Yemen already suffers an unresolved war around the northern town of Sa’ada between the government and rebels who claim to advocate for the Houthi religious minority. Thousands have been displaced. Yemen also hosts tens of thousands of African Horn refugees, and stands in the crossfire between the U.S. and anti-Western terror groups. Now – while concerned global citizens for good reason have their eyes on Libya – Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has made moves indicating that he is raising a cloak to hide his next moves to repress pro-democracy protesters.
Despite the clamp down, at least two Yemeni publications, Al Masdar (in Arabic) and the Yemen Times (in English) are still attempting to bring out breaking news stories on the confrontation between government forces and protesters, but it’s hard to know the degree of objectivity in their reporting.
President Saleh did offer concessions to protesters, and now leaders in the business community and international community, even rebel leaders, are offering proposals for talks to resolve the multi-layered crisis, but Saleh has not made moves to indicate that he is ready to leave office or negotiate new elections fairly. Instead, Yemen’s security forces stand by as witnesses claim some of their elements, along with unidentified snipers, have used violence against peaceful protesters.
Consider what a terrific precedent it could be for a peace agreement to be forged in Yemen which includes not only the violence in the north but also the national concerns motivating the current protests in the rest of the country before thousands are potentially killed.