News / Middle East

    Will Rising Tensions in Yemen Lead to Quick Solution or Chaos?

    Local journalist Nasser Arrabyee believes that despite more planned protests, a quiet exit for President Saleh could be negotiated.

    Anti-government protesters shout slogans during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sana'a, Yemen, March 23, 2011
    Anti-government protesters shout slogans during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sana'a, Yemen, March 23, 2011

    Yemen's parliament has approved a law imposing a state of emergency in the country amid protest-related violence. The adoption of the emergency law Wednesday was expected, as Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh's ruling party holds a majority of the parliamentary seats.

    Saleh announced a state of emergency after gunmen loyal to the president opened fire on a group of protesters calling for his ouster Friday, killing a reported 52 people.  A wave of government officials, tribal leaders and diplomats defected to the side of opposition protesters after the bloody crackdown. Yemen's top military figure, Major General Ali Muhsen al-Ahmar, also defected to "support the peaceful revolution."

    Nasser Arrabyee, a Yemeni journalist based in Sana'a who writes for the Cairo-based Al Ahram Weekly and the Dubai-based Gulf News daily newspaper, regularly covers events in Yemen for major international newspapers and on his own blog.

    VOA's Davin Hutchins spoke with him by phone to find out more about how last week's killings may alter events in coming days.

    Arrabyee: Ali Muhsen has been the main pillar of Saleh’s rule over the last 30 years, and he is from the same village, from the same clan [as Saleh] – from Sanhan, and from the same family. So it is difficult to say now whether he is a completely honest fellow. There is a possibility that they agreed, that they made a deal to help Saleh find a peaceful solution for transferring power. And also, at the same time, to secure a safe exit for Saleh…. but I would say [the situation] could end at any moment.

    Hutchins: You said in a recent blog post that the crisis was at its end, and that last Friday was a turning point, but Saleh has not really changed his position other than to say that he will step down by the end of the year. So, what makes you so sure that this won’t be a drawn out stalemate.

    Arrabyee: When I said that the end was very close I meant that there will be some kind of deal. This is what I see from the previous history, because right now there is a lot of effort from inside and outside Yemen to reach a deal to transfer power….

    Hutchins: When we saw what was happening in the final days of the Mubarak regime in Egypt, when there was a crackdown or supression, that seemed to motivate the protesters even more. The protesters in Yemen are already organizing for this Friday. Do you think that the numbers will be larger because of what happened last Friday? What do you expect exactly?

    Arrabyee: I think the protests will be stronger, that there will be more and more protesters, because of what happened last Friday and because of a direct call from the opposition [for more rallies]. It will be a decisive Friday, but at the same time I am not expecting [a repeat of the violence last Friday], but something strong, something in the direction of finding a solution.

    Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
    and discuss them on our Facebook page.

    You May Like

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    Clinton, Sanders Fight for African American Votes

    Some African American lawmakers lining up to support Clinton in face of perceived surge by Sanders in race for Democratic nomination in presidential campaign

    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.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.