A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, February 28, 2011

National Unity Government in Yemen?

Al Jazeera English is reporting that President Salih will name a National Unity Government in Yemen within the next 24 hours. This comes, of course, after the big Hashid tribal confederation's leader bailed on him over the weekend, as he continues to lose allies.

If it seems like you've seen this plot before, it's the same pattern we saw with Ben Ali and Mubarak: try to ignore the demands and/or blame the media until the people's anger has reached a boil, and then make a half-measure concession that might have saved your job if you'd made it a month earlier, but is now a day late and a dollar short. (He had also already made the pledge not to run for another term, as had Ben Ali and Mubarak.) Perhaps it's not too late for Salih, but the pattern is familiar and the concessions very late in coming.

Qadhafi, of course, took a far bloodier route, but there are, or until the past few days were, no competing centers of power in Libya.

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