Yemeni Leader Blames Arab Uprisings On U.S., Israel
It’s a time honored tradition among Arab dictators, when the people get restless, blame the Jews and the Americans:
Yemen’s president has hit out at Israel and the US, accusing them of destabilising his country and the Arab world as protesters demanding his ouster press ahead with demonstrations.
Ali Abdullah Saleh’s comments on Tuesday marked his harshest public criticism yet of the US, a key ally with which his government is battling al-Qaeda pockets in the Arab Pensinsula.
He said “there’s an operations room in Tel Aviv with the aim of destabilising the Arab world” and that it is “run by the White House”.
Saleh, speaking to faculty at Sanaa University, accused the US president of meddling in the Middle East. “Mr Obama, you’re the president of the United States; you’re not the president of the Arab world,” he said.
Al Jazeera’s Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from Sanaa, said: “He [Saleh] is asking the international community to stop interfering in the affairs of the Arab world … It’s a very significant development; it shows Saleh is not willing to bow to the demands of the protesters.”
Protesters pressed ahead with demonstrations despite an offer a day earlier from the president to form a unity government. Saleh has been in power since 1978.
Tuesday’s protest is the latest in a series that have rocked the country for weeks and claimed at least 24 lives.
The protesters chanted one word: “Leave”, in reference to Saleh who until Monday was reluctant to address their demands and said they could not achieve their goal through “anarchy and killing”.
But on Monday Saleh appeared to back down, saying he would accept members of the opposition in a new government if the protesters stopped their demonstrations.
The offer was swiftly rejected by both opposition figures and protesters who described it as an outdated “tranquiliser”.
“The president is saying that ‘I cannot keep giving you concessions’ because you’ll ask for more,” said our correspondent.
One gets the impression the protesters aren’t going to buy the diversion this time.