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

Arab League Delays Forming Joint Force

Delay grows out of one of original obstacles facing pan-Arab force, analysts say: 'They may agree on the principle, but they continue to argue about how to implement the project' More

Pakistan Demands Afghanistan Protect Its Kabul Mission, Staff

Officials in Islamabad say Afghan agents are harassing Pakistani embassy personnel, particularly those living outside of mission’s compound More

US Survey: Trump Lead Grows in Republican Presidential Contest

Quinnipiac University poll shows brash billionaire real estate mogul with 28 percent support among Republican voters 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs