Caution as Yemen Hands Diplomatic Immunity to Top Military

The presidential decrees many Yemenis have been awaiting have finally come as Yemeni President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi on Wednesday April 9, 2013, removed former president Ali Abdullah Saleh‘s son Ahmed, the head of the Republican Guard, and appointed him as ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Saleh's nephew Ammar, the deputy intelligence chief, was appointed military attache in Ethiopia, Ammar's brother, Tareq Yahia, head of the Presidential Guard, was appointed as military attache in Germany. General Ali Muhsin Alahmar, Yemen's second most powerful man during Saleh's reign, was also removed from his post and appointed as adviser to the president for military and security affairs. Removing Saleh's relatives and Ali Muhsin from power has been an major challenge in restructuring Yemen's military, and an obstacle to the transitional government.

Carlos Latuff Cartoon of Saleh's published in 2011

Carlos Latuff Cartoon of Saleh's published in 2011

Yemenis reactions:

Ibrahim Mothana happily tweeted:

@imothanaYemen: Now we can really call it military restructuring! #Yemen

@imothanaYemen: Wondering how the backlash to president's Hadi decrees will look like this time? #Yemen

Atiaf Alwazir commented:

@WomanfromYemen: Just b/c General Ali Mohsin will leave his post doesn't mean he wont have “influence” in #Yemen; Saleh also left his post.

Many ppl excited about new Pres decree, yet hardly anyone assessed background of new Generals or potential impact on balance of power #yemen

Farea Almuslimi said:

@almuslimi: Finally Hadi does what hundreds of thousands of #Yemenis voted for him to do so; Decrease the source of headache in their lives for decades

@almuslimi: Today would have been totally perfect if Ali Mohsen was also sent abroad as a diplomat. I doubt #KSA wld have allowed #Hadi to do it though

Summer Nasser cautiously tweeted:

@SummerNasser: There is one thing I learned from Yemen's politics: never be too excited about anything. Instead, be neutral.

@SummerNasser: Why are you all so happy? He (Hadi) is OBLIGATED to fix the country. We make it seem like he's doing us a favor. #Yemen

Blogger Afrah Nasser tweeted:

@Afrahnasser: The new decrees do #Yemen no good at all. What Yemen needs is justice. For God's sake, why Yemen can't enjoy justice?!!

@Afrahnasser: The bloodshed #Yemen's uprising gone through should never be forgotten nor forgiven. Never. Let alone all the bloodshed we saw thro history.

Non-Yemenis Reaction:

Letta Tayler from HRW tweeted:

@lettatayler: #Yemen shakeup = new diplomatic immunity for 3 #Saleh kin: Tareq in #Germany, Ahmed Ali in #UAE, Amar in #Ethopia.

Seems Ali Mohsen got what he wanted and already had from #Yemen shuffle but will Ahmed Ali enjoy running for prez from UAE?

Adam Baron, a freelance journalist, in Yemen tweeted:

@adammbaron: Many seem to see Ali Mohsen as gaining the winning hand in tonight's reforms; remains in country, saves a great deal of face. #yemen

He added:

This, by the legendary Aretha Franklin, does a decent job of summing up what many in #Yemen are wondering right now: [Who's zoomin’ who]

Laura Kasinof tweeted:

@kasinof: it used to be that Saleh’s foes were appointed to #Yemen embassies abroad. now reversal is happening and Salehs are appointed as ambassadors

Correspondent Elizabeth Dickinson tweeted

Yemen pulls the classic ‘neutralize your rival by sending him on a cushy ambassador-ship abroad’ move …

Journalist Iona Craig, who is based in Yemen, commented:

@ionacraig: So, big military changes overnight. Why are Yemen Presidential decrees released on US time? i.e. in middle of the night here. #justasking

Many of the Saleh's now not only enjoy domestic immunity but also diplomatic immunity. One wonders will the new diplomats be representing the “elected” president or the “leader”? As for Ali Muhsin, who remains in Yemen, many are cautious of his new role. And as usual with every presidential decree in Yemen, there is apprehension mixed with jubilation. One never knows who is really ousted and who is still in power, only time will tell. One can only hope that with these major changes, Yemen is finally going to experience more security and stability to rebuild it's economy.

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