H.M. Ambassador Jon Wilks
Republic of Yemen
12th May 2011
You, like us, know the dire socio-economic situation in Yemen. You, like us, will have followed the news of the demonstrations and seen peaceful protestors in “one of the most heavily armed societies” murdered by regime henchmen to induce chaos, and conflict.
You, like us, will have heard clear and principled pronouncements by Western leaders on the unacceptable conduct of Libyan, Syrian and Egyptian despots, and Western calls for those tyrants to stand aside.
You, like us, will have been shocked and saddened by the West’s deafening silence over Ali Abdullah Saleh and his cronies.
The West’s silence makes Ali Abdullah think that he has enough support to hold out for as long as he wants. This passive support allows him to continue mixing his lethal cocktail of problems for Yemen, now and in the future.
We ask you publicly to make it clear to him and his clique of kleptocrats that it is past time he left. The longer he delays, the more will be the price. The Youth of this peaceful revolt might have been prepared to see more generous terms for his departure early on, but the more he murders, the more our hearts are hardened. As an unschooled shawish from Sanhan, he may not remember that the Yemeni Diaspora is far and wide. We do. If it comes to it, we will pursue him and his ill-gotten gains as far and for as long as it takes. There will be no stone for him to hide under.
Some say the West is protecting Ali Abdullah as “the bastion which stands between the West and al-Qa’ida.” Leaving aside his failures to prevent several airline and shipping attacks, the West should remember the costly lesson it learnt in Iraq: that the dictator’s iron fist drives embittered relatives of state-murdered victims into violent Opposition. By clinging to power, Ali Abdullah is nurturing al-Qa’ida, not neutering it.
Finally, we ask you and all the Ambassadors in Yemen to keep and step up your watchful eye over our brothers and sisters on Yemen’s streets. Ali Abdullah’s record of assassinating political rivals is second only to his mentor Saddam Hussein, including killing members of his own family. As he regains confidence, he has already begun to make an example of our youth leaders and activists: there have been attacks, abductions and mutilations in Yemen; his bullies have begun to menace us here too. The air strikes in Lahij and Arhab on top of the unrelenting violence perpetrated against unarmed protestors in Ta’iz, Hodeidah, Ibb, Sana’a and Aden make us fear that the time of his reckoning with us is imminent. We urge you, and your US, EU and GCC colleagues to take a public stand before it is too late, for us all.
The British Yemeni Coalition Supporting Peaceful Youth Revolution