After over a year of public protests and violent crackdowns, Yemen will finally see the ouster of US-backed dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh. The protesters are well short of their goals, however, and many fear that the elections may short-circuit their protests.
That’s because the entire Saleh regime remains in place, and the election is a single candidate vote, which will replace Saleh with a new US-backed dictator, Major General Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
And while its just a formality since the US has been pushing for him for months now, President Obama today publicly endorsed Hadi, saying the imposition of a slightly younger military dictator in a rigged election will be “a model for how peaceful transition in the Middle East can occur.”
Already some in the opposition are abandoning the protesters, with former military defector Gen. Ahmar urging voters to turn out and vote. The prospect of boycotts in southern Yemen and in Houthi controlled provinces remains, but for the political interests that jumped on the protest bandwagon, the negotiated settlement, even if it provides nothing that those protesters actually wanted, amounts to a victory.