After backing out three consecutive times, Yemen's President Saleh finally signed the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) brokered deal for him to step down and transfer power to Vice President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, in a ceremony in Riyadh on November 23, 2011, attended by Saudi King Abdullah.
There have been mixed reactions amongst Yemenis and others towards the signing of the deal; some are disappointed and skeptical, while others are joyful and relieved.
Revolutionary youth Ibarhim Alsaydi expresses the country's young people's rejection clearly in a interview on Al Jazeera English (video posted to YouTube by revaluationvoice):
Twitter user @samwaddah tweets an article by Reuters, which highlights the concerns of many analysts regarding the deal:
Analysis: #Saleh, quitting or dancing on the heads of snakesreuters.com/article/2011/1… #Yemen
The official copy of the GCC deal was not published and many do not know what it consists of. So far only the mechanism of the deal has been revealed.
Until this moment, Yemenis are still kept in the dark on the actual #GCCdeal. Only the mechanism was published, not the actual deal #Yemen
Omar Mashjari points out his objection to the deal in his blog post:
@OmarMash: New BLOGPOST! - What does the GCC Initiative mean for the Yemeni people? by @OmarMash #Yemen #Saleh #GCC bit.ly/uRrE3j
@C0C0SASA tweeted a photo of a Arabic newspaper AlRai showing Saleh's image on the front page alongside the headline “Former President”:
الرئيس السابق…. #yemen #Salehpic.twitter.com/0D5LoNxH
Columnist Nick Kristof sarcastically expresses his cautious relief:
@NickKristof: After 33 years of misruling Yemen, Pres. Saleh is stepping down. Let's hope that the pieces can be put together again.
@Nadaa2124 tweets Brian Whitaker's article in the Guardian, pointing that there has been no concrete change:
Yemen's Ali Abdullah #Saleh resigns – but it changes little | Brian Whitakergu.com/p/33tjz/tw #Yemen #yf #GCC
@Nefermaat admits that not much has been achieved but encourages people instead to focus on what lies ahead:
#Yemen now that #Saleh signed (even if no change) maybe we'll be able to focus on more important things for the future of our country
@AbdulazizSakkaf - supporting the deal - points out:
Like the #GCCdeal or not, it saved your house, job and existence.
@Dory_Eryani who also supports the deal, claims:
There is media war by Janadi&others to make ppl refuse the #GCC deal ..Don't believe them..Saleh lost a lot when he signed it! #Yemen
However @RealistChannel points out what some Yemenis are simply overlooking:
#Saleh signed the #GCC's initiative because he knew his rule isn't over. Not that complicated. #SupportYemen
Many of Yemen's young people rejected the deal and planned to go on marches across Yemen to protest it. @yemen_updates tweeted:
A strong movement at #Sanaa Change Sq. against the JMP & Islah for signing the #GCCdeal that grants #Saleh immunity from prosecution. #yemen
The day after the GCC initiative signing, violence continued in the capital Sanaa, as pro-Saleh supporters shot at peaceful protesters who were marching to reject the deal. In this video the cameraman himself is shot at towards the end of the clip. (video posted to YouTube bymediacentersanaa):
@YusraAlA aslo tweeted:
A day after #Saleh signed #Gulf Initiative, his thugs attacked march in #Sanaa resultin in death of 5 n injury of more than 30 #Yemen #yf
5 martyrs so far, many injured in today's march in #Sanaa! This is the first fruit of the #GCCdeal #Yemen
The Saudi orchestrated GCC initiative clearly does not address the demands of the country's young people, who are the backbone of the revolution; what will it really accomplish for Yemen; does it really end Saleh's rule or does it hide more unpleasant surprises?
*This post was first published in Global Voices, November 25th, 2011