Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Yemen: Musical chairs not transition to democracy

Yemen's interim prime minister Mohamed Basidowa announced that the vice-president Mansour Hadi will run for president of Yemen uncontested. President Saleh who ruled for 33 years is stepping down after signing a deal brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council.
 Apparently Basindowa has the agreement of the ruling party and the largest opposition party. Basindowa himself was appointed to his position by Hadi. Now Basindowa is returning the favor. The Yemeni citizens get to sit and watch and then to ratify what has been done.
 The young protesters who started demonstrations back in the spring are angered by what is happening. But they don't count. Saleh has been given immunity from prosecution, along with his family, and his aides. Relatives still have important positions in the armed forces. He even retains his title of president for now though he transferred power.
 The UN position on the transfer is typical nonsense with soothing rhetoric but actually contradictory. The UN supports the transition but adds: "'..the members of the Security Council reiterated that all those responsible for violence, human rights violations and abuses should be held accountable." But then the agreement and the transition ensures that Saleh, his familly, and cronies have immunity from prosecution. He and his cronies were responsible for much of the violence and human rights violations.
 What you will have in Yemen is a status quo candidate for the presidency. This is what the U.S. GCC and others will call an orderly transition of power. Saleh cooperated with the U.S. in the war on terror the new old guard will do so also. When it comes to actually promoting democracy or ensuring a reliable client to work with the west even though there is no real change the U.S. and others always choose the latter. Whether this move is able to calm the civil unrest is very much in doubt. For more see this article.

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