News / Middle East

Yemen Instability Stokes Terror Concerns

Thousands of protesters march during a demonstration demanding the prosecution of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sana'a,  Nov. 24, 2011.
Thousands of protesters march during a demonstration demanding the prosecution of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sana'a, Nov. 24, 2011.
Henry Ridgwell

Thousands of people took to the streets in cities across Yemen Friday, calling for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to be put on trial. Saleh signed an accord on Wednesday to surrender power after 33 years of rule.  Western countries and Yemen’s neighbors fear the political instability could be exploited by terror groups.

Thousands of people took to the streets of the Yemeni capital after Friday prayers - protesting against the immunity from prosecution granted to President Ali Abdullah Saleh in return for his resignation.

“Our objection to the deal is the immunity from prosecution, which the Gulf Cooperation Council gave to him [Ali Saleh]," said one demonstrator. "This is the thing that we reject completely and that is why we wills stay here [protesting] until it is achieved.”

There were simultaneous protests in Sana'a in support of the president. Local media say fighting broke out between security forces and army defectors.

Saleh signed the accord Wednesday, pledging to step down within 30 days and hand over power to his deputy before negotiations with the opposition. The deal was hailed as a breakthrough by its brokers, members of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

But Gala Riani of IHS Global Insight says many questions hang over the agreement.

“One of the problems is of course that Saleh remains, in name, as the president. Yesterday, five people were killed in Sana'a in clashes," said Riani. "Immediately afterwards you had a statement from ‘the President, Saleh’, condemning what had happened and saying he would issue a probe into it. So that really poses an important question as to, ‘What kind of power does he still have?’”

Thousands of protestors watched the signing on television - which prompted celebrations in the capital. But Riani says many powerful institutions remain loyal to Saleh.

“Will he still be using these groups, including his son who is head of the Republican Guard, to interfere essentially in political affairs," asked Riani.

The West is paying close attention to what happens in Yemen. The man accused of trying to blow-up this Northwest Airlines Flight to Detroit on Christmas Day two years ago, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, is thought to have trained in the country.

The United States regularly conducts unmanned drone strikes against al-Qaeda targets in Yemen. in September a strike killed Anwar Al-Awlaki, accused by the U.S. of being the terror group’s chief propagandist. Again, analyst Gala Riani:

“Even the U.S. I think is not keen to engage more with Yemen," she said. "What they want in Yemen is a political leadership that they can collaborate with. They certainly had that under Saleh. And they will be looking to perpetuate that and find another leadership that’s willing to collaborate with them and willing to allow them to continue with their counter-terrorist operations.”

Riani warns terror groups like al-Qaeda in the Arabian Penisula are seeking to exploit the political divisions in Yemen to gain more support on the ground.

Join the conversation on our social journalism site - Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' at 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid