News / Middle East

As Yemen Crisis Drags On, Risks Grow

Yemen's embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh makes his first public appearance since he was injured in a blast at his palace compound in June, 2011.  (file photo)
Yemen's embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh makes his first public appearance since he was injured in a blast at his palace compound in June, 2011. (file photo)
Elizabeth Arrott

Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh says he is working on a plan for a peaceful transition of power, even as opponents announce they will unilaterally create what looks like an alternative government. 

The main opposition coalition will meet next week to form what it's calling a "national council" to step up the pressure against Saleh, who is currently in Saudi Arabia for medical treatment.  The opposition Joint Meeting Parties want to unite the demands of street protesters and other anti-government forces seeking an end to Saleh's decades-long rule.

Government officials are warning against any such council, saying it would be a declaration of war against the state. Moreover, they say, it is unnecessary. Yemen's state media report that the president is again considering a plan by the Gulf Cooperation Council that outlines the steps toward a post-Saleh Yemen. The president is quoted as saying late Wednesday that his government is committed to finding solutions to the "disagreement" with the opposition.  

Saleh was shown in a video from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where he has been recovering from a bomb blast at his presidential compound in June. He appeared more vigorous than in previous images. However, his comments about the GCC plan came under question. He has agreed to the GCC proposal three times in recent months, each time backing out at the last minute.  

The ongoing stalemate, now in its seventh month, is raising further alarms abroad.   The U.N. Security Council this week expressed its concerns, which range from a deteriorating humanitarian situation in Yemen, to the instability being exploited by the Yemen-based terrorist group, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.  

U.N. Security Council President Hardeep Singh Puri urged all parties to reject violence as a solution to the political crisis.   

"The members of the Security Council also called on all parties to move forward urgently, and an inclusive, orderly and Yemeni-led process of political transition that meets the needs and aspirations of the Yemeni people for change," said Puri. 

Yemen's government stresses that change will not be brought about by any external pressure.   

Officials this week rejected a report that the United States and Saudi Arabia are urging  Saleh not to return to Sana'a. A U.S. State Department spokesman also denied the report, saying it was up to the president to return or not. Washington has long supportedSaleh as a bulwark against al-Qaida.  

Yemeni political commentator Nasser Arrabyee says Saleh's whereabouts are likely not as important as his actual involvement in the process.  

"Saleh still has a lot of support," he said. "His supporters are millions here and that's why the international community is focusing on a constitutional transition, which means that it is only President Saleh who will do this constitutional transition."

Arrabyee says the alternative, more violence between government forces and its opponents, is in no one's interest.  But he adds that the longer the situation drags on, the greater the chance that militant forces can coopt the original pro-reform movement.

"The protesters are still there in the streets," said Arrabyee. "But their leaders are doing something else. They are now involved in military confrontations, under the leadership of al Ahmar, and they have also the defected general Ali Mohsen, who also supported the protests but he is involved in many military confrontations."

Tribal leader Sadiq al-Ahmar, whose members have already fought fierce battles against government troops, joined forces late last month with other tribal groups to form the Alliance of Yemeni Tribes.  The well-armed tribes say any aggression against the protesters will be considered an attack against them.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community 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.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid