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

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters 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.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs