"Let nothing human be alien to me"- Terence

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Inside Yemeni Politics

Nasser, as always, has the scoop.   Salih is trying to host a dialogue; the opposition sees it as nothing more than an attempt to circumvent inevitability and justice.

An opposition leader said Monday they refused the President Saleh’s initiative for resuming dialogue.

“We looked at it (Saleh’s initiative) as an attempt to rescue the regime not to rescue the nation,” Said Yasin Saeed Noman, the secretary general of the socialist party, the second largest opposition party after the Islamist party Islah, which leads the coalition.
And I think we are all looking forward to Glenn Beck using this as more proof of an insidious Communist/Jihadist alliance.  If anyone hears of him using Yemen as an example, don't send it to me.  I beg you not to send it to me.  I would spend 11 hours rebutting him in detail, which is a hair-tearingly futile waste of time.

Meanwhile, this paragraph could be pretty ominous.

The tribesmen were the first groups to come to the Presidential Palace. Since Saturday February 12th, 2011, President Saleh has been receiving tribal leaders from the areas around the capital Sana’a, mainly from his tribe, Hashed, the most influential tribe in Yemen.

Now, the Hashid have a lot of political weight, and through their late leader historical ties to Islah, and therefore to the JMP.  But as Greg accurately has reminded us, many times, party loyalty isn't a huge factor in Yemen.   Personal and tribal ties matter a lot more.   And the historical memory of tribesmen loyal to the leader runs marauding their way through a rebellious San'a run deep and fairly recent.   History doesn't always repeat itself, but encourages echoes, and it seems Salih is attempting to solidify himself in the ancient ways.


  1. I've been thinking also about the sack of San'a. Saleh's recent tour of 'Amran suggests that he has such a last-resort tactic in mind. But recall also why Hashid and many other tribal groups finally turned against the Imamate. An imam who saw himself as above the traditional and political orders, who believed that he was the state, assassinated a handful of shaykhs, and everything changed.

    Saleh wouldn't do such a thing, of course (though there are lessons to be drawn from the recent dust-up between Hamid al-Ahmar and No'man Dowid, GPC mayor of San'a and shaykh of Khawlan), but there are so many other ways he could alienate powerful tribes. Those ancient loyalties cut several ways.

  2. Demonstrations generally fade away for qat time. Supposedly the pro-government demonstrators are paid now 2,500 riyals (what - 12 dollars I think) and a bag of food and a bag of qat. Somehow in the news it has gone from carrying beating sticks and presenting the jambiyas to batons and daggers...

  3. Is there a Western equivalent to carrying beating sticks and presenting the jambiyas? “Beating stick” sounds worse than batons to me, but I know it isn’t happening how it is being portrayed. But what is the American version? Nasty picket signs?