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
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid