Yemen: The War May Not Be Over


January 30, 2012: Now that president Saleh has his immunity deal and has left the country to get medical treatment in the United States, his followers are left to make do as best they can. There is unrest in the armed forces. One brigade of the Republican Guard rebelled because its commander was seen as corrupt. This uprising was put down by loyal troops from another Republican Guard unit. Troops at four air force bases demonstrated to have the head of the air force (a half-brother of president Saleh) removed. The issue here was also corruption. The outgoing Saleh government was accused of massive corruption and the amnesty they demanded only seemed to confirm the corruption charges.

It's unclear what deals Saleh made with his closest aides. What is known is that elections are to be held on February 21st, and Saleh's ally and vice president Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi is expected to be elected president. This would put Saleh's followers back in power. Apparently the opposition, which went along with the immunity law, feels they could ease Hadi out and revoke the immunity law. That sort of thing has happened before (not in Yemen). The opposition apparently believes that with Saleh gone change is much more likely and will be less violent. But Saleh's followers also went along with the deal and apparently feel that they can hang onto power. The war may not be over with the departure of Saleh.

In the north, fighting between Shia and Sunni tribes continues and thousands of civilians are fleeing the violence. There have been over a hundred casualties up there in the last week alone.

January 27, 2012: In the south, several clashes left a police commander, a soldier, and four al Qaeda men dead.

January 25, 2012: Several hundred al Qaeda gunmen left the town of Radda (130 kilometers southeast of the capital) after a tribal coalition threatened to come in and kill all the Islamic radicals. The al Qaeda faction had held the towns for nine days, refusing to leave until some of their leaders were released from jail.

January 21, 2012:  Parliament finally passed the immunity law that will protect president Saleh from prosecution for past offenses. But immunity for Saleh's aides was limited, making them vulnerable to lawsuits in the future. Saleh is expected to go into exile in Oman.


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