Yemen’s Saleh Addresses Nation from Hospital Bed

Badly wounded and burned Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh appeared on Yemeni television on Thursday in a pre-recorded address that reiterated his intent to hold onto power even as he made vague noises about including the opposition. Saleh still speaks as though his leadership were robust enough to allow for opposition participation in government, something the opposition contests.

Saleh’s appearance delighted and gave heart to his not inconsiderable number of supports, who fired their arms in the air in Sanaa in celebration, wounding several innocent bystanders. (Those who enjoy engaging in celebratory fire don’t usually understand basic physics, what goes up must come down, and bullets fired from guns come back down with deadly velocity).

Dr. Abd al-Malik Mansour, the permanent Yemeni delegate to the Arab League, criticized Saleh for choosing to come on television at this delicate political moment, and slammed his supporters for killing innocents with their celebrations.

Opposition leader Dr. Abdullah Awbal (Obal) of the Assembly Union Party [al-Tajamu` al-Wahdawi] told al-Akhbar that the Yemeni opposition rejected the idea of Saleh returning to power, continued to ignore Saudi letters to them urging negotiation with Saleh, and said it had held a joint meeting with US ambassador Gerald Feierstein on the possibility of setting up a transitional government. The opposition told al-Akhbar that Feierstein was maddeningly vague, giving no sign that the US would oppose the establishment of a transitional council, but also declining to indicate that Washington would recognize it if it were formed. Also, deputy national security adviser John O. Brennan will visit Yemen shortly to get a sense on the ground of the security situation.

The coalition of socialist and Muslim fundamentalist political parties calling itself the Joint Meetings Parties has been accused of hijacking a revolution that began with spontaneous anti-government protests against the government by youth.

Awbal said that the opposition was undeterred by the criticisms launched against the idea of a transitional council, and that it was determined to establish a civil state that was modern and under the rule of law.

Aljazeera English analyzes Saleh’s speech:

Aljazeera also reports on several recent defections to the opposition by members of the elite Republican Guard:

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One response

  1. The al-Jazeerah host said that what happened to Prez Saleh was an accident.

    If the CIA Contractor who aimed and launched the Hellfire missile that caused those wounds intended to kill him, what about that qualifies as an accident ?

    Was it an accident that he wasn’t burned to death ? Is that what she was referring to ?

    Truthfully, I don’t know how he was injured.
    It has been suggested that a rival militia fired either a mortar (possible) or a howitzer (not very likely) at him. An artillery round would not only have killed Saleh, but it would have leveled the Mosque he was in at the time.

    But isn’t there some Islamic injunction or sanction against attacking someone who takes shelter in a Mosque ? That could suggest that it wasn’t a Muslim who attacked him while he was praying.

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