Yet another Arab country is being rocked by street protests by people hungry for change. And so, after two grueling months of protest by his people, Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh has agreed to immediately step down from his 32-year rule. Saleh offered to leave office in the next 30 days, under the condition that he be granted immunity from prosecution for any crimes.
Seven opposition political parties agreed to the proposal, with several stipulations, but the majority of key opponents other members of the opposition — who include protesters on the streets — say they doubt that Saleh has any intention of leaving office.
Thousands gathered in Change Square in the nation's capital, Sanaa, to continue their protests. "The proposals are not acceptable at all, and the opposition parties don't represent us," said Khaled al-Ansi, a leader of the youth movement that is one of the main organizers of the street protests. Al-Ansi argued that Saleh deserved to be tried, along with his sons.
Saleh initially offered to step down at the end of the year but that proposal was met with outrage. The Yemen leader then suggested that he stay until the end of his term in 2013. Saleh warns that the country will slide into disorder if he steps down early and that al-Qaida would seize control of the country. Yemen is currently home to al-Qaida's most active branch.
Meanwhile, the U.S., which had considered Saleh to be an ally in the war on terror, has come out in favor of a peaceful transition of power in Yemen.
When it's time to go, it's time to go. Thirty-two years is more than enough time to rule a country. Saleh is not in the position to make a deal with people who are clearly sick of him. He should step down immediately before he and his sons are violently forced out.
Read more at the Huffington Post.
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