May 6, 2011

Yemen: Ali Abdullah Saleh Vows To Cling To Power! :/ Another Ego-Maniac Dictator Thinks He Owns The Country And People!

The Telegraph UK
written by Adrian Blomfield, Middle East Correspondent
Friday May 6, 2011

Ali Abdullah Saleh, the Yemeni president, vowed to cling to power on Friday as he shrugged off mounting political isolation to turn his back on a regional plan that would see him hand over power to his deputy.

Abandoned even by close allies after months of bloodily-suppressed protests against his 32-year rule, Mr Saleh shed all pretence that he was willing to compromise with the ever-swelling ranks of his detractors.

As tens of thousands held the latest in a series of daily protests nearby, Mr Saleh told a rally of his supporters in the capital Sana'a that he would resist a proposal by the Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC), a grouping of six Arab monarchies, that he should stand down in exchange for immunity for him and his family.

The president portrayed his defiance in altruistic terms, saying that by remaining in office he was defending the constitution and safeguarding the country from "outlaws, bandits and murderers" who were using the protests to shroud themselves in legitimacy.

"Yes to constitutional reform and no to chaos, sabotage and revenge," he told his followers. "No to the project of revenge. No to the project of hatred, resentment and grudges."

Mr Saleh's unyielding rhetoric marked a departure from his position during the early days of the protests in February and March, when he promised to stand down if a legitimate transition plan was drawn up.

His reluctance to give up power has only become more pronounced as senior figures in the armed forces, political sphere and even his own tribe turned against him in horror at the violent suppression of the protests in which at least 150 people have been killed.

Even his regional allies, including Saudi Arabia, a powerful patron of Yemen, abandoned Mr Saleh, despite once having seen him as an ally, albeit a mercurial one, against the growing presence of al-Qaida's local affiliate, al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula.

Under the GCC plan, Mr Saleh would submit his resignation to parliament within 30 days, followed by fresh presidential elections two months later.

The main opposition coalition, and even Mr Saleh's once acquiescent ruling party, supported the plan but this week the president refused to sign, raising fears of that the unrest in Yemen could dissolve into a full-blown civil war.

Ban Ki-Moon, the UN secretary general, yesterday denounced Mr Saleh's recalcitrance "unfortunate and frustrating".

But the protesters on the streets, who have frequently numbered in their hundreds of thousands, are also largely opposed to the GCC plan, saying they want Mr Saleh to go immediately and then face trial for the killing of their comrades.

"The people want to try the executioner," they chanted.

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