News / Middle East

Fighting Between Tribal, Government Forces Escalates in Yemen

A protester shouts slogans during a demonstration to demand the resignation of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa, Yemen, Sept. 29, 2011.
A protester shouts slogans during a demonstration to demand the resignation of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa, Yemen, Sept. 29, 2011.

Several people were reportedly killed and others wounded during intense fighting Thursday in a northern district of the Yemeni capital, Sana'a, as partisans of tribal leader Sheikh Sadek al-Ahmar and forces loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh fought for control of a key neighborhood.

Yemenis awoke to the sound of fighting in Sana'a again Thursday, as forces loyal to embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh clashed with tribesmen supporting his bitter rival, Sheikh Sadek al-Ahmar.

Arab satellite channels reported that fighting was heaviest around the home of Sheikh Ahmar in the upscale Hasaba neighborhood of northern Sana'a.  The sheikh's house was reportedly shelled, receiving a number of direct hits.

Other fighting took place around the positions of General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, who sided with protesters against Mr. Saleh, last spring. For months, protesters have been demanding that Mr. Saleh leave office,

Witnesses say the fighting led to an exodus of civilians from the Yemeni capital, amid ongoing power cuts, fuel shortages and scarcity of some food items. Thursday's clashes came after three days of a relative lull.

Opposition protesters were not deterred by the fighting, participating in large demonstrations and marches in several districts of the capital.


Official Yemeni government media reported that top Islamic clerics had issued a fatwa, or religious edict, saying that popular protests were illegal.

Greg Johnsen, a Yemen scholar at Princeton University, said that the president's supporters can now use the fatwa to justify using force against protesters.

"One thing that the president has done since returning from Saudi Arabia is attempting to get the religious scholars - or those religious scholars remaining loyal to him - to come up with a fatwa, or a religious opinion, essentially stating that the protests and the defections are outside the bounds of the constitution and outside the bounds of Islamic law and should be corrected and should be met with force.  And so many people, myself included, are viewing this as sort of a bit of religious fig leaf that the president is going to use to further crack down on the protesters,” Johnsen said.

Fighting between the two sides has escalated over the past two weeks.  On Wednesday, anti-government tribesmen shot down a government warplane near the capital.

Yemen's foreign minister has blamed the turmoil on the opposition's refusal to accept 2006 presidential results.

In the face of mounting protests this year, Mr. Saleh agreed three times to an Arab-Gulf proposal calling for him to step down.  But he has backed out each time before it could be signed. He returned to Sana'a on Friday after a three-month stay in neighboring Saudi Arabia where he was recovering from an assassination attempt in June.

 

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

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine 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.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid