A Yemeni youth organization announced Saturday it has set up a shadow government in hopes of ousting President Ali Abdullah Saleh by default. The transitional council – similar to that set up by Benghazi-based rebel forces in Libya – was created by the Youth Revolution Council, according to CNN, which reported that youth organizations form a “pivotal” force in Yemeni politics.
Among the 17 members named to the transitional council were two former government leaders. Former Defense Minister Ali Elaiwa was asked to head the armed forces, and former South Yemen President Ali Nasser Mohammed was asked to head the council. Fahim Abdullah Mohsen, currently a judge in the southern province of Aden, was also named to the council.
Mohsen told the state-run Saba news agency that he was taken by surprise when he heard his name on the list, since he had no prior knowledge of the organization. “Judges are not expected to take sides during political crises,” he said.
Not all opposition groups are backing the initiative, however. An official from Yemen's largest rebel bloc, Joint Meetings Parties (JMP) commented on condition of anonymity, “The youth did not take into consideration a number of critical issues. That is why the JMP will not approve the council and its members.”
Saleh, who has been in power for 33 years, is still in Saudi Arabia recuperating from serious injuries sustained during an attack last month on his compound by rebel forces. Abdu Ganadi, a spokesman for his government, said that he is expected to return to Yemen within the next several weeks. Tribal leaders have asked the Saudis to keep Saleh from coming back, warning his return would further enflame a civil war already in progress.
Fierce battles between government troops and various tribal forces in the capital, Sa'ana, have been exacerbated by similar battles in the south, where the Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) branch of the international Al Qaeda terrorist organization has gained increasing control over various provinces in the region.