For a few brief days, there was talk about building a Yemeni Tamarod (or rebels, as the Cairo protestors called themselves). There were unofficial discussions between activists from across the political spectrum; the date for massive protests aimed at "correcting the course of the revolution" was tentatively set for July 7. Even at the speculative stage, though, disagreements about everything from demands to acceptable protest slogans foreshadowed that things would eventually come to naught. July 7 came and went with only street protests in the south, as secessionists marked the anniversary of their defeat in Yemen's 1994 civil war. The closest thing I witnessed to an outburst of discontent came a few days prior. Driving with a friend past the home of Yemen's embattled prime minister, Mohamed Basindowa, he rolled down his car window, stopped briefly, and shouted "Leave, Uncle Mohamed!"
The absence of Egypt-style protests hardly means people here are happy with the way things are going. Hoped-for improvements in the stagnant economy and the tenuous security situation remain largely elusive: kidnappings of foreigners have increased in frequency, while security officials continue to be targeted in a string of assassinations. The recurring sabotage of power lines has left even residents of the capital at the mercy of disgruntled tribesmen. Even if Hadi has held on to much of his tenuous public support, Yemenis from across the political spectrum have condemned the unity government as a failure.
Still, it seems, no one is willing to make a move. Chewing qat with a collection of GPC politicians on July 2, their enthusiasm for the protests against Morsy was palpable; Yahya Mohamed Saleh, the former Yemeni president's nephew, had already stopped by Cairo's Tahrir Square to show his solidarity with the "revolution against the Ikhwan [Muslim Brotherhood]." They watched as revolutionaries and remnants of the Mubarak regime joined together against a common foe, and I wondered if they thought they felt they could pull off a similar feat here, capitalizing on the longstanding misgivings many Saleh opponents hold regarding the Islah Party.
"The question is no longer ‘with the revolution or against it,'" an activist had told me a few days before. "The stage has changed. What matters now is who is truly for or against building the state."
Comments like that are music to the GPC's ears. But that enthusiasm among revolutionaries and the regime's old guard seems distant from the current political reality.
Complaints over Islah's increased influence in post-Saleh Yemen notwithstanding, the power the party currently holds is in no way comparable to that of Morsy's Freedom and Justice Party. In the event of any possible shakeup, all parties would almost inevitably be affected; while plenty may raise issue with the current balance of power, few seem willing to take the risk of upsetting it.
Perhaps, however, it's the way things have gone in Egypt that has ultimately doomed any real aftereffects here. The violence and uncertainty since the July 3 coup has led many to quiet their misgivings about Yemen's own post-Arab Spring transition. It may be far from perfect, the argument goes, but things could certainly be worse.
There were certainly plenty of Yemenis who celebrated the military's overthrow of Morsy; plenty of others cast it as a far from ideal, but necessary step. But even many Yemenis with little sympathy for the Muslim Brotherhood have expressed a deep discomfort as events have unfolded, wondering if it's all a message about the fragility of the tentative gains made in the wake of the Arab Spring.
"I don't like Morsy, but it's hard not to see the army overthrowing an elected president as a negative step -- a step backwards," an activist told me. "It makes me nervous about where Yemen is heading: Wherever Egypt was [before June 30], it was far ahead of where we are now."