Written By: Ahmed Al-Jarallah*
Article Date: Oct 12, 2011 - 1:30:53 PM
The Yemeni opposition is pushing itself into a pitfall by dragging the country towards chaos due to its failure to oust President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The way it has been messing up opportunities to resolve the impasse over the last eight months confirms its lack of popularity; hence, it cannot manage the country.
The recent incidents exposed the real identities of the joint forum of parties, which have been making noise to hinder national activities in a bid to project themselves as major players in the local political arena.
The attempt to assassinate all state officials, including the president, is a high level of political bankruptcy and a dangerous indication of the extent to which those forces might go. None of them has been able to impose his decision on the public. They even failed to push for the ouster of the president while he was undergoing treatment in Saudi Arabia for three months.
Saleh returned to Yemen politically stronger among the people and parties but he did not use this strength to hold on to power. He put the interest of Yemen above all else when he announced his intention to step down in the next few days for the competent people to handle national affairs during the transition period. However, it is pertinent to point out that the historic opportunity presented by Saleh is not meant for the opposition alone, but the entire Yemen. If the opposition does not come back to its senses, it will drag the country into a pitfall of sorrow, chaos, terrorism and division.
Despite the intrigues, it is impossible to forget a man who extends the hand of cooperation to everybody to rescue the country from despair. He does not deal with the opposition in the same manner it deals with him, because he considers the issue a family affair and he has decided to come up with a political solution. Unfortunately, the opposition ruined everything when it disregarded dialogue and insisted on protocol for the signatories on the Gulf initiative. The celebration for signing agreements contained in the Gulf initiative took place without affirming the intention of the opposition leaders to head to the presidential palace to sign the document and end the impasse.
On the contrary, they escaped from the window of formality, because they did not have a unified program before having an agreement with the president and his party. It means the opposition wants to create a leadership vacuum before seriously looking for a suitable replacement to the president. The outcome of this arrangement poses a grave threat to the country, similar to what happened in Somalia. Another example is the tension that enveloped Egypt due to failure to transfer power peacefully.
Now that Saleh has announced his plan to step down, the opposition should move forward, end its obstinacy and focus on contributing solutions to shorten the transition period to pave the way for early elections. This is paramount because Saleh will not return to the post after resigning willingly. The joint forum of parties repeatedly claimed having eight million supporters. This entails they can also boast of having majority support to win the elections easily to enable them to impose their choice of leader and form the cabinet as they like. They are convinced that forceful take over of the government is not possible by flexing regional and international political muscle.
Therefore, the joint forum of parties should realize the magnitude of the calamity they have brought to the country and its citizens, as well as the reason for the political leadership’s insistence on the peaceful transition of power. They should understand the GCC countries’ keenness to prevent the transformation of Yemen into a source of terrorism and divide it into various opposing forces, which might allow foreign interference and tension. If the opposition parties understand the danger, they will realize their previous mistakes and revert to peaceful resolution, in addition to maintaining national unity and constitutional institutions.
*Ahmad Al-Jarallah is editor in chief of the Kuwaiti Arab Times newspaper
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