News / Middle East

Yemen's President Warns Coup Would Lead to Civil War

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh during a media conference in Sana'a, March 18, 2011
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh during a media conference in Sana'a, March 18, 2011

Amid defections by military commanders and former political allies, Yemen's president is warning that any attempt to stage a coup against him will lead to civil war. But he also says he is willing to hold early elections and leave office by January in an orderly transition of power, as protests intensify against his 32-year rule.

Tens of thousands of Yemenis are occupying central squares in cities and towns across the country, as former allies of President Ali Abdullah Saleh move to pledge allegiance to a popular uprising against him.

Lashing back at the growing rebellion, President Saleh told a group of army commanders Tuesday that he is holding firm and that any sort of coup would lead to civil war:

He says no one should expect to come to power through a coup. Everyone must stop and realize that people are armed, and no one can defeat anyone. The time of coups, he insists, has ended. He says if someone wants to come to power, that person must follow a democratic and civilized path.

The president’s insistence that he will not step down immediately followed reports that the key presidential guard, commanded by his son, and special forces units under his nephew, continue to defend the presidential palace.

Tank crews loyal to General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, who pledged allegiance to the rebel movement Monday, control the central bank and other key government buildings in Sana'a. Most of Saleh’s Cabinet has resigned or been dismissed, although Defense Minister Mohammed Nasser Ahmed remains loyal to the president.

Saleh alleged in his speech that Yemen's "youth revolution" is being manipulated by veteran politicians with an agenda.

He asserts that the young people supporting the youth revolution are victims of old politicians whose goal is to gain power and who won’t stop at anything to reach that goal. He complains that the country is torn by numerous conflicts and that his rivals are vying with one another to revolt.

Princeton University Yemen scholar Gregory Johnsen argues that President Saleh is losing support quickly and that it is unlikely that he will be able to win back those who have defected:

"The army officers who have announced their support for the protesters aren't going to rejoin the president,” Johnsen said. “They are not going to come back into the fold. But a lot is going to depend on how loyal units of the Republic Guard are to the president's son as well as how loyal members of the central security forces are to his nephew."

Johnsen says the outcome may rest on a last-ditch round of mediation by Saudi Arabia. President Saleh dispatched Prime Minister Abu Bakr al Qurbi to Riyadh Monday evening to enlist Saudi help in brokering a solution to the nearly five-week-old crisis.

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

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine 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.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid