Potential Hot Spots: March 17, 2005


There was a mini-tribal war near Sanaa on March 14th. The cause is unclear, but they went at it for several hours with small arms, automatic weapons, and the occasional RPG, until paramilitary security forces moved in. The paramilitaries and some Moslem clerics managed to calm things down. Casualties unknown. Such violence is all too common, especially in areas along the Saudi border, that is controlled by tribal militias. Coalition commandoes and intelligence forces have been operating in the area, along with Yemeni troops, looking for al Qaeda members. The government does not want to press the tribes too much, lest they spark a wider rebellion. Islamic conservatism is popular throughout the country, and many Yemenis see Osama Bin Laden as a hero. The government, and a large number of Yemenis (perhaps a majority), see Islamic terrorism as the wrong way to go. But getting all Yemenis to quietly agree to this could still trigger a civil war. 


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