News / Middle East

Yemen's Vice President Says Saleh Coming Back 'In Days'

Boys take part in a rally to celebrate the departure of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment in Sanaa, June 5, 2011
Boys take part in a rally to celebrate the departure of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment in Sanaa, June 5, 2011
Elizabeth Arrott

Yemen's youth activists are promising to back the country's acting leader, who took over from wounded President Ali Abdullah Saleh while he is in Saudi Arabia for medical treatment. But the protesters' call for democratic change could be drowned out by a variety of competing voices.  

Activists mingled with ordinary residents Monday on the streets of Sana'a in a continuing celebration of Saleh's departure.

Vice-President Abd al-Rab Mansur Hadi said on Monday that President Saleh will return to Sana'a "in days" and resume his responsibilities. But protesters, like Amer al-Khamisi, believe this marks the end of the president's nearly 33-year rule.

He says that Saleh is gone and will not come back, adding the president "is in the past" and the oppression is over.  

Attack that wounded Saleh


Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh waves to his supporters during a rally in Sana'a (file photo)
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh waves to his supporters during a rally in Sana'a (file photo)

The president was wounded in an attack on the presidential palace Friday, which the government blamed on members of the al-Ahmar clan who battled troops for two weeks in the capital.

In the aftermath, the vice-president and clan leader Sadeq al-Ahmar agreed to pull back their forces, but in scattered violence Monday, at least three more al-Ahmar fighters were killed.

Youth Revolution claims victory

While violence precipitated Saleh's departure, Wassim al-Qorashi, a spokesman for the National Organizing Committee of the Youth Revolution was among those claiming victory for the change under way.

Qorashi said the first stage of the revolution has ended, but his group will continue to struggle until all of their demands are achieved.   It's a note of caution about the future that political observers believe is well placed.  

"What we are actually seeing in Yemen right now is rivalries between elite factions, rivalries between political actors at the absolute top levels of Yemen's political elite," explained Kate Nevins, who runs the Middle East and North Africa program at Chatham House.  "And if the vice president doesn't have the support of one of these factions, it will be a very hard job for him to get everyone of to the negotiating table."

Those factions include Saleh's family, who hold key positions in the nation's security apparatus, members of the al-Ahmar clan, which leads the Hashid tribal federation, rival tribal groups, powerful generals, northern rebels and southern secessionists. 

Activists' role

Nevins, of the London-based research center, believes that even against this formidable backdrop, it's possible for pro-democracy activists to play a role in the nation's future.

"We are seeing a very impressive, very organized youth movement come out of the pro-democracy protest and there are leadership figures emerging from this movement," Nevins said. "Now, if Saleh is to not return to Yemen, we have a situation where there might be a move towards a nation unity government."

Not that whoever is to lead Yemen will have an easy job. The youth movement was inspired by popular uprisings elsewhere in the Arab world, but the similarities with Yemen, according to Nevins, quickly end.  

"It doesn't have the formal institutions that Tunisia and Egypt have, so whoever comes into power or whichever group comes into power after Saleh will be inheriting a very complex system.," said Nevins. "We're also facing an issue where the economy is collapsing, Yemen is losing its foreign currency reserves.  It's running out of fuel.  It's running out of water.  There's a massive food crisis.  And it has some of the highest levels of malnutrition in the world.  So there are a lot of problems to be dealt with."

Al-Qaida factor

Yemen also has an active branch of the al-Qaida terror network, which is why neighboring Saudi Arabia and the United States are playing considerable roles both openly and behind-the-scene to find some kind of stability for Yemen at this volatile time.

 

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid