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Wed 27 Apr 2011 03:57 PM

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GCC's Yemen plan may create 'dysfunctional state', Eurasia says

'Current crisis ensures that government capacity will worsen under any short-term outcome,' analyst says

GCC's Yemen plan may create 'dysfunctional state', Eurasia says
YEMEN UNREST: Gulf Cooperation Council officials are seeking to avert an escalation of violence in Yemen or a deadly military divide between opposing tribes (Getty Images)

A plan brokered by Arab Gulf countries to have Yemen’s
president Ali Abdullah Saleh resign within 30 days would lead to the creation
of a “dysfunctional state,” political risk researcher Eurasia Group said.

“A deal that sees Saleh step down is the least negative
of a set of bad outcomes,” Ayham Kamel, a Washington-based analyst at Eurasia,
wrote in a report on Wednesday. “Yemen will face the same structural challenges
to governance in Saleh’s wake, and the current crisis ensures that government
capacity will worsen under any short-term outcome.”

Gulf Cooperation Council officials are seeking to avert
an escalation of violence in Yemen or a deadly military divide between opposing
tribes. More than 100 people have been killed since protests began on
February  11, according to Majed Al Madhaji, a spokesman at the Arabic
Sisters Forum for Human Rights in Sana’a, the Yemeni capital.

Foreign ministers from the six-member GCC will hold an
emergency meeting in Riyadh on May 1 to approve a plan that charts Saleh’s departure,
the group said in an e-mailed statement on Wednesday. The council comprises the
United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait.

Bahrain and Oman are among a handful of Middle Eastern
nations to see popular revolts since the start of the year. Saleh would be the
third leader forced from office since popular unrest spread through the region,
resulting in the ouster of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and Zine El Abidine Ben Ali
in Tunisia.

Saleh, 69, agreed in March to an opposition proposal to
hand over power by the end of the year, then backtracked by saying he’d stand
down only after a newly elected government was formed and power was transferred
to safe hands.

Tensions escalated last month when police and snipers
killed 46 demonstrators in Sana’a, prompting several military and government
officials to abandon Saleh’s regime.

“In any case, a post-deal Yemen will be a dysfunctional
state,” wrote Kamel, who said the country has a negative long- term outlook.
“Saleh stepping down does not preclude violence, and instability will likely
continue in a transitional phase.”

Police yesterday fired on protesters in the Yemeni cities
of Taiz and Hodiedah as thousands demonstrated against the GCC plan to offer
Saleh immunity from prosecution, activists said.

Yemen’s economy will grow 3.4 percent this year, the
International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday, after 8 percent growth in 2010. The
government has been battling Al Qaeda militants and Shiite Houthi separatists
in the north as it tries to maintain output of crude oil and export liquefied
natural gas.

The Arabian Sea country’s southern separatist movement
and Houthi rebels may be excluded from any transitional political process
brokered by the GCC, Kamel said. That threatens to cause further unrest.

“If these groups are marginalised, Yemen will continue to
face challenges to its territorial integrity,” he said.