Friday, May 27, 2011

Yemeni's fear another day of heavy fighting

Sana'a by night. This picture of the fighting was taken during the nght of Wednesday to Thursday.
The situation in Yemen remains extremely volatile after another day of heavy fighting in Sana'a, the capital. Reuters reported that more than 40 people were killed in street battles in Sanaa on Thursday, the fourth day of the clashes, that broke out after president Saleh on Sunday for the third time refused to sign an agreement whereby he would step down.Residents were streaming out of the city by the thousands to escape the violence. Others stocked up on essential supplies and waited with trepidation for what the day might bring.
Reconciliation in the battles that pitch Salehs presidential guard against the forces of the Hashed tribal confederation seems out of the question, after Saleh's forces attacked the mediation committee on Tuesday night, while they were on the phone with Saleh himself. The tribes seem to have declared Saleh's 'blood for free' after that incident (which means that they excommunicated him). They called upon other tribes to follow their lead and join the fight against Saleh. The leader of the Hashed, sheikh Sadeq al-Ahmar told Reuters on Thursday that there was no chance for mediation with Saleh anymore. He called on regional and global powers to force him out before the country would plunges into full scale civil war. 'Ali Abdullah Saleh is a liar, liar, liar,' Al-Ahmar said. 'We are firm. He will leave this country barefoot.'
Saleh said on Wednesday he would not bow to international 'dictates' to step down and leave Yemen. He also issued an arrest warrant for Sadeq al-Ahmar and his nine brothers, rather an empty gesture under the circumstances.
Jane Novack on her blog Armies of Liberation saw a sign of hope in the fact that one of the top commanders of the presidential guard (whose top-commander is Saleh's son Ahmed), one colonel Ali Shaddadi Ahdillat released a video in which he called Saleh a 'butcher' and  urged his brother collegues to no longer follow his orders.
Gen. Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar
Novack also quoted general Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar of the 1st divison (who earlier went over to the opposition) who told Mareb Press that Saleh would not ony leave Yemen barefoot, but that 'he would not even have a figleaf to cover himself'.  Ali Mohsen accused Saleh to have been the one who was behind the killing of the vice-governor of the Maarib province, Jaber al-Shabwani and his bodyguards in May last year, when he was on a mission to mediate with leaders of al-Qaeda in that province. Shabwani, whose death caused a short uprising by the tribe of which he was one of the elders, was killed by an American drone in what was believed to be a mistake. But according to Ali Mohsen it was Saleh who misled the Americans, much like he once, during the war against the Houthis in the north, gave the coordinates of Ali Mohsen's camp to the Yemeni airforce.... 

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