Ta'ez Under Fire by Saleh's Forces and No End in Sight
Courtesy of New York Times Photo by Associated Press
By Hassan Al-Haifi
2 December 2011
It is not clear how long the remaining forces of the supposedly deposed President of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, will continue to indiscriminately and randomly shell the City of Ta'ez, in a frantic effort to quell the brave peaceful protest there against the diehard Saleh regime. This suppression of the people of Ta'ez (and elsewhere in Yemen) has not let up even with the signing of the GCC Initiative in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on November 24, 2011. They certainly are not leading to anything closer to reducing the aura of hell that the shelling of the city has brought on to the inhabitants of Ta'ez. Last week Human Rights Watch pointed out that 35 unarmed residents of the city were killed since the United Nations issued Security Council Resolution 2014 calling for a cessation of the use of excessive force by the Saleh regime against legitimate peaceful protests. Even after the signing of the GCC Initiative, and the entry of Yemen into the transitionary period, the bloodletting in Ta'ez has not abated. During this period, Saleh was to hand over all powers to his Vice President, and remain as a "ceremonial President" (whatever that means is not clear, and he certainly is not being ceremonial now) and then to implement the procedures for the power sharing scheme between the ruling party, the General People's Congress (GPC) with the formal opposition factions (including the Joint Meeting Parties of official opposition parties and other loose but nevertheless powerful factions) that co-signed the multi-faceted and still unclear transition deal as set out in the "mechanism for implementation" appended to the GCC Initiative. The latter was worked out by Jamal Ben Omar, UN Special Envoy sent to Yemen to get the political deal signed and implemented. Whatever the case, although there are some other political activities called for by the transition deal (such as the naming of a temporary caretaker government (comprising agreed division of ministerial portfolios between the signing parties said to come to 34 ministries!). But for the people of Ta'ez, Arhab (north of Sana'a, Nehm and other Saleh hotspots, the regime continues to see force as the only way to deal with protesters against the President, who has ruled Yemen now for 33 years.
For the last three days alone, the number of casualties have surpassed 25 fatalities, 12 of them on Thursday alone and the number of wounded has surpassed 100. The objective of the shelling of Ta'ez in this almost sadistic manner is not seen by many observers except as an obvious desire to forcefully end all protests against the regime. Others believe that the Saleh regime is pursuing to provoke anti regime protesters to take up arms against the Saleh regime and thus bring an all out war in Yemen, so that the regime can escape from meeting its commitments in the GCC Initiative and thus forfeit the need to abdicate by President Saleh altogether. The revolutionary youth of Yemen have issued an appeal to the "brokers" of the GCC Initiative and the international community to take measures to stop Saleh's continuous persecution of Yemeni protesters in general and the people of Ta'ez in particular (http://pdfcast.org/pdf/an-appeal-to-the-regional-neighbors-and-international-community). Today, the world must reconsider its position towards the Saleh regime. The latter is not even grateful to the sponsors of the GCC Initiative and its international guarantors for granting Saleh and his supporters immunity against being held accountable for all their violations of human rights and the corruption of regime officials over the last third of a century. All international human rights advocacy groups (HRW and Amnesty International among others) have rejected such stipulations as being conducive to international law and set a dangerous precedent for future efforts to deal with repressive and corrupt regimes.