Yemen has a new president, a new parliament and a new source of hope. Why, then, does it seem that nothing has changed?
Five months after former president Ali Abdullah Saleh signed a GCC-brokered transition plan to step down, the strongman of the past 33 years remains in the background.
Opposition groups accuse him of delaying reforms, while members of the old guard remain comfortable in their jobs in security and politics. As the new president, Abdbabu Mansur Hadi, travelled to Saudi Arabia this week for talks, one question has to be asked: what to do about Mr Saleh?
It would be one thing if the former president were meddling on his own. The trouble is, regional and international actors, Riyadh and Washington in particular, are sticking to a tired formula of dealing with Yemen's political instability by propping up the leaders who are responsible for the turmoil in the first place.
The US continues to see Yemen through the lens of its own security and the "war on terror". Saudi Arabian money, patronage and political influence can help stabilise the country, with Riyadh announcing yesterday that it would donate fuel to alleviate Yemen's fuel crisis. But outside influence can often distort domestic priorities, and forestall long-term solutions.
What the US and Yemen's neighbours must understand is that security and stability begin by helping and prodding Yemen to solve its social, economic and political problems - and not by dropping bombs or encouraging stalemate. Al Qaeda-related groups have taken advantage of the political rivalries and competing military powers left behind by Mr Saleh.
There are signs that Washington is increasingly tiring of Mr Saleh. In recent days, the White House has voiced concern over attempts to disrupt the political transition brokered by the GCC. Mr Saleh still leads the ruling party, the General People's Congress, and reportedly tried to sabotage the unity government, which is now limping along only because of talks between Mr Hadi and Prime Minister Mohammad Salem Basindawa. The collapse of the government could lead to the collapse of the GCC plan.
Pressure on Mr Saleh to stop meddling is important for Yemen, but alone that will not ensure progress. The dominance of Mr Saleh's party, and his family's influence in key security posts, must also be scaled back.
The GCC has already missed one opportunity by supporting immunity for Mr Saleh and allowing him to return from exile. The transition will mean little if Mr Saleh continues as the biggest strongman of Sanaa.