The Arab Spring has given us three examples of rulers who decided their fate the day revolutions began in their country. The future of other Middle Eastern rulers with simmering revolutions in their country still has yet to be written.
For the rulers with questionable futures, the path of Al-Qadhafi is not favorable. Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan and Saudi Arabia watched the death of what was the longest ruler in the Middle East and must have chilled them. A nasty and arrogant man’s reign ended with a whimper from a dark tunnel at the hands of aggressive revolutionists.
President Saleh brushed death when on June 3rd explosive materials crashed through a mosque’s wall leaving his political life and his life to much uncertainty in the time that followed. However, as we have learned on his return to Yemen, he still has many more months, or even years left on the recording file of God (allah saghanh wa ta’allah).
In a meeting two weeks ago, President Saleh said that he is satisfied to be alive up until now and even noted he expected to die one week from sitting on the throne of power.
From a religious perspective, one of two things may have happened. Either Allah protected him so that he could live and see a good end to reign of Yemen or Allah has saved the worst to come. Many Yemenis, even his opponent, wish him a good end and we pray that he takes the chance to end his political life with the great record that many believe he deserves.
The next few choices President Saleh makes will be very dangerous for him — and for Yemen. He must hope that wisdom will direct him to the right path and prove to his defectors that he is much more than the tyrant they paint him to be.
Saleh has already tried to position himself not as a tyrant, but a victim of changing global opinions that have developed in the wake of the Arab Spring. In his last speech, Saleh was very honest to say that the international powers have agendas towards Middle Easter countries and their revolution. The United States and its partners, Saleh says, have simply picked new players to protect their security and global interests. The United States and its followers have tried communism, socialism, democracy, and now Saleh says, are using Islamists to counter the threat of Al-Qaeda and terrorism in Arab countries.
If what President Saleh believes true, that means he should be able to make the right decision before the worst happens in Yemen. I would personally tell President Saleh to make the country safe and prove to the world that they were wrong about him and Yemen.
Yemenis, in Yemen or abroad, hope that Saleh makes the right decision for Yemen’s future. Saleh could follow the path of Al-Qadhafi that will sure lead him to a darker tunnel, or he can be the leader we want him to be. We truly want to see Saleh as a leader of strong personality, the President of Yemen that united Yemen. History is still bright for you to make it true.