[Marxism] Yemenis Organize Shadow Government -- FYI -- Very interesting development
giobon at comcast.net
Mon Jul 18 11:18:25 MDT 2011
Yemenis Organize Shadow Government
By LAURA KASINOF
July 17, 2011
Even as antigovernment protesters in Yemen struggled to revitalize
their movement, sketching somewhat shaky plans over the weekend for a
transitional government, they produced a show of their core strength,
taking to the streets in huge numbers on Sunday to protest the rule
of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
It was the 33rd anniversary of Mr. Saleh’s rule, dubbed a “day of
rage” by the protesters, tens of thousands of whom turned out across
the country. But despite their numbers, any advance in their position
seemed tenuous, and the country remained deadlocked and leaderless.
The president’s supporters also turned out to demonstrate on his
behalf, although their numbers were significantly smaller. Mr. Saleh,
who is in Saudi Arabia recuperating from the severe injuries he
suffered in an attack on the presidential palace last month, has
refused to leave office, defiantly dismissing the nationwide
uprising, which is demanding his ouster, and the loss of
The protest leaders’ announcement of a planned shadow government
represents their strongest effort yet to bring some structure and
organization to the disparate groups of mostly youthful demonstrators
who have rocked the country for months. But the move also reflected
their fundamental fragmentation and disorganization, with the
announcement taking many of the people named as leaders of the
transitional government by surprise.
Nor was it clear what role the shadow government would play, what its
relationship would be with the formal political opposition or how
much support it had.
At a news conference in the capital, Sana, on Saturday, the protest
organizers named members of a transitional council who would become
the movement’s political leaders. Towakil Karman, who announced the
decision, said the council would “implement the goals and the demands
of the people’s youth revolution” and would serve during a
“transition period not exceeding nine months.”
The council is to appoint a shadow cabinet of technocrats and
ultimately select a 501-member national assembly to draft a new
Ms. Karman asked “the international community to respect the
decisions of young people by recognizing the institutions of the
The 17 council members come from many segments of society: former
members of the governing party, military leaders, members of various
opposition political parties and southern separatists.
But many of the council members named by Ms. Karman said they had no
idea the council would be announced Saturday.
One of them, Judge Fahim Abdullah Mohsin, the chief of the appeals
court in Aden, said he had not known that he would be chosen to
represent the protesters, the official Saba news agency reported.
Horeya Mashoor, who also was announced as a council member, said that
while she supported the idea of a transitional council she was
“surprised” to find her name among its members. Ms. Mashoor said the
council can begin a political transition to help Yemen “find
solutions to prevent the country sliding into chaos more than it
already is now.”
A government spokesman, Abdu al-Janadi, denounced the council as a
“coup against the Constitution.”
The formal political opposition did not comment officially on the
council. Opposition leaders had considered naming their own shadow
government but said that they had been pressured against it over the
last few weeks by Western nations because it could be seen as a
hostile move by some of the remaining governing party leaders.
Nor was there public comment from the government’s two most powerful
opponents, the military commander Ali Mohsin al-Ahmar and the tribal
leader Sheik Hamid al-Ahmar.
But the Houthi rebels, a militant group that controls large portions
of northern Yemen and which is not represented in the protesters’
list of council members, released a statement on their Web site
warning that “declaring a transitional council before the collapse of
the regime will only repeat the Libyan experience.”
The Houthis also said the council was “a dangerous step, and it may
lead to fighting and civil war.”
It was unclear what percentage of the protest movement was
represented on the council. Even Ms. Karman, one of the organizers of
the street protests that began in January, is a polarizing figure
among some of the demonstrators.
“I would call this council Towakil and Khaled al-Ansi’s council,”
said Adel al-Musanif, a graduate student, referring to Ms. Karman and
the protest leader who announced the council with her.
Another protester, Abdul Rehman al-Qubati, said he recognized the
need to organize. “The council is a good step toward the completion
of the revolution, regardless of its drawbacks,” he said.
Nasser Arrabyee and Yasser Alarami contributed reporting from Sana,
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