Local News

Yemen: Presidential election questioned

National Yemen

Pro Friday protesters

The presidential elections in Yemen are under threat. It is rather doubtful that the subversive activities of the Al Qaeda Group, which are growing fast, will make it possible to carry out the vote as was planned – that is, on February 21st, Yemeni Foreign Minister Bakr Al-Kirbi said. Later the press service of the Yemeni Foreign Ministry disavowed his statement. Meanwhile, the genie is out of the bottle, as we see.

The opposition accuses President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his supporters of failing to comply with their commitments. Both the date and the order of carrying out the presidential election are determined by the plan providing for the President’s leaving his office. The latter was worked out and adopted on the initiative of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf and is supported by the United Nations. The two sides have agreed to take such a step in order to prevent the spread of anti-government protests, which, together with a demand for Saleh’s resignation, could lead to a civil war. Judging by the facts, this threat is still hanging in the air, an expert with the Institute of Oriental Studies (Moscow), Irina Zvyagelskaya, says.

“If the commitments undertaken by President Saleh remain unfulfilled and a military action restarts, the events may take an unpredictable turn. Including radical options, which may  again lead to the split of Yemen into North Yemen and South Yemen. The agreements between the government and the opposition are aimed at the prevention of such turn of events. And the world community must do whatever is possible for the implementation of the previously mentioned agreements.”

One of the opposition’s theses is this: the President has entered into a secret agreement with the Islamists to delay his resignation. All these suspicions are becoming strengthened as Al Qaeda is strengthening its positions in the country. Al Qaeda has already seized the town of Rada and is now making preparations for an attack on the Yemeni capital Sana, which is only 130 kilometres away. Suspecting that President Saleh is flirting with the terrorists, the opposition demanded that he leave the country. An Oriental studies expert from the Russian Institute of Strategic Assessment and Analysis, Sergei Demidenko, says:

“President Saleh is ready to enter into an alliance with any political force that would allow him to continue in office. And the Islamists are not ruled out either. And still, I believe that President Saleh is a lost card. Although he is still in power and continues to clutch onto it, actually, he has none.”

The radical Islamists are not the only threat Yemen is facing today. The Somalization of Yemen is also a threat which should not be ignored. Meaning the disintegration of the country into the entities,  which the central government will be unable to control. There’re fears that this may happen irrespective of the change of leadership.

Moscow believes that only a strict fulfillment of the initiative of the Persian Gulf countries will be able to prevent a civil war in Yemen.