When Mubarak’s position became untenable in Egypt, the United States tried to replace him by his second-in-command, Omar Suleiman. It was anathema to the protestors and it quickly became apparent that it was not going to work. The exact same sequence of events is being followed in Yemen. The paper of record has filed this report.
The United States has been in negotiations with the regime in Yemen for more than a week. It has been discussing the terms of Saleh’s departure. The White House wants him replaced by his second-in-command. The Joint Meetings Parties came up with a proposal on Saturday that calls for power to be transferred immediately to Vice President Abd al-Rab Mansur al-Hadi until presidential elections are held. Saudi Arabia and the rest of the GCC gave their approval on Sunday. But the protestors have rejected the proposal, or any that would leave a leading Saleh official in charge.
The Joint Meetings Parties is a discredited opposition group that the 32-year old Saleh regime has tolerated. It has as little credibility as Egypt’s loyal opposition. The agitation will not end just because you changed the name at the door. Abd al-Rab Mansur al-Hadi has been the Vice President of Yemen since 1994. Not much is known about him but what is completely clear is that he is at the absolute core of the tyrannical regime. No one can trust such an insider to initiate democratic reforms and hold free and fair elections.
What is also clear is that support for the fight against al-Qaeda is deeper than the top leadership of the regime. Washington should be worried about the turmoil jeopardizing their counter terror operations in this most important front. But that is not helped by replacing one untenable dictator with another, it will just prolong the agitation. By now, we are getting bored of White House miscalculations.
President Obama, you can’t use the same joker twice.