Yemen's opposition is divided over whether to accept a deal granting embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his family immunity in exchange for his surrendering power in 30 days. Established opposition parties have tentatively approved the bargain, negotiated by neighboring Arab countries, but young protesters demanding far-reaching reforms say Saleh must "resign or flee" — and be brought to justice for his regime's alleged corruption. Is immunity for Saleh too high a price for change in Yemen?
The priority should be getting rid of Saleh: The revolutionary spirit of Yemen's young protesters is admirable, says Rick Moran at The American Thinker. But if this deal doesn't go through, some fear that "the unrest in the country will allow al Qaeda and its affiliates to run wild." So the smart move for the opposition is to "keep 'the youth' out of it and get this tyrant out of there."
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Immunity could be a deal breaker: It may be impossible to implement the deal as it's written, says Mike Vilensky at New York. In exchange for Saleh's departure, and the formation of a unity government within seven days of his departure, the president wants his rivals to halt increasingly volatile demonstrations. But young people won't stop protesting if Saleh is allowed to get away with abuses committed during his 32-year rule, "especially after pro-government snipers killed 52 protesters earlier this month."
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Chaos will continue in Yemen, regardless: Hold-outs fear that the proposal is just a ploy to buy Saleh time, says Jason Ditz at Antiwar.com. But even if he really goes away, "the months of protest were about more than just replacing Saleh with a new military ruler." Several provinces have fallen out of the government's control, so the new regime's problems are "sure to linger long past any potential deals between political factions."
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