(MENAFN - Arab News) Former President Ali Abdullah Saleh considered Yemeni citizens to be a bunch of stupids and used rhetoric highlighting the country's false heroic positions. When Saleh signed an agreement with the US to help him fight Al-Qaeda, news broke out like the plague that the agreement was reached on the undertaking that aerial operations would be carried out in search of terrorist hide-outs and the US would proceed to bomb suspicious targets.
Yet every time Saleh was asked about them, he would claim they were Yemeni forces. Avoiding confrontation and hiding behind rhetoric while dealing with people was his habit on all serious issues. But he later discovered that by fooling his people, he was only fooling himself. Yemeni citizens knew the truth despite the president's cunning ways. This was manifested clearly by their demand for his departure when the internal crisis erupted, with the majority ignoring his claims that it was an American-Zionist plot. It is due to this approach that the strategic, self-serving regimes betrayed him. He shattered his own credibility and killed his chances so comprehensively that in the end, no one believed any promises he made in his bid to remain in office.
His successor President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi seems to be a confident man, or at least confident that the policy of uttering and laying bare the truth is better than that of promoting incredulous lies. Hadi not only admitted that there is, in fact, Yemeni cooperation with the United States, he also acknowledged the existence of US forces and a joint operations center in the country and thus implicitly admitted that he had the knowledge and had consented to American monitoring and bombing. He personally endorsed every raid launched by US drone aircraft in counter-terrorism activity and declared that this was part of an international collaboration by many countries - from Pakistan to Algeria.
President Hadi realizes that he needs the backing of his countrymen and their support for his decisions and does not want to be dishonest with them. People may be ignorant, but they should not be considered fools. In fact, a leader who thinks that people believe in his lies is a fool. Foreign military aircraft taking off from Yemen's airports and bases scouring the skies of his country cannot go unnoticed. People may not know what happens behind closed doors, but what does happen reaches them instantly or within a very short time. However, advisers on behalf of the people could mislead the president by selectively reporting only what he wants to hear.
Revolutions have shown the failure of political slogans and the lies of Arab leaders who had been hiding behind populist stances. They failed to gain the protesters' trust, who in turn did not excuse the abuse of their rights and rejected their rhetoric as a falsity.
Prior to the revolution in Syria, Bashar Assad said in a famous interview that his people and leadership are united thanks to the fact that his is a state with a strong stance against Israel. However, it did not take long for his lies to unravel. The Syrians are well aware that his slogans against Israel are nothing but lies in a feeble attempt to appease a dissatisfied public.
The new Yemeni president's frankness about what is happening means that he wants to face the facts, facts that he no longer wishes to cover up. He realizes that he cannot fight Al-Qaeda alone with Yemen's limited capabilities, especially since the threat of Al-Qaeda does not concern Yemen alone, but rather poses a danger to the international community. Indeed, his is a new beginning, however embarrassing and painful.