Barrage of Media Criticism Between Islah & GPC [Archives:2001/29/Front Page]

July 16 2001

It seems that the relationship between the ruling party, General People’s Congress (GPC), and Islah is dying out. The two parties are currently launching media barrage against each other, heralding collapse of their long-standing strategic coalition. They are now accusing each other of involvement in taking steps for normalization of relations with Israel.
Al-Sahwah weekly, Islah’s mouthpiece, launched a ruthless and stubborn attack on the former PM Dr. Abdulkarim Al-Iryani and his liberal wing in the GPC that he favors establishing good relationship with Israel. The newspaper released a photo of a Yemeni origin rabbi Samah al-Qadhi posing with Mr Iryani. It accused Iryani of attacking the scholastic institutes, which allegedly breed terrorists. It added that he wanted to get some big guys at the power center prosecuted for facilitating the USS Cole bombing . Al-Sahwah adds that in this way Iryani wanted to take revenge on the conventional members at the GPC who opposed his policy regarding Yemen’s relation with the World Bank as well as his views to normalize relations with Israel.
On the other hand, Al-Mithaq, GPC’s mouthpiece, counter attacked Islah and released a photo of Shiekh Abdullah bin Hussein Al-Ahmar with the same Jewish rabbi. It accused Al-Sahwah of having clandestine relationship with Israeli press institutions through which it could get that photo of Iryani and the rabbi. It also presented the story of the Jewish rabbi. It said he traveled from Yemen to Israel in the 1940s and then moved to the USA where he kicked off his business. He came to Yemen by the end of the 1980s and wanted to establish a school for his Jewish community in Raidah, Amran.
Al-Mithaq said he met several officials including Iryani to facilitate his project but it confirmed that the project did not get through as the education bureau officer from Islah in Amran at that time stalled the project. He wanted all Yemeni Jews to immigrate to Israel. It also said that when al-Qadhi visited Yemen last April, he did not meet Iryani. Rather, he met Islah leaders including Abdulmajeed al-Zindani, Islah’s Shura president.
Not only that. The two parties held each other responsible for the clash between the military and tribesmen from Obaidah in Marib which claimed the lives of 11 and injured soldiers.
GPC bureau in Marib released a statement accusing Islah terrorists of conducting criminal acts and piercing the oil pipeline as well as killing military men in an ambush. The statement said those acts aimed at sabotaging the implementation of the government’s decision concerning the merging of religious institutes that were run by Islah. It also accused Islah members of standing against Yemeni Revolution and killing the revolutionary Ali Abdulmughni, adding that the people of Marib declared their support for the government and its measures to curb lawlessness.
However, Islah released a statement to refute GPC allegations related to Marib incident. Islah, along with opposition parties, held GPC responsible for the incident, pointing out Islah’s courageous stands with the military in defense of Yemeni Unification. Islah confirmed that it was ready to release a list of the names of the attackers on the army.
The relationship of the two parties worsened during the last February local elections. Several people were killed in clashes between the two parties. The Islah then confirmed the nullification of the strategic coalition between the two parties.
But now the relationship is coming to an end and withering away, particularly because of the coalition between Islah and the opposition to undermine the GPC attempts to amend elections law. The opposition and Islah describe these proposed amendments as utilitarian and target democracy.
Political observers believe the relationship between Islah and GPC is facing rough weather and coming to an end despite the fact that President Saleh and Al-Ahmar want to maintain good relations. Their intimate relationship is based on tribal considerations rather than political affiliations. Islah also stressed several times that they will maintain their good relationship with Saleh, soothing what agitates the GPC anger.
Mohammed Hatem Al-Qadhi
Yemen Times