Written By: Observer Staff
Article Date: Dec 30, 2012 - 9:17:00 PM
Ahmed al-Sofi, Saleh's media advisor
A media advisor to former president Saleh said that his party is going through the same situation experienced by the Socialist party during the 1994 civil war between the north and south of the country.
The Socialist party, which previously ruled south Yemen which unified with the north in 1990 for four years but later engaged in war after the Southern party declared secession from the north. Shortly before secession was declared, a number of southern leaders were assassinated.
The Socialist Party has accused the Islamist Islah party, which previously supported Saleh in his war against the south, of leading a campaign of assassination bids on its party leaders. The Islamist party has denied the accusation.
“I demand both the opposition and the ruling parties to recall the first National Dialogue launched during 1993-1994 and how all parties complied with it… the same forces that targeted the Socialist Party are now targeting security men and the Republican Guard across the country,” said Ahmed al-Sofi.
Yemen has witnessed a series of assassination attempts on military and security personnel by masked men who the government believe to be al-Qaeda.
“I’ll give Dr Eryani [head of the National Dialogue Conference] minutes of the meetings of the National Dialogue Committee, which took place between 93-94.” He said that he wanted the presence of Haidar al-Attas, the Prime Minister during the unity government in 1990, Ali Salim al-Beid, the former leader of the south, and all other then southern leaders to be present now to “set the scene”.
Yemen has been through political turmoil despite a GCC deal signed in 2011 to end one year of popular protest against Saleh’s 33 years in power.
The U.S.-backed deal gave Saleh immunity in return for relinquishing power to his then deputy, Abd Rabu Mansoor Hadi. The deal also divided the government portfolios in half between the then opposition parties, an Islah-led coalition known as the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), and then Saleh’s ruling Party, General People’s Congress (GPC).
With the JMP heading the interim government until the transitional period ends in 2014, the GPC has complained of the exclusion of his military and security commanders, those being ousted by Hadi.
Al-Sofi said: “The GPC is now being stripped of all positions while much fuss is being made over the proportion of delegates to the National Dialogue.”
Yemen is now approaching the National Dialogue Conference, the second part of the deal aimed to address grievances by other parties, like the Southern Movement and the Houthis in the north, who were not included in the first phase of the deal.
The GPC and other main factions have complained about the proportion of delegates that will participate in the dialogue.
“If the three million GPC grassroots are not really represented in the (National Dialogue) Conference, there may be a similar coup as that staged against Ali Abdullah Saleh [in a June assassination attempt in 2011).
GPC has accused the Islamist Islah Party of leading a coup against it and sponsoring the popular protest that broke out in 2011 accompanying a wave of protests in the Arab world. Saleh sustained serious burns when his compound was bombed in June 3, 2011 during Friday prayers with senior advisors who were seriously injured and received treatment in Saudi Arabia.
Al-Sofi blames some of his party leaders who said they are obsessed with the proportion of delegates while “ignoring the main issues that threaten the country”. “I will relinquish my seat in the National Dialogue to those who brought Saleh’s General People’s Congress to such level,” said al-Sofi.
Al-Sofi said that the people responsible for choosing the delegates of the GPC to the National Dialogue Conference are Yahya al-Raei, Parliament Speaker; Sultan al-Barakani, head of GPC bloc; and Aref al-Zoka, the GPC Assistant Secretary General. “GPC should have had new blood and standards for choosing delegates which has been based on the figures responsible for deciding the delegates.”
“I will not participate in the National Dialogue either at a personal or partisan capacity. Those who have caused the GPC to reach such a level are likely to lead Yemen to a worse situation.”
Al-Sofi said that there are GPC leaders who are overselling the southern case. Complaining of grievances, the south has called for secession from the north. “There is nothing that can be called the southern issue; there is a problem, like all other problems across the country. They [parties concerned in addressing the southern issue] are not willing to resolve it as they have much to gain.”.
“The southern case is being oversold by some GPC members and especially by southerners outside the country.”
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