Yemen: Phony Revolution Versus Real Terrorism


: February 8, 2011; Despite pledges from oil-rich neighbors to invest, nearly as much money is moved out of the country as is moving in. Experts see Yemen as more unstable and inhospitable to new investments. The core problem is, and long has, been the tribal divisions. National unity has always been weak, and often imaginary. President Saleh pledging to not run for reelection in two years is mostly theater. What dissipated the anti-Saleh crowds in the capital calling for change, were the tribal divisions prevented the massive number of unemployed young men to unite in protest. The anti-government demonstrations, inspired by Tunisia and Egypt, sputtered out, in part because the government coalition was based on tribe, not just family, or personal interests, so a lot of the payoffs were reaching the street, at least if you belonged to a pro-government tribe. Still,  Saleh is under pressure to back off on manipulating the 2013 elections, giving other coalitions a chance to take over. The smart money is on Saleh.

The government received four U.S. Huey II (UH-1) helicopters, which increases the ability to track the activities of rebels and terrorists, and carry out arrests. The army and police continue hunting for Islamic terrorists, and training to acquire better skills for fining and combating the Islamic radicals. But hundreds of al Qaeda have the protection of southern tribes, and foreign intel agencies continue to pick up news of new recruits being trained in terrorist camps "somewhere in Yemen."

February 5, 2011: In the south, two gunmen tried to kill an intelligence officer, but failed.

February 4, 2011:  The ruling party flooded the capital with its own supporters, disrupting anti-government efforts to continue demonstrating.

February 3, 2011: Over 10,000 demonstrators turned out in the capital, calling for president Saleh to resign.

February 2, 2011: President Saleh, sensing a unification of many Yemenis who are poor, unemployed or frustrated at the lack of economic opportunities, announced a bunch of tax cuts, employment programs and pay raises for government employees. This made a lot of potential protestors less angry, or even more pro-Saleh. But some remembered the Saleh had promised not to run again in 2005, but then changed his mind when the popular anger abated.



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