A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Salih's Decision to Defy GCC

I joked last week that I thought the odds of Yemeni President ‘Ali ‘Abdullah Salih agreeing to the GCC plan for him to step down in 30 days, which he had said he would sign on Sunday, was probably only slightly more likely than the (also predicted) end of the world on Saturday. As everyone knows, the world didn't end, and Salih didn't sign. His continuing defiance continues to roil Yemen. There is little sign of either side backing down, and Salih is increasingly sounding like all deals are off. He's going the Syrian or Libyan route of toughing it out if it means fighting to the last Yemeni.

The heady days of talking about "jasmine" and "lotus" revolutions seem distant now, and "Arab Spring" looks like it's going to be a long, hot summer. I still don't see how Salih has a reasonable chance of restoring order with himself still in charge, but self-delusion seems to go with overly long authoritarian rule.


Anonymous said...

Why, exactly, self-delusion?

Was Saleh likely to truly escape prosecution if he stepped down?

Is exile truly preferable to a last stand?

Are his opponents sufficiently coordinated to bring him down, or can he still dance on the heads of the snakes? He might be in a better position to know than we are on that one.

Michael Collins Dunn said...

As I understand it, part of the GCC deal was immunity from prosecution. Otherwise, he obviously thinks he can weather the storm.