The US State Department, has signed off on an “election” of the the right-hand man, of the former US-backed dictator Ali Abudullah Saleh. The Yemeni “election” was a non-competitive one, and included only one candidate. Therefore, probably not surprisingly — ensuingly not much is expected to change in Yemen. Yemen is the poorest Arab country, with a weak centralized authority, and a burgeoning secessionist movement.
The US has been operating drones, for some time now in Yemen, ostensibly for the purposes of killing Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) operatives. Critics have suggested that the attacks, will only blow back on their intended ambitions, and further radicalize sections — of the semi-autonomous rural regions — of the Yemeni population. And in speaking of blowback, it should probably be noted that, many of Yemen’s radicalized Islamist elements were; in fact, veterans of the Iraqi war theater. They have now, of course, returned to Yemen, and are being proffered — as one of the most critical threats in the world to Americans.
The Yemeni Arab Spring doesn’t appear to be (presently) bearing much fruit, and some are even speculating that Saleh has not permanently, and unequivocally ended his rule/hold on power. In fact, there are (at least) two views of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s coming to power in Yemen. Some are viewing his election as a mandate — and a portent — of the bringing about of a substantive and meaningful change agenda, while others are viewing the election as an engineered farce, a stage act, a charade, a ruse, or a fraud.
The Gulf Cooperation Council, in fact — lacking any serious bona fides in democracy promotion, was integral and instrumental in orchestrating the ostensible reform plan in Yemen. And this same council assured that an amnesty was included, for the great many crimes, and indeed human rights violations of the long “serving” dictator Saleh. Perhaps these anachronistic and autocratic administrations and regimes, are more than aware of their own impending doom/judgment?
The supposed plan is for the “elected” Hadi to oversee the drafting of a new constitution, the reformation of the Yemeni armed forces, and the preparation for a new round of true and multi-party elections. Many are skeptical and see Hadi, as only the continuation and perpetuation of the Saleh autocratic administration. Indeed, his son, nephews and other relatives remain in control of much of the military and security forces, and his loyalists hold key positions in ministries throughout the government.
As one opposition activist, Fouad Shujaa Aldeen has put it, “I’m am surprised at the international community. How can they support such a thing? How can they call it an election?” And another, Khaled al-Anesi, penetratingly stated, “Ali Abdullah Saleh is like Putin. He has the wealth, the media, his allies are in power. His regime is still there.”