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

    S. African Farmer Goes From 'Voice in the Wilderness' to Sought-After Expert

    Margarest Roberts has authored more than 40 books on subjects like organic farming, urban agriculture, herbs and ‘superfoods'

    Millennial Men Prefer Bucks Over Beauty

    U.S. men aged 18 to 34 say the finances of a potential significant other are more important than her looks

    Multimedia Lebanese Clown Troupe Marks Valentine's Day Amid Stink

    Activists resort to unusual approaches to raise public awareness of country’s ongoing trash crisis

    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.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.