Many, including major leaders in the ruling General People's Congress party, got surprised at what they called a bad-produced comedy that took place last week during a meeting of this party's leadership and concluded in a decision to prevent President Ali Abdullah Saleh, President of the party, from travel for treatment. The reason for surprise was that a decision of this kind does not need such pitiable production as it needs to be a declared by the person concerned himself saying that he decided to stay at home sacrificing his health in order to oversee successful presidential elections. Such a simple declaration would be more effective and credible than the mentioned above play.
It was not sufficient for the hawks, who were the most prominent stars in the play, to have the decision made but they kept attacking Vice President (VP) and stoking disputes between him and the outgoing president, while claiming that they want the president to stay in order for power to be successfully transferred to the VP whom they accuse of collusion with the JMP parties. All observers know that this hard-line group, within the ruling party, is well aware that their interests will be harmed by Saleh's exit from power.
Saleh has always preferred to rely on them in challenging the opposition and, later, his party's moderate wing, led by VP Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, his political advisor Abdul Karim Al-Iryani, Minister of Foreign Affairs Abu Bakr al-Qirbi, Minister of Communications Ahmad ibn Daghr and the manager of his office Ali Anesi. This wing had a critical role in finalizing the operational mechanism for the Gulf Initiative and in negotiating it with the opposition, and are now fully committed to meeting its requirements.
Yemenis known that the hard-line wing, in the outgoing president's party, is the very group that kept striking deadly blows against the president himself, claiming loyalty to him and not to let the opposition to make any gains at their expense. The figures of this wing know well the thinking of the man who believes that loyalty to him means to outrageously criticize his opponents and to cut all communication and understanding links with them, so that [loyalists) find themselves at certain moment obliged to fully resort to him. After you have destroyed all your humanitarian and political relations with others and all their respect for you, here just you become one of those trusted associates.
Those counted on the idea that the Yemeni people are dead, the opposition is weaker than an ant, the wise and moderate members of the GPC have no longer any influence and that the president and his family have a great military force. So they wanted to contain him to prove their devotion, starting with the abortion of an important document introduced by a quartet, which was formed in October 2010, before the Arab spring revolutions, and consisted of Hadi and Iryani from the GPC and Yassin Saied Noman and Abdul Wahab Ansi from the opposition JMP. That document would have led to fair parliamentary elections in 2011, and certainly spare the country the outbreak of the popular youth revolution.
But these hawks incited Saleh against his deputy in the party, so he refused and tore apart the draft of the quartet. Two months later, GPC's Assistant Secretary-General announced that the Party is intended to root (the presidential meter) by abolishing the 2-term provision stipulated in the Constitution in preparation for unlimited extension of Saleh's infinite presidency, until the succession passes to his son. This position was one of the sparks of the popular revolt, which broke out less than a month after that fateful announcement.
Since the youth revolution broke out and its momentum grew in a way the regime has not expected, the regime got in confusion over successive initiative drafts in an attempt to absorb the growing popular anger based on great expectations for potential ouster of President Saleh and his family, after it was achieved in both Tunisia and Egypt. But the GPC's hawks were always lying in wait for President Saleh; they foiled all his initiatives and thwarted all his efforts to honorably leave power.
They even persuaded Saleh to stall signing the Gulf Initiative throughout April and May. They also incited him to make military situation explode in al-Hasaba neighborhood in Sana'a, against the sons of Sheikh alAhmar, and to storm the Freedom Square in Taiz, after they failed to muster any supporters in that revolutionary province. Even after the bombing of the Presidential Mosque last June, those hawks kept abetting him to not sign. Moreover, one of them told him, during his treatment in Riyadh, that if the initiative must be signed, he should appoint his son Ahmad in place of his deputy (Hadi), what forced the Director of the President's Office to publicly rebuke him expressing his displeasure with such extreme opinion.
Finally, it came to this hawkish hard-line wing to convince President Saleh to insist on the immunity law, which in substance convicts him and his rule, and to reject the national reconciliation law proposed by the opposition, though it was more proper and honorable to him as a president and does not imply any contradiction with the Constitution and international concepts of human rights!
It became certain that this radical wing was about to succeed in denying Saleh the graceful exit from power. Many moderate figures in the ruling party, government partners in the National Council and observing ambassadors of the Gulf States and the international community became concerned over the influence of this hawkish wing, which saves no effort to obstruct the implementation of the Gulf Initiative and make the situation explode. It, by this, seeks intentionally or unintentionally to also deny President Saleh safe exit, because they realize that their political roles will end as soon as Saleh leaves the government.
Nonetheless, those familiar with the outgoing president's way of thinking and the insiders know that Saleh is aware that the members of this wing will most likely criticize him after he leaves power, so he will sell them down the river before they do. He is already preparing to leave the country for treatment following the issuance of the immunity law, and he will not remain a hostage to them as they may lead him to a grim fate.