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Monday, December 26, 2011

Yemen: Protesters criticize U.S. Ambassador's statemement

     Attacks on protesters by Yemeni forces killed at least nine people on Saturday. The protesters marched from Taiz to the capital Sanaa. The protesters want Saleh and his cronies to be held accountable for their crackdown against protests that killed and wounded many. Instead Saleh, his family, and his cronies have been granted immunity from prosecution in a deal supported by Saudi Arabia and the U.S. The deal transferred power to Saleh's vice president Major General Hadi.
     The U.S. ambassador Gerald Feierstein told a press conference that the protest was “not peaceful,”  and was intended to “provoke a violent response.” Feierstein also said that “if 2,000 people decided to protest against the White House in the US, we do not consider it a peaceful act and will not allow this.”  The U.S. seems solidly behind the new regime that includes many of the old guard including members of Saleh's family.
   Saleh himself is said to be considering travel to the U.S. The U.S. has said he cannot come except for medical reasons. No doubt that will be the excuse anyway! The treatment of Saleh contrasts with the treatment of other dictators who have killed their own people such as Assad or Gadaffi. While Saleh's killings have not been as extensive they nevertheless have been real enough and yet the U.S. and the GCC have been anxious to ensure that he steps down with impunity and that the old guard guides any transition.
    Hadi is to run unopposed in the next presidential election. Much of the official opposition has been bought off by being granted a few places in the interim government. However, those who started the protests against Saleh are not fooled by what happened and are continuing their opposition in the streets. The U.S. has made it clear whose side they are on. For more see this article.


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