News / Middle East

Yemen's Interim Leader Urged to Start Power Transition

Anti-government protesters read local newspapers featuring a photograph of Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, and a headline that reads in Arabic, 'What's After Ali Abdullah Saleh', in Sana'a, Yemen, June 7, 2011
Anti-government protesters read local newspapers featuring a photograph of Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, and a headline that reads in Arabic, 'What's After Ali Abdullah Saleh', in Sana'a, Yemen, June 7, 2011

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Anti-government protesters in Yemen are urging the country's interim leader to form a transition council that would create a new government, while President Ali Abdullah Saleh recovers from serious injuries in Saudi Arabia.

Demonstrations continued on Wednesday outside of Vice President Abd al-Rab Mansur Hadi's residence in the capital, Sana'a. However, soldiers moved in and cleared out tents that had been set up by some of the protesters.

Meanwhile, Saudi officials say Saleh is in "stable" condition as he recovers from injuries sustained during a rocket attack on the presidential palace last week.

Yemeni officials initially said the president had shrapnel wounds.  However, U.S. and Yemeni officials later said that President Saleh's injuries were more severe.

Robert Powell, Senior Middle East analyst with The Economist’s Intelligence Unit, provides insights on the situation in Yemen in an interview with Susan Yackee:

On Tuesday, diplomatic sources said he had burns over 40 percent of his body, including his face, neck and chest.  He also is believed to have suffered a serious head injury.

Anti-government unrest has continued in Yemen in the president's absence.

On Tuesday, there was more fighting in Taiz, Yemen's second-largest city.  Also, government forces clashed with militants in the southern city of Zinjibar, more than a week after hundreds of suspected Islamic militants seized control of the town.  

Nearly 400 people have been killed since a popular uprising against Saleh began in January.  The president is facing increased calls to accept a peace deal put forward by the Gulf Cooperation Council that would end his nearly 33-year rule.

The top U.S. military commander has raised new concerns that Yemen's turmoil could provide an opportunity for al-Qaida to become more deeply entrenched in the country.  The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, says the group's Yemen branch (al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula) could become more dangerous as a result of Yemen's chaos.  He commented during a Wednesday visit to Cairo.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

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