President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen has announced that he will not seek re-election in 2013. Boston University international relations professor Charles Dunbar is a former U.S. ambassador to Yemen. He offers the following view of this current development in the Middle East.
“I am skeptical that President Saleh will not seek reelection. He and the country are in deep trouble. The country’s high population growth rate makes a mockery of the plan to establish a fund to employ university graduates.
“A major difference between Yemen on the one hand and Egpyt and Tunisia on the other is that the opposition can all off demonstrations. In one sense, this is good news for all concerned in that there can be a discussion of transferring power and reforming the country that would be broad based.
“The opposition should negotiate but keep the demonstrators on call. Saleh has used his oil revenues to build a patronage network; trying to force him from office could lead to serious fighting. It’s a very messed up country that is a substantial headache for the U.S.”
Contact Charles Dunbar, 617-353-5633, firstname.lastname@example.org