This week will be a crossroads in the course of the Gulf Initiative implementation. During its first two days, it is supposed to pass the law of immunity to the benefit of president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is the first Arab leader to confess and acknowledge his need for a law to protect him from prosecution for the murders of peaceful protesters during the peaceful youth revolution, and for other issues known by none except for Allah, him and the well-versed in knowledge of his aides over more than thirty-three years. It is also expected that President Saleh is more likely to leave to the United States for medical treatment within days following the adoption of the law, which is supported by the US Administration, being an incentive to the President to step down and retire from political life; as it is not reasonable that this administration supports a law in contradiction to all concepts of human rights it supports and, then, accepts that the foremost beneficiary of such law may return to politics. In other words, there is a US and international commitment assuring other signatories of the Gulf Initiative and its operational mechanism that Saleh will retire politics following the adoption of the law of immunity. Otherwise, it would seem as if the international community leading Yemen unwillingly to an armed conflict from which it wanted the same law to prevent. Peaceful revolution forces accepted the unprecedented – in the Arab region at least – law of immunity in return for meeting the revolution goals of peaceful change and sparing Yemen sliding into a military conflict that would destroy the remnants of coherence of the state.
President Saleh feels greatly reassured by the idea of traveling to the US, specifically for several reasons. First, is the well-established alliance with it during the past ten years in the war against al-Qaeda, which means he will have a special care. The second is that the US is the primary sponsor of the Gulf Initiative and its operational mechanism, and it is in its best interest to have this initiative successful as the first mechanism of its kind for change and power transfer in the Arab World due to the Arab spring revolutions. Therefore, to host President Saleh in the United States temporarily for medical treatment is part of the process as a whole. Third, the United States is not a signatory to the International Criminal Court Statue and thus the residence there poses no risk of any kind, as is the case of European countries that refused to receive president Saleh. Finally, the level of medical care he will get in the US is undoubtedly the best, and he is in a strong need for this high-level treatment. The process of obtaining visas was moving very quietly, not for the statements of President Saleh in his last press conference in which provoked all parties in the US government, human rights and media; he noted that he was going to the United States to disappear from sight and not for treatment, despite his attempt to rectify the situation by saying that he might undergo surgery. The scene was turned upside down in America because of these statements. The US Administration, which will be busy this year with the presidential election, does not want any confusion in the performance of its foreign policy and does not want to find itself [forced to choose] between two difficult options. First, not to host President Saleh temporarily for medical treatment, may cause failure of the Gulf Initiative whose success is a card that would benefit President Obama in his campaign for reelection. Second, its worries about damages it would face as a result of campaigns by the Republicans, HR organizations and the media against the Democrats for agreeing to host a man they see as a dictator, a killer and a violator of human rights in his country. The US Administration would most likely choose to host Saleh temporary to ensure the success of the power transfer, after it had all his commitments not to use its territory as a platform to practice any political activity, to communicate with the interior in order to interfere in tasks of the acting president, or to obstruct any of the procedures for implementing the initiative and its mechanism.
In this week, the military committee, tasked with defusing tension and establishing security and stability, will have to complete its work in Sana'a, the capital, by fully normalizing the situation – as it was before the outbreak of the youth revolution and the concomitant military tension. The same week will also see the finalization procedures of Vice President Abdu Rabo Mansour Hadi's candidature for the early presidential elections. After he has been suffering for more than two weeks from serious extortions by hawks of the General People's Congress who accused him of complicity with the JMP parties – their partner in the National Reconciliation Government – Hadi managed to skillfully and patiently cope with them and put pressure on President Saleh to make up to his deputy and force his hawks to apologize.
If this week passes – with the immunity law has been adopted, procedures of nominating Hadi as the sole candidate for presidency have been finalized, President Saleh has left for treatment and the Military Committee has accomplished its specific tasks – we can then say that safe way to 21 February has been fully paved. The expedited promulgation of the immunity law (with all its disadvantages and defects), including the provision that it applies only to acts that occurred before its issuance, would mean that the ruling family would be very careful not to commit any new crimes or violations. This is supposed also to pave the way for immediate actions, such as to lift block imposed on press websites, stop tap on phone calls that includes even the prime minister and most of cabinet members, and release all the prisoners and abductees. As all such violations were committed in the past on the basis that the immunity law would be issued later on, their continuation after law promulgation will mean that members of the ruling family, who still have control over security and military services, should be held accountable for them, since no violation does occur in the country of any kind of that we have mentioned without reference to one of them to take permission for it. Hence, actions expected to be taken this week would be critical in the course of the Yemeni revolution towards a peaceful transfer of power.