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Saleh Seeks to Create Chaos In Yemen

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TEHRAN, May 19 (ICANA) – Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has refused to sign a power transition proposal by the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council, which could see his resignation within 30 days.
Thursday, May 19, 2011 10:49:35 PM
Saleh Seeks to Create Chaos In Yemen

In a Press TV interview, Mohamed Qubaty, a Yemeni political opposition activist, expressed his views on the reasons behind Saleh's refusal to sign the deal and what actions the international community should take in order to help the people of Yemen.

What follows is the text of the interview (also supported by Ghassan Abolohom and Amel Ahmed):

Q: Mr. Qubaty, speaking of the demands that we were just hearing, no guarantees for immunity and the immediate departure of President Saleh, with those demands coming from the opposition, if they are, do you think that there is any hope for this deal to work?

Qubaty Practically, I think the whole bargain or transaction was built on the premise that guarantees given to the president that he will not be prosecuted or pursued for his crimes vis-à-vis his early departure from power. I think as long as there is an early departure from power, the question of guarantees given would not stand at all in front of any court in the West, or anywhere else. And the president knows that, he knows that his only practical guarantee is for him to disappear somewhere in one of [P]GCC ([Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council) countries, and most likely in Saudi Arabia, where he cannot be extradited, even if he is given guarantees that are assured by the parliament, okay. First of all this parliament has lost its term, it's not actually legal at any time, but even if it's given on the business of constitutional sort of arrangement, such guarantees could easily be thwarted at any time.

So the president knows that, the question is: is he willing to leave or not, and now he's actually cornered, he knows that the [P]GCC, especially after the Qataris have pulled out from the initiative, and I think two other perhaps [P]GCC countries will be about to pull, it's our brothers in Saudi Arabia [who] have got to push him and say sign it, if he signs it then it's the end of the game, because I'm sure then all of his entourage and the people who are, who have been around him will just fall around and leave him alone. And, but I think the man is also clever, he's a fox. I think he's trying to buy some more time, by many excuses.

Today, we're hearing that he says well, I'm going to sign it, but I don't want Mr. Hammas-al-Bassundu, who is his advisor, and he's the leading sort of personality in the so-called national dialogue committee. He said, I'll only sign it if it's signed by the GMP [Joint Meeting Parties] leader Mr. Yaseen Saeed Noaman. it doesn't make a difference as long as he signs, and he agrees to leave the country, and guarantees given would not stand. Anybody could take a potshot at those guarantees and they will fall. And he has been informed by the West and even by the Arab countries that those countries would not stand at all; it only depends on the will of the Yemeni people, if they want to change them.

Q: Mr. Qubaty, you were speaking there of you say efforts by the president to get out of the situation, maybe to even try and flee to Saudi Arabia, where he would not be extradited and tried as proposed for him. Do you think that the Yemeni president at this point in time is losing his support among his Arab allies, and rather their interests in Yemen is not the interest to save necessarily the president, but to save their interests there?

Qubaty: Obviously, we have got to be practical. We are sure that in politics everybody would be serving their own interests. But, as I've said it's not the president that is willing to fly to Saudi Arabia that is what is offered to him. What is offered to him in that deal is that he is practically going to move to one of the [P]GCC countries and disappear there. Anywhere else, all guarantees given would not stand at all, a potshot by anybody. So, the man, he knows that he's going to be cornered. And, he doesn't want to sign that deal. This is a deal which has been offered for the past seven weeks now for him. He is looking for, as I've said many times, the man is trying to push the whole region into a state of catastrophe, into a state of anarchy, and disintegration. He wants Yemen to be fragmented. He's looking for a civil war and a sort of inside battling by everybody.

So that would be his real guarantee. Because he thinks if Yemen moves into anarchy and complete sort of disintegration, then he could disappear anywhere. There is no credible authority to follow him for his crimes, and for the money, and for the funds he's embezzled the country from. But, I think that now it's high time that our brothers in the [P]GCC realize that this man is actually now driving the whole region into very deep waters. I could see and everybody following should see that we are now, there is now there a catastrophe impending, there is a complete disaster of very huge magnitude. It is staring at us and walking. So, all parties concerned: local, regional, and international have got to move and move swiftly to prevent such a catastrophe which is going to cause a lot of repercussions. Our brothers in Saudi [Arabia] should know that we in Yemen, we have received at least a million Somali refugees in spite of having a sea separating us between them, the Gulf of Aden.

But, if things in Yemen falter and we move into a sort of internal anarchy, then they should expect three to five million people, refugees, moving into the country. So, the international community should know what Ali Abdullah Saleh has been claiming that he's preventing al-Qaeda from appearing there, he is driving Yemen towards anarchy in Yemen and we have got al-Qaeda made-up of a hundred persons or two-hundred people, which he has grown into two-thousand, and even ten-thousand people. So, the world has got to move. I don't understand myself what sort of price the Yemenis have got to pay, at what cost will the international community and our brothers in the [P]GCC will come out clearly and say to the man: time is finished, move out because, you are not only actually harming the Yemeni stability, but you are now threatening the stability, peace, and security of the whole region.

Q: Mr. Qubaty, you referred to the issue of al-Qaeda and how the Yemeni president was using that issue as a threat. We've been hearing him repeatedly say that there is a threat of al-Qaeda rise if he does leave and if the situation in the country gets out of hand. How serious is the threat of al-Qaeda, even if we see the scenario of the Yemeni president leaving? Does that mean that there is going to be an open ground for al-Qaeda to launch attacks or to get some kind of standing in Yemen?

Qubaty: Well, as I said the president, you know, he's trying to drive the whole situation in Yemen into a state of complete disintegration so that there could be some easier foothold for any group like those. But, you see, this man has all the time played that game and that card very well. Al-Qaeda has been his number-one fundraiser for money from Saudi Arabia and from the United States. And, all these past years, he's been playing a game; he doesn't want to kill the wolf, and he wants to keep him there so that he could extract more money from them.

But, the thing which we have got to take into consideration, apart from what I've said previously the economic situation now in Yemen is getting so bad, we have been seeing here some of the ministers from the UK, with some of the businessmen and a lot of the intellectuals, as well as some of the people working in the judiciary, and we have told them that the situation here is getting very grave, the whole country could fall apart because of the economic situation. Then, if you move into such a situation, then Ali Abdullah Saleh has managed actually to punish the West by getting that situation so badly out of control, so that gives the chance for al-Qaeda to grow even worse than it is now. But, we want to reassure our friends in the West, we want to reassure our brothers in the area around that the coming authority would be actually the authority which can clamp down on al-Qaeda activities. We do understand that the president has given a lot of room for, especially for the West to carry-out some clandestine operations, and to carry out a lot of covert activities.

We know that and we have told them Ali Abdullah Saleh has been chewing cut on both cheeks, as we say in Yemen. He's giving them chances to work on the ground but, on the other hand, he's all the time reporting to al-Qaeda any movement which is done by those Westerners. So, for the past five years, they haven't managed actually to clamp-down, or to actually get to lower the al-Qaeda activities. On the contrary, things have been getting worse. So, our friends in the west should realize that the man is playing a game, and I think they have realized that game. It's only our brothers in the [P]GCC now who have been asking for time to deal with the situation because Yemen is on their back door.

Q: And, Mr. Qubaty if the West has realized that the Yemeni president is playing with them, why do you think we haven't been seeing the kind of pressure that we're seeing for instance on Libya, that we've been seeing on Egypt earlier on, and Tunisia; why isn't there any direct call from them?

Qubaty: I have pointed out to that and I've said in the beginning, what cost do you want us to pay? But, obviously we have asked from President Obama to speak with President Ali Abdullah Saleh on the phone and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, they have got to use the correct words for the man, and tell him time is finished and you have got to leave; or else, they are actually compromising their own interests, and in the region at large.

Q: Mr. Qubaty, how optimistic you are, do you think that the opposition is prepared to take on the role of [governance of Yemen]?

Qubaty: Yes, I think we have got to enter into dialogue, and get all the parties concerned, all opposition groups, and the different sections of the opposition inside and outside the country, Houthis, the southerners, the youths, everybody else, and to really re-affirm their commitment towards the creation of a civic and democratic country, which will actually shoulder its responsibilities locally, regionally, and internationally.

There is great chance for that as long as our brothers now in the [P]GCC, and the world at large, moves very quickly to push this man out, and they have got a lot of leverage, we haven't heard any freezing of their assets, we haven't heard any travel ban on them, we haven't heard a lot of the leverages which our [P]GCC brothers [can use]. I think they should keep their word and say this is the last chance for him, if he doesn't sign today, then they have got to start movement, and move this case towards the Arab League, and from the Arab League to the United Nations, and the world at large. We need a lot of help from the world, and from the international community, because I think we have to build it down very much.

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