Yemen: Another Dictator Unmoved

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March 18, 2011: President Saleh refuses to leave power (which he has held since 1978), and he has enough allies (some tribes, and most of the security forces) to keep his growing opposition from shutting down the country and forcing him out. Apparently, Saleh sees himself as the only one capable of preventing another civil war, as it appears there is no clear choice to succeed him. While technically a democracy, Yemen is actually led by a tribal coalition held together by political deals and bribes. Saleh has control of the oil income, and gives it out carefully to buy as much loyalty as he can. But Yemen is a growing economic and social mess, faced with water shortages and starvation, along with growing unemployment. No one in Yemen has any long term solutions for these problems (other than begging foreigners for help), and the anti-government demonstrations are a way to get the anger and frustration out. Like fellow strongman Kaddafi in Libya, Saleh is, so far, unmoved by the pro-democracy demonstrations.

March 17, 2011:  In the east, near an oilfield, al Qaeda gunmen attacked a police checkpoint. Three terrorists and two police died. Meanwhile, south of the capital, two al Qaeda members were captured, one of them a senior leader.

Also in the east, a 15,000 barrel a day oil pipeline was cut by an explosion.

In the capital, four demonstrators were hurt as police broke up small demonstrations. In the southern city of Taiz, a much larger turnout resulted in at least 80 injuries.

March 16, 2011: In the southern city of Hudaida, anti government rallies led to several dozen demonstrators  wounded and one dead.  

March 15, 2011:  In the east, an oil pipeline was cut by explosives. Yemen produces 300,000 barrels of oil a day, which is the primary source of income for the government.

In the north, an anti-government tribal leader was killed at a demonstration.

March 14, 2011: In the north, tribesmen attacked an army outpost and killed four soldiers. This was in retaliation for troops injuring anti-government demonstrators. In the east, anti-government led to a provincial governor being stabbed and over 40 demonstrators injured. Police arrested and deported four foreign journalists.

March 13, 2011: Violence against protestors during the weekend left dozens injured and at least four dead.

 

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