Written By: Elena White
Article Date: May 7, 2012 - 2:36:32 PM
UN special envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar arrived two weeks ago in Yemen in a bid to smooth out the power transfer process and prevent warring factions to escalate dissension issues into yet another armed conflict.
Archive: Benomar meets with Yemen speaker of parliament Yahya al-Rai
Determined to oversee the complete application of the GCC brokered agreement which not only saw the departure from power after three decades of President Ali Abdullah Saleh but organized the terms of the transition period, Benomar warned that any party, militia or individual who would hinder President Hadi’s efforts would face severe sanctions.
Ever since the issuance of presidential decrees ordering the demotion form their military posts of Saleh’s family members, the General People’s Congress, aka the ruling party argued that Hadi was playing al-Islah’s game, the main party of the opposition and Yemen’s Islamic faction.
Saleh’s loyalists are complaining that Hadi is not fairly sticking to the principle of equal share of power as he is tipping the balance in favor of the Joint Meeting Party, hence al-Islah, since it mainly rules over it.
However, President Hadi maintained that he was merely putting in application the clause provisioning for a restructuration of Yemen’ s armed forces.
It is in such a tense political atmosphere that Benomar landed in Sana’a, the capital, having for main mission to convince the Salehs to peacefully and willingly abandon their positions of power.
And if General Mohamed Saleh al-Ahmar, President Saleh’s half-brother and Commander of the air force, reluctantly agreed after he was threaten of a rank demotion and a freeze of assets to hand out his base and powers to his successor, Tarek Mohamed Saleh, one of saleh’s nephews is still defying President Hadi.
Tarek who was formerly the Head of the Presidential Guards was moved to Hadramaut a few weeks ago by presidential decree to be replaced by General al-Halely, an astute military stratege. Although al-Halely is considered of man of the regime, a pro-Saleh, Tarek refused at first to bow down to the presidential will.
In a bid to preserve peace, President Saleh asked Hadi to transfer instead his nephew to the 1st Republican Guard Brigade, asking for the Brigade to be dispatched to his personal protection. Those close to Yemen’s former strongman revealed under anonymity to the Yemen Observer that Ali Saleh felt uneasy at the idea of being left without proper protection since the attack last year against his presidential compound. And understandably, the President was severely wounded in the blast which tore through the Mosque in which dignitaries and officials were performing the weekly Friday prayer.
President Hadi however refused, saying that Tarek was to be moved to Hadramaut.
After much insistence from Benomar, Tarek finally caved in to international and national pressure handing out his hat.
With divisions growing ever deeper in between President Saleh and his former deputy, President Hadi, Benomar is trying to convince the former to leave Yemen for a while in order for the new coalition government to resume the power-transfer process.
Moreover, Benomar wants President Saleh to stop “meddling within the country’s affairs and retire from political life as per stipulated in the GCC initiative.”
Rumors circulated earlier this week that President Saleh would have agreed to move to the UAE for a while and then to retire to Russia where he was offered asylum and guarantee of immunity.
Members of the GPC however refuted the allegations, accusing the Media of reporting “vicious gossips to tarnish Saleh’s reputation and pervert the course of the transition of power.”
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