Saleh again Defies US, GCC, refuses to Go

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh refused again on Sunday to sign an agreement brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council with his opposition agreeing to step down. He demanded that the opposition leaders, who had signed on Saturday, come to his palace to sign again. In the meantime, his helicopters had to rescue the ambassadors who negotiated the deal from a mob of his supporters, who (probably on his orders) had surrounded the UAE embassy. The UAE ambassador flew out of the country, probably in a fury.

Over the weekend, Saleh had said again that he would resign “within 30 days,” even though he is convinced that his doing so would pave the way for an “al-Qaeda” takeover of Yemen. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had called on Saleh to follow through this time (Saleh has signalled he would step down before, only to renege, as he seemed to yet again on Sunday). There are only an estimated 300 al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen, a country of 23 million, mainly in Ma’rib Province, and they are not important in national politics, so Saleh’s excuse for remaining in power is pretty poor.

Aljazeera English reports on the continued jockeying this weekend between Ali Abdullah Saleh and his political opposition:

Since US media has largely stopped reporting on Yemen’s massive protests, in which nearly 200 have lost their lives from government repression, the domestic pressure on Saleh is hard to imagine over here. The USG Open Source Center summarizes Yemeni press reports on this weekend’s big demos and the opposition’s criticism of the international community for its silence in the face of brutal crackdowns on dissent by Saleh’s regime. [Note: these have been slightly rearranged for less chaotic reading]:

Yemeni Protesters Reject Initiatives, Denounce ‘International Silence on Crimes’…
Yemen — OSC Summary
Saturday, May 21, 2011…

Yemeni newspapers and news websites were observed on 20 and 21 May to report extensively on unrest in Yemen, including anti- and pro-government protests. The following is a roundup of reports as published by Yemeni papers and websites…

[Anti-Regime Reports]

Sanaa Al-Sahwah Online in Arabic (News website of opposition Yemeni Reform Grouping, aka Islah Party)

on 20 May carries a 1500-word report saying that millions of Yemenis staged mass protests all over Yemen after Friday sermons in what they called the “Friday of the unity of the people.” The report says that millions of people marched in the streets of Ta’izz, Aden, Ibb, Dhamar, Al-Dali, Hajjah, Al-Bayda, Lahij, Shabwah, Al-Hudaydah, and Al-Mukalla calling for the immediate departure and the prosecution of President Salih and his regime. The report says that the protesters expressed their rejection of the GCC initiative and called on the GCC countries to stop their support for President Salih. The report says that protesters denounced the use of force against the peaceful protesters and called on the protesters in Sanaa to march to the presidential palace to force President Salih to step down. The report says that dozens of chieftains and key figures of the General People’s Congress, GPC, have joined the protesters. The report says that the revolution youth called on merchants and businessmen to start civil disobedience. The report says that the protesters called on the Armed Forces and Central Security Forces to join the protesters and the GCC countries to withdraw their initiative and to support the Yemeni people…

Ma’rib: Ma’rib Press in Arabic (Independent news website focusing on Yemeni affairs)

on 20 May carries a 150-word report saying that women staged a mass protest in Sanaa calling for the immediate departure of President Salih and rejecting the GCC initiative. The report says that the protesters denounced international silence on the crimes committed against the peaceful protesters. The report says that the protesters expressed their gratitude to Qatar, Turkey, and Kuwait for their support of the revolution. The report says that the protesters called on the Arab League, human rights and international organizations to prosecute President Salih and his regime for the crimes committed against the peaceful protesters…

Ansarullah in Arabic (Pro-Huthist website, critical of United States, Israel; online dissemination point for the Huthist publications Nashrat al-Haqiqah and Mutaba’at Sahafiyah)…

on 20 May carries a 200-word report saying that the people of Sa’dah organized a mass protest in support of the youth revolution. The report says that the protesters called for toppling the regime and expressed their rejection of all initiatives, considering them “intervention in Yemen’s affairs and an attempt to cover the regime’s crimes.” The report says that the protesters issued a statement in which they denounced the “regime’s brutal practices” against the protesters and called on all Yemenis to escalate their protests until the President steps down…

Ma’rib: Ma’rib Press in Arabic (Independent news website focusing on Yemeni affairs)

— on 20 May carries a 200-word report saying that 10 protesters were injured when thugs affiliated with the ruling party attacked a peaceful march in Al-Hudaydah Governorate after the Friday sermon…

Sanaa Akhbar al-Yawm Online in Arabic (Website of independent daily newspaper featuring frequent reporting on Yemeni tribal affairs…)

— on 21 May carries a 250-word report saying that thousands of people staged a mass protest in Kraytar, Aden Governorate after Friday sermon calling for the immediate departure of President Salih and expressing their rejection of the GCC initiatives, saying that these are tailored for President Salih. The report says that the people praised the Qatari position and called for staging marches to the presidential palace. The report adds that security forces prevented citizens coming from Abyan and Lahij from entering Aden lest they should take part in the protests…

Al-Mukalla Dammun Net in Arabic (Independent electronic newspaper with anti-government orientation, focusing on southern governorates…)

— on 20 May carries a 250-word saying that the Change Youth Coalition of Hadramawt organized a mass rally in Wadi al-Ayn Wahurah District under the name “Toppling the regime is the key point for a solution to the Southern cause.” The report says that the protesters called for the immediate departure and the prosecution of the president and the regime…

Sanaa Al-Sahwah Online in Arabic (News website of opposition Yemeni Reform Grouping, aka Islah Party)

— on 20 May carries a 150-word report saying that the revolution youth called on all businessmen, merchants, and employees to go on civil disobedience tomorrow in support of the peaceful revolution and in loyalty to the blood of the martyrs who were killed at the hands of the regime…

Sanaa, Akhbar al-Yawm Online in Arabic

on 21 May carries a 200-word report saying that tens of thousands of people staged a mass protest after the Friday sermon in Damt and Juban calling for a mass march to the presidential palace to force the president to step down. The report says that the people denounced the lies and media discourse of Yemen, Saba, Aden, and Al-Yamaniyah Satellite Channels…

[Pro-Regime Reports]

Sanaa Al-Mu’tamar Online in Arabic — Website of ruling General People’s Congress…

on 21 May carries a 100-word report saying that millions of Yemenis staged a mass rally in Sanaa to support and defend the constitutional legitimacy and unity…

Sanaa Al-Mu’tamar Online in Arabic

on 21 May carries a 150-word report citing informed sources as saying that Hamid al-Ahmar, a leading figure in the Muslim Brotherhood in Yemen, has started forming small armed militias and control centers to run and follow up their operations. The report says that a military officer affiliated with the 1st Armored Division is believed to be training and supervising these militias…

Sanaa Al-Mu’tamar Online in Arabic

— on 20 May carries a 150-word report saying that one protester was killed and 16 others wounded in clashes among supporters of Tawakkul Karman, a leading figure in the Muslim Brotherhood in Yemen. The report says that the clashes erupted outside Sanaa University when Hasibah, a young woman close to Karman, urged the protesters to march to government buildings and institutions. The report says that the address provoked some people who wanted her to step down from the platform, which prompted others to fight them…

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