Yemen: Finding A Deal Saleh Can't Refuse

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November 10, 2011: President Saleh continues to negotiate the terms of his leaving and turning power over to vice president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. After that comes new elections and a new coalition to dominate the economic and ecological disaster known as Yemen.

Saleh has backed away from carrying out such deals, at the last minute, three times. The UN and a coalition of Persian Gulf states keep putting these deals together. Saleh's hold on the country keeps slipping and most Yemenis doubt he will be able to hold onto power. Saleh seems to be maneuvering to get out with amnesty, and the ability to retire peacefully. The UN and the Gulf state diplomats are telling him to sign and leave soon or a peace (and amnesty) deal will be out-of-reach. If Saleh doesn't listen, he will be left to the anger of the growing opposition. While Saleh still has many supporters, most Yemenis are tired to the constant violence and growing shortages caused by the disruptive effect all of this has had on the economy.

November 9, 2011: In Abyan province, an al Qaeda death squad failed in an attempt to kill two tribal leaders who opposed Islamic terrorists. While al Qaeda has some tribal support in Abyan, many tribes and clans oppose them. The al Qaeda response is to try and terrorize these tribal leaders into changing their minds, or at least being neutral. While this has sometimes worked, it has also enraged many tribesmen and created more armed enemies for al Qaeda. The Islamic terrorists also go after government officials, especially senior intelligence officers (who also handle relations between the army and the tribes.)

November 8, 2011: Fighting in Zinjibar, the capital of the Abyan province, left at least twenty al Qaeda gunmen dead. Troops on the ground, their artillery and the air force bombers combined to destroy a band of al Qaeda fighters. Fighting has been intense in Zinjibar for most of the week, with dozens of casualties a day. Most of the dead are al Qaeda, who are outnumbered and outgunned by the soldiers and tribal militia they face in and around the city. But there are hundreds of al Qaeda fighters in Abyan, and thousands of tribesmen who back them. This has created a sort of civil war down there. The soldiers, although technically under the control of president Saleh, are seen as allies by tribesmen who oppose al Qaeda and Saleh.

November 4, 2011: As has happened every Friday this year, there were large anti-Saleh demonstrations in the capital and several other cities.

 

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