New Yemeni president, Popular or Puppet?


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Saeb Shaath: The United States is playing the “tribal game” in Yemen to bring turmoil to the country where tribalism is prevalent, an analyst tells Press TV.


The comment comes as UK-trained army Field Marshal Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi won the recent single-vote presidential election and was sworn in following the election in Yemen on February 21, which pundits described as a mockery of democracy. The sham poll was likewise strongly supported by Washington and Riyadh.


The new Yemeni president will lead the country for a two-year-long interim period as stipulated by the so-called power transition deal, brokered by the Arab grouping of the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council in November.


Many viewed the election as a referendum on Hadi’s appointment. Opposition groups had boycotted the polls over concerns that it would not bring an end to the rule of Saleh’s regime.


Press TV has conducted an interview with author and Middle East expert Saeb Shaath, to share his opinion on this issue. He was joined by Lizzie Phelan a freelance Journalist, Abayomi Azikiwe a political commentator and Abdullah abdul Rahman from the Yemeni political party Hizb at-Tahrir.


SALEH,  has transfered his powers to vicepresident HADI
SALEH, has transfered his powers to vicepresident HADI



The following is a transcript of the interview.

Press TV: Saeb Shaath, the voters, the Yemenis, they came out and voted for Hadi, they want him to overthrow corruption, they want him to get rid of dictatorship and of course the family regime.


How could Hadi do that when Saleh has used his decades in office to put relatives, sons, son-in-laws, confidantes and fellow tribesmen in key places in the government and security apparatus?


Shaath: Exactly, that’s why there is two views about this election in Yemen, the first view is that, the people were seeing the symbolism of holding elections for the first time without Saleh on the ballot that’s for them was a victory but the other point view condemned that election the fact is the only president candidate was the vice president for 18 years for Saleh.


Hadi won an amazing 99.8 percent of the vote according to the supreme commission of elections and referendum. I believe myself, from watching the demonstration of tens of thousands marching near Saleh’s home, calling for his prosecution and demanding him to leave the country.


The demonstrators were concerned of his presence, and believe it going to shadow the new president.  But what actually changed in Yemen, Ex-President Saleh’s family is in control of the military and security forces. The country’s new leader was previously under Saleh for 18 years as vice president.


Hadi’s replacement of Ali Abdullah Saleh I can see it as an enforcement to the regime, so the regime’s dictatorship to continue providing services to the USA plans in Yemen and the region .The new government of Yemen will face so many complex internal factors and problematic   issues, 3 to 4 of these issues at play right now, are going to break up the country .


One of them, the ex-president Saleh himself and members of his family are in charge of the country’s security forces and of the military.  the spokesman of the General People’s Congress party, Tareq Shami said today that Ali is intending to play a major political role in the future of Yemen , as well,  one of his aids called Abdu Ganadi said  Saleh has the option to continue  his involvement in politics  and his political life is guaranteed by the power transfer deal.


As we said by the US and Saudis continuous interference in Yemen’s internal affairs they are turning the country into the next Somalia. The US Counter-terrorism policy and the drones’ attacks on Yemen, which attacking and killing the very impoverish villagers of Yemen, is their way of beefing up Al Qaida with recruits.  The recruits can be used by Al Qaida in Iraq, in Libya and in Syria right now.


Al-Qaida as well is in control of significant parts of Yemen and it is waging bombing campaigns in the country right now. So we have al-Qaida, we have the Southern movement as well we have the Husi movement and the tribal conflict.


All that is a formula, for the breaking of Yemen up into many different conflicting failing states. So we are talking about a future split, dividing Yemen into four states that defiantly will bring security threats to the international community, in a similar way to the Somali security concerns we have.


Press TV: Saeb Shaath, let’s look at what the new president has in store and what’s going to give him this window if there is any? We have Mr. Hadi, he is in power, pledging to work closely with the US; we also have the announcement by the US to resume security aid, including military aid that was suspended last year.


Now isn’t there a danger then that if Hadi doesn’t pull things together, that this would be used against the Yemenis and things would be just like the way they were under the US-backed Saleh?


Shaath: Yes, let me bring the point from where you mentioned the United States of America is going to pay directly the army and its commanders.


That’s because they were guaranteed loyalty by Saleh, who milked them like he was milking a cow and used the United States of America’s money to buy loyalty in the army and the tribes. Currently the army is under command of Salah’s family, most of the effective unites of the military retained a considerable degree of autonomy and loyal to Saleh personally not the country.


So the United States of America by this move is trying to play the tribal game, to buy individuals, commanders in the army to be loyal to the United States of America entirely, that is going to bring chaos in the country as I mentioned; because the system in Yemen is a tribal system and you can see there is a lot of different interests with different conflicting tribes.


As well the Southern people of Yemen, they’re not going to be happy about that since they abandon their official southern state which provided free education, free health all of similar social services to unite even by force with the( Northern Yemen) Northern  government , and then to see themselves are controlled by an army run by the United States of America for implementing its plans in the area which is directed against the Arab people and Iran.


I‘ll bring an example from 1967 during revolutionaries war in Yemen against the monarchists whom were supported by the British and the Americans and the Saudis; the Egyptian army at the time was involved in supporting the revolutionaries against the British colonialism.


The ‘Israelis’ managed to get involved in supporting the monarchists and drop weapons and soldiers to support the monarchists from a distance of 2000 kilometres away from Palestine, to destroy the Egyptian army in Yemen.  That caused  Egypt to lose of the 1967 war because the Egyptian military was so weakened in Yemen,  it couldn’t  prevent  the  direct ‘Israelis’ and the Americans attacks  on Egypt’s infrastructure and  airports .


So we can see here the important role of Yemen in the big picture. Hadi cannot do anything; I can see myself the country is going to be split into 4 parts in the future.