Saleh accuses opposition of plotting to take over power [Archives:2004/742/Front Page]

May 31 2004

President Ali Abdullah Saleh harshly criticized some of the opposition newspapers, accusing them of plotting for taking over power and showing their enmity to unification.
The speech of the President came as a response to some reports and articles the opposition media published against the political succession, demanding real political reforms.
Saleh accused, in his speech before a military brigade conducting military exercises in Hodiedah governorate last Thursday, those members of the opposition and their newspapers of planning to take over power not through elections but malice, working for reforms in the American style in Iraq and Afghanistan. “At the end , we will be obliged to carry out their demands of political reforms and what the US has imposed in Iraq and Afghanistan; this is to meet their demands as they go to embassies, calling for reforms in the American style,” he said. “The American style in Iraq and Afghanistan is well-known; we have fought against racism, sectarianism and regionalism, our people despise such sentiments but still they talk about them,” he emphasized.
Saleh ruthlessly attacked the writings of some of the opposition newspapers on the military institution. “These try to market themselves through newspapers as heroes, wishing that we would put them in jail. We respect democracy, human rights, the constitution and the rule of law and will not allow them to market themselves in this way. They can say whatever they want,” he said
Saleh told the military men that these opposition forces are hostile to the military institutions because it abolished the monarchical system, established the republican system and thwarted the secession attempt in the 1994 civil war.
“You in the military and security forces have a long history with these hostile forces and thus you should not expect them to thank or praise you. On the contrary, they doubt the national unification and your faith in the nation,” he addressed the soldiers in a tone the opposition leaders understood as an attempt to instigate the enmity of the military against them.
He said that there are some members and wolf voices in some of the opposition papers that are not responsible but work to harm the national unification and the military institutions and are rabble-rousers. Saleh praised the efforts of the military forces and their role in fighting against the monarchy, bringing the victory of the unification against what he called “the Agreement of War and Destruction,”meaning the Oath and Agreement Accord” signed before during the political crisis prior to the 1994 civil war which, according to him, caused the deaths and casualties of 10,000 and cost the budget over a US 1 billion. “It is, therefore, natural that they show enmity to you and your leadership and call for the change of power, not through peaceful means and ballot but malicious plot,” he stressed. “Do not care about such nonsense,” he addressed the soldiers, suggesting that these opposition forces suffer some sort of psychological disturbance that is not easily cured.
There is currently a media barrage between the opposition and state-run newspapers over the question of the succession of power set up by the central political figures, who have paved the way before their sons and relatives to take over key positions in the military, security and civil service. Al-Shoura opposition weekly was the first paper to release a report on this question; this agitated the anger of the ruling party whose media as well as state-run papers counterattacked against the opposition parties, accusing them of being royalists and secessionists. The opposition media continued to criticize such behavior, despite the threats al-Shoura editor received, demanding a real and substantial political reform in the country.
Some political observers show concerns over the media barrage attack and counter attack between the two sides, comparing the situation to that one prior the civil war of 1994.