Here is a brief look into how the politics is shaping up here and why it is so hard to get an idea of what will happen.
The Yemen Times published today an interview between Nadia al-Sakkaf, the paper's editor in chief, and Leslie Campbell, regional director of the U.S. National Democratic Institute. The interview suggests that the JMP (coalition of major opposition parties in Yemen) will soon reach an agreement with the GPC (the ruling party) that will enact changes in the Yemeni government and will allow president Saleh to stay on as president before finally stepping down at the end of his term in 2013.
However, the same issue of the Yemen Times published an article about the growing divide between the opposition coalition and the student activists at the forefront of the protests . The article leads one to believe that students do not think the JMP represents their goals, consider the coalition part of the broken system, and fear they will hijack their revolutionary movement to place themselves in power.
Gregory Johnsen, author of the well-regarded Yemen blog Waq al-Waq, contends that in the Yemeni political arena, interpersonal family relations, especially those of the tribal nature, trump party politics anyway.
In this discussion of shifting blocks of political parties, members of parliament jumping ship, tribe confederations backing so-and-so, who gets lost in the process are the unaffiliated student protesters. Will they back the results of the JMP and GPC dialogue? If the dialogue fails and the JMP joins the protests, will they accept their presence? Do they even have the ability to contest these outcomes?
Although I went out on a limb and earlier made a prediction, the only thing you can really do is sit back and watch how this all plays out.
P.S. – As I finished typing this, Al Jazeera English announced that president Saleh will announce a new “government of national unity” sometime in the next 24 hours.