens of thousands protest in Yemen, clashes in south
Anti-government protesters shout slogans during a protest demanding the ouster of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh outside Sanaa University March 1, 2011. Credit: REUTERS/Ammar Awad
By Mohammed Ghobari and Mohammed Mukhashaf
SANAA/ADEN | Tue Mar 1, 2011 10:31am EST
SANAA/ADEN (Reuters) -
Tens of thousands of protesters flooded Yemen's streets on Tuesday in a fresh "Day of Rage," demanding an end to the president's three-decade rule.
In the capital Sanaa, protesters chanted "With blood and soul we support you, Aden" -- the port city where most of the 24 protesters killed in the past two weeks of protests have died.
Some protesters made "V" for victory signs while others wore white headbands with "Leave" written in red.
Tens of thousands more also marched through the streets of Ibb and Taiz, south of Sanaa.
President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a U.S. ally against al Qaeda's Yemeni wing, has failed to quell two months of protests in a country of 23 million where 40 percent live on less than $2 a day and a third are undernourished.
"Victory is coming and it is near," Hassan Zaid, an opposition leader, shouted to the protesters gathered in Sanaa, where protesters have been camping out for two weeks.
"We have one goal and one demand, and that is the quick end of the regime."
Protesters are angry at widespread corruption, as Yemeni university graduates struggle to get jobs without connections, and youth unemployment is high. Northern rebels and southern separatists say they are denied resources and a say in politics.
As oil and water resources dry up, the 68-year-old leader is less able to pay off allies to keep the peace.
Saleh has met tribal and regional military leaders, and offered talks to form a unity government on Monday. But the political opposition swiftly rebuffed the offer, saying it was standing with protesters demanding he step aside.
CLERIC SWITCHES SIDES
A leading hardline Muslim cleric, Sheikh Abdul-Majid al-Zindani, who two weeks ago backed the idea of Saleh staying in power until 2013, joined protesters on the streets of Sanaa.
"There is no legitimacy to a ruler whose people do not want him," Zindani said.
Saleh himself lashed out at President Barack Obama over demands that leaders show restraint in tackling unrest as protests galvanized by successful uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia rage across Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and Oman.
"Every day we hear a statement from Obama saying 'Egypt you can't do this, Tunisia don't do that'," Saleh said in a speech at Sanaa University, a rallying point for protests in the capital where tens of thousands have gathered outside campus.
"What do you have to do with Egypt? Or Oman? Are you the president of the United States, or president of the world?"
In Aden, protesters following the example of their peers in Taiz and Sanaa set up tents, but covered them with black flags and pictures of protesters killed in clashes with police.
In Hodeidah province in the north, Saleh loyalists and protesters fought with rocks and sticks. Four people were hurt.
Security forces in the south have come under frequent attack in recent days. On Tuesday, separatists fought the army in southern Habilayn, killing two soldiers and wounding three.
The U.S.-based Human Rights Watch said at least eight people detained by Yemen security forces last month, several of them southern separatists, had disappeared.
"Snatching and hiding political opposition leaders ... is hardly compatible with the government's claim to protect rights," said Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW's Middle East director.
Also in the south, tribesmen kidnapped an Uzbek doctor, saying they would use him as leverage for demands that the government hold accountable those behind an airstrike aimed at al Qaeda that killed dozens of civilians in December 2009.
Analysis & Opinion
Yemeni president says US and Israel behind unrest
By AHMED AL-HAJ Associated Press
Mar 1, 2011, 9:18 AM EST
Yemen's embattled U.S.-backed president accused Washington on Tuesday of instigating protests against his regime, as hundreds of thousands marched in cities across Yemen in the largest rallies yet seeking the longtime ruler's ouster.
President Ali Abdullah Saleh's allegations, unprecedented in their harshness, signaled a growing rift with the United States that could hurt a joint campaign against the al-Qaida terror network in Yemen.
Saleh's comments Tuesday, including charges that the U.S. Embassy in the capital of Sanaa is giving instructions to the protesters, appeared to be part of an attempt to silence the calls for his resignation. Saleh has come under mounting pressure to step down since anti-government protests erupted a month ago.
Opposition parties joined for the first time Tuesday, and organizers said they brought hundreds of thousands into the streets in cities across Yemen for the largest turnout yet.
In Sanaa, tens of thousands rallied near the university, chanting "the people want the downfall of the regime."
Sheikh Abdul-Majid al-Zindani, considered by the U.S. be linked to the al-Qaida terror network, led noon prayers and warned the government not to use force against demonstrators. " We hail the peaceful revolution of the youths and their legitimate demands and rights," he said.
Yaseen Said Nouman, leader of the Socialist Party, which ruled south Yemen before merging with the north in 1990, also joined the rally. The Socialist party is the biggest opposition party in the south.
About 6,000 government supporters held a counter march in Sanaa, raising pictures of Saleh and shouting "No to anarchy, no to destruction."
Yemen is a key battleground against al-Qaida, and Saleh has been a weak, but important partner for Washington. His government, which receives millions of dollars in U.S. military aid, has allowed American drone strikes on al-Qaida targets.
However, in a speech to about 500 students and academics at Sanaa University, Saleh appeared to be turning on his ally, claiming the U.S., along with Israel, is behind the protest movement.
"I am going to reveal a secret," he said. "There is an operations room in Tel Aviv with the aim of destabilizing the Arab world. The operations room is in Tel Aviv and run by the White House," he said.
He said opposition figures meet regularly with the U.S. ambassador in Sanaa to coordinate efforts.
"Regrettably those (opposition figures) are sitting day and night with the American ambassador where they hand him reports and he gives them instructions," Saleh alleged.
"The Americans also talk with the government officials about this (the protests), but they tell them `allow these people to demonstrate in the streets'," Saleh said. "We say that this is a Zionist agenda."
The wave of political unrest sweeping across the Arab world is a "conspiracy that serves Israel and the Zionists," he added.
Saleh accused President Barack Obama of meddling in the affairs of Arab countries. "Why is he interfering? Is he the president of the United States or the president of the Arab world?" Saleh said.
The president reiterated that he will not relinquish power and lashed out at the opposition for rebuffing his call Monday to set up a national unity government. "The opposition is bankrupt and possesses no programs," he said.
Saleh has said he will not step down before presidential elections in 2013.
Tuesday's large turnout at the anti-government rallies was driven, in part, by a decision of key opposition parties to join the protests. Last week, Saleh was also abandoned by chiefs from his own tribe.
Protester organizers reported crowds of tens of thousands each in five locations. A total of eight protesters were hurt in clashes with police in the provincial towns of Hudeidah and Sayoun.
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