Yemen: The Stalemate


September 8, 2011:  Tribal fighters are massing around the capital, where most of the population opposes president Saleh. But the Republican Guard, commanded by Saleh’s oldest son, protects the capital. North of the city are units from an armored division that has defected to the opposition, but this force, even with tribal reinforcements, is not strong enough to take the capital. All this violence and posturing has disrupted the national economy, which has caused shortages of food, fuel and even water. But no one is being completely cut off. No one wants a complete economic shutdown, in large part because the major backers of Saleh and the opposition are very wealthy men who control most of the economy. Ultimately, it is all about money and no one wants to lose a lot of it.

September 7, 2011: Four army brigades are attacking Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan province in the south. This has been the scene of most al Qaeda activity and the Islamic terrorists have held most of the town for months. This caused over 80 casualties today. This operation drew troops away from other parts of the south. This allowed al Qaeda groups to take control of two or three other towns.

Negotiations between the government and reformers again failed. The reformers want president Saleh out, and new elections held. But the ruling coalition is still strong enough to maintain itself in power and can refuse to boot out Saleh. That may change eventually, as the trend is towards the opposition.

In the north, the governor of Marib province escaped unharmed when Islamic terrorists sought to assassinate him.

September 6, 2011: Rebel tribesmen and army deserters attacked troops near the airport outside the capital. The rebel soldiers used rockets. There were some casualties and property damage, but not much progress.

September 5, 2011: A government air strike on a mosque in Jaar, the largest town in the southern province of Abyan, killed and wounded over fifty people. The mosque was believed to have been taken over by al Qaeda, but it turned out that the bombers hit the wrong mosque.

September 4, 2011: Large anti-government demonstrations were held in the capital.

September 3, 2011: Outside the southern port of Aden, a truck bomb killed six soldiers and wounded eight. In the capital, six large explosions could be heard throughout the city.




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