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.
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid