Salih's Speech (Instant Analysis)
Days after dramatically returning from Saudi Arabia, President Ali Abdullah Salih did what he does in these situations: he gave a speech.
The international media will likely lead with the fact that Salih called for early elections (in fact, here is an early al-Jazeera piece saying just that). But what this analysis misses is the caveat - that ever present out - that Salih gave himself, saying that elections would only take place in the context of the GCC deal.
The GCC deal, as those of you who read Waq al-waq frequently know, is worthless. Not only is it impossible to enforce - as Salih's will-I, won't-I dance illustrates - but there are so many loopholes in the plan that even if Salih did sign it he could easily manipulate the aftermath of the deal to ensure that a trusted ally or relative succeeded him as president, or find some excuse to continue in power.
To that end, Salih reaffirmed that his vice president Hadi is authorized to negotiate and eventually sign the GCC deal. This is worthless. And Salih knows it.
Numerous high-level Yemeni figures have already signed the deal, the signature that is missing is Salih's. This is yet one more evasion from a president who sees his strategy of duck and delay starting to pay-off.
This is a traditional tactic that Salih employs in tight situations. He pushes responsibility off to key aides who, western politicians more enamored of titles than the personalities at play believe have some real power. These allies and politicians are expendable - only Salih himself is not. He will willingly sacrifice any of their careers to save his own.
Salih also talked about al-Qaeda - an obvious nod to the US, basically sending the message, you think AQAP is bad now, you don't want to see them if I'm overthrown.
I hope the US is smart enough to see through this self-serving rhetoric, but nothing in their public posture gives me much hope.
I'm not sure what anyone was really expecting from this speech. Salih was never going to resign during it.
According to people on the ground (like Tom Finn's twitter feed) many of the Yemenis protesting Salih's rule didn't even watch it. They've lived with his rule for three decades, they knew what he was going to say.
So where does this leave us?
The speech was nothing new, the same play Salih and his family have been running for weeks. Taken from their perspective, this makes sense. Their strategy is working, the coalition against them is fracturing. Their enemies are still their enemies, but there is more sniping, backbiting, and mistrust among Salih's enemies - and he can work with that - that is how he has survived 33 years in power.
Unfortunately, this means more clashes and more bloodshed with no obvious endgame in sight.
What is clear by now is that if left to drift, Yemen will continue to crumble into chaos and disorder. On the current course, Yemen is not going to correct itself. It needs outside help, primarily a unified front from the US and Saudi Arabia, but sadly the US has missed months of opportunities to do just that.
Yemen's protesters and those on the outside all hope that it is not too late. But hope, even desperate hope isn't much of a strategy.
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
Is it "perverseness," the "death drive," or something else?
Eight-dimensional octonions may hold the clues to solve fundamental mysteries.
- Physicists discover complex numbers called octonions that work in 8 dimensions.
- The numbers have been found linked to fundamental forces of reality.
- Understanding octonions can lead to a new model of physics.
It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.
- It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
- Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.