Syria, Yemen opposition warn dictators: You're next

Story highlights

  • "This is a lesson for all dictatorships," a Syrian opposition leader says
  • "I hope Ali Abdullah Saleh is watching the news closely," blogger says of Yemen leader
  • Moammar Gadhafi's death could have ripple efects through the region, Mideast analyst says
  • Yemen and Syria are closer to change than Bahrain and Iran, expert says

Dictators around the Middle East should pay close attention to the fate of Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, opposition activists from Syria and Yemen said Thursday as reports of Gadhafi's death flashed across the world.

"This is a lesson for all dictatorships: The clear fate of all who kill his people is to end up under the feet of the nation," said Omar Al-Muqdad, a Syrian opposition activist in exile in Turkey.

View a gallery of leaders caught up in the Arab Spring

The opposition Syrian National Assembly "blesses the Libyan people that got rid of an infamous dictator such as Gadhafi," he said.

He said it would give a push to efforts to topple Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, saying he would suffer "the same fate" if he fell.

Opponents of longtime Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh also drew inspiration from the reports about Gadhafi.

"Whether he was killed or not, I hope Saleh is watching the news closely," Yemeni blogger Afrah Nasser said before Gadhafi's death was confirmed by Libya's governing National Transition Council.

She said she hopes the Yemeni opposition will get international support -- if not necessarily the military intervention that NATO gave Libya's revolutionary fighters.

 Moammar Gadhafi: A look back
 Moammar Gadhafi: A look back


    Moammar Gadhafi: A look back


Moammar Gadhafi: A look back 02:39
Yemen's youth continue calls for change
Yemen's youth continue calls for change


    Yemen's youth continue calls for change


Yemen's youth continue calls for change 02:39
Tunisia prepares for landmark vote
Tunisia prepares for landmark vote


    Tunisia prepares for landmark vote


Tunisia prepares for landmark vote 02:31
The next chapter in the Arab Spring
The next chapter in the Arab Spring


    The next chapter in the Arab Spring


The next chapter in the Arab Spring 03:52

"The support we need is sanctions against Saleh and boycott of Saleh's regime and acknowledgment of Yemen's (opposition) national council," she said from Sweden, where she fled in the face of threats in Yemen.

"I hope that Ali Abdullah Saleh and his regime learn a lesson from what happened to Gadhafi and his government," said Mohammed Abulahoum, head of Yemen's opposition Justice and Development Party. "Saleh must understand that the only scenario left for him, other than stepping down, is what happened to Gadhafi."

Regional expert David Hartwell agreed that Gadhafi's death could have "ripple effects" in the region, spreading the way the Arab Spring did.

"I think what we've seen in the past is that Tunisia had the effect of emboldening the opposition in Egypt," he said. "That has ripple effects out to Yemen and Libya itself."

Yemen is closer to a change of power than Syria, he said.

"Saleh is already edging toward the door anyway. This could have the effect of pushing him through it," said Hartwell, senior Middle East and North Africa analyst at IHS Global Insight in London.

"Syrians may come to see that Libyans removed a dictator who was completely entrenched," he said, "(but) we're not at that point yet, though there have been defections from the army.

"There are local factors in Syria that are going to make it much more difficult to have an effect -- the middle classes in Syria have yet to really throw their lot in with the opposition," he said.

"The situation is going to go along for the foreseeable future," he said.

Radiating out from countries already in turmoil, more changes could be in store for the Middle East in the next few years, he said.

"Further down the line you may see disturbances in other countries," he said, adding that "Bahrain has been postponed rather than resolved ... Iran, when there are presidential elections in two years -- but for the moment it's Syria and Yemen."

      Death of a dictator

    • mann gadhafi speaks_00000000

      Moammar Gadhafi: A look back

      CNN's John Vause looks back at the rise and fall of mercurial Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, who was killed on Thursday.
    • A policeman examines the site where a Boeing 747 crashed after exploding over Lockerbie, Scotland, in December 1988. The incident left 270 people dead.

      Opinion: Justice for Pan Am victims

      Brian Flynn, the brother of a victim of the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am flight over Scotland, says Moammar Gadhafi's death is justice long delayed.
    • The end of the Gadhafi era

      After months of fighting between rebels and pro-Gadhafi forces, deposed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has been killed.
    • DAKAR, SENEGAL:  Libyan Head of State Colonel Moamer Kadhafi (C) reviews troops 03 December 1985 in Dakar upon his arrival for three-day official visit to Senegal. Kadhafi, born in 1942, formed in 1963 the Free Officers Movement, a group of revolutionary army officers, which overthrew 01 September 1969 King Mohammed Idris of Libya and proclaimed Libya, in the name of "freedom, socialism and unity," Socialist People's  Jamahiriya. (Photo credit should read JOEL ROBINE/AFP/Getty Images)

      Why Gadhafi wouldn't surrender

      Fareed Zakaria on Gadhafi's fate: "He had always been a fighter -- romantic, mad, crazy -- so I always suspected he would go down fighting"
    • nr gadhafi last moments alive_00001224

      Gadhafi's last moments alive

      Former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is seen in what may be his final moments as he is captured by rebel forces.
    • TRIPOLI, LIBYA:  Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi salutes his troops participating 07 September 1999 in a military parade in Tripoli to mark the 30th anniversary of the Libyan Revolution that brought Kadhafi to power. Troops from 24 African states joined the flamboyant, five-hour parade which also heralds this week's extraordinary summit of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). (Photo credit should read MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images)

      How Gadhafi sought world stage

      Over four decades in power in Libya, Moammar Gadhafi portrayed himself as the leader of a united Africa and the "king of kings" of his oil-rich desert nation.
    • A National Transitional Council fighter stands on a small rug with a portrait of Moammar Gadhafi at the frontline in Bani Walid.

      Gadhafi's legacy in Africa

      The African stage once belonged to Moammar Gadhafi, nicknamed the "king of kings of Africa" by fellow leaders.
    • NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 23: Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi addresses at the 64th General Assembly at United Nations Headquarters on September 23, 2009 in New York City. Over 120 heads of state will converge in New York for the 64th session of the United Nations' General Assembly over the next seven days. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

      A long 8 months in Libya

      Fighting in Libya started with anti-government demonstrations in February and escalated into a civil war.
    • Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, surrounded by his female bodyguards, attends a meeting with female personalities, 12 December 2007 in Paris.   AFP PHOTO / POOL / Jacky Naegelen (Photo credit should read JACKY NAEGELEN/AFP/Getty Images)

      World reacts to Gadhafi

      Reactions to the reported death of deposed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has started to trickle in from around the world.
    • Libyan children waving National Transitional Council (NTC) flags celebrate in the streets of Tripoli following news of Moamer Kahdafi's capture on October 20, 2011. An NTC spokesman said Kadhafi has been killed by new regime forces in their final assault on the last pocket of resistance in his hometown Sirte on October 20, 2011. AFP PHOTO / MARCO LONGARI (Photo credit should read MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images)

      Warning to dictators: You're next

      Dictators around the Middle East should pay close attention to the fate of Moammar Gadhafi, opposition activists from Syria and Yemen say.