News / Middle East

Yemen's President Remains in Office Despite Widespread Opposition

Yemeni protesters chant slogans during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemen's president Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sana'a, Yemen, September 28, 2011.
Yemeni protesters chant slogans during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemen's president Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sana'a, Yemen, September 28, 2011.

Multimedia

Audio
  • Interview with freelance journalist Tom Finn in Sana'a

Elizabeth Arrott

Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh has managed to hang on to power despite a popular uprising, regional pressure, military defections and an assassination attempt. Some political observers accuse the United States and Saudi Arabia of propping up an unpopular leader, while others argue there are no attractive alternatives.

VOA's Davin Hutchins speaks with freelance journalist Tom Finn in Sana'a about the situation in Yemen:

For long-time Yemen political observer Mustafa al Ani, there's no mystery to why President Saleh is still in power.

"He still enjoys some support for a very simple reason; the personalities which are leading the opposition are no less corrupt than the government," he said. "They really have a bad reputation and people know them very well."

Al Ani, the head of the security department at the Gulf Research Center in Dubai, singles out tribal leader Hamid al Ahmar and Islamist Abdel Mageed al Zanadani as two prominent anti-Saleh figures with what he believes are questionable pasts.

But they are only the beginning of a long list of people who oppose the president.

Al Ani believes the situation in Yemen is fundamentally different than the popular uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, with many of the divisions seen now having a long history in the fractious, impoverished Arab state. Those splits, he says, are proving an impediment to pushing through basic reforms.

"There is no actually clear vision how anyone can lead Yemen out of this deep problem.  It's basically the disintegration of the political vision now," he said. "And no one agrees. Even the question of the constitutional amendments, you are talking about so many versions of the constitution and everyone is basically defending his own interests. "

Not everyone is so pessimistic. Yemeni columnist Hakim al Masmari puts a different spin on the multitude of voices.

"The revolution is led by everyone: by tribal adults, by youth, by liberals, by the opposition conservatives, by senior leaders," said Masmari. "The idea is not who will be behind the change.  The idea is seeking democracy and freedom."  

The editor in chief of the Yemen Post, in Sana'a, says the main problem facing the country is not its internal divisions, but foreign interference.

"If the United States and Saudi Arabia did not support Saleh, he would have been forced to step down," he said. "Most of the financial support and the weapons are given by Saudi Arabia and the U.S. The two countries have been a burden on the Yemen revolution and must understand that the future of Yemen will not be in their favor if they do not give in to the will of the people."

That will, Masmari argues, will prevail, with President Saleh inevitably stepping down, whether "today, tomorrow or next year."  What both men agree on is that the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, plus other states in the Gulf and the Horn of Africa, should be greatly concerned about the situation deteriorating further.

"A total security collapse will have a huge impact on increasing terrorist activities, separatism and organized crime," said the Gulf Research Center's al Ani:We have a long list of problems if we allow the security situation to collapse in Yemen.  It will definitely have an impact on the whole region and can not be confined to Yemen - absolutely not.  

Editor Masmari agrees that terrorist groups often attract the disaffected, adding the reminder "Yemenis are poor, and well armed."

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid