Monday, February 28, 2011

Cautiously Optimistic for Yemen?

Hussein Abdallah al Ahmar, brother of Sadeq al-Ahmar, the "sheihk of sheikhs" of the most powerful Yemeni tribe -- the Hashid -- has recently defected from the president's party (the GPC) and denounced Saleh as the "Imam." His brother, Hamid, is also a leading member of Islah and the JMP movement.

While Hamid has been (at times) a very vocal opponent of the Saleh regime since the crisis of 2005, this is the first time I am aware of that this son of Abdullah al-Ahmar (a man who towered above all others in modern Yemeni History) has made what seems to be an irrevocable break with the regime. Could it happen that Sadeq also turns his back on Saleh?

It should also be noted that the protests are getting larger, as attested to in this Washington Post article. Maybe there is hope for change in Yemen.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Cairo It Ain't

This recent article by Haley Edwards in Foreign Policy is quite good. The only mistake she makes is in claiming the Hashid Tribal Confederation as "the largest and most influential tribal alliance in Yemen." While it is the most influential, the largest tribal grouping is that of the Bakil Confederation.

One citizen killed, others wounded with fire by JMP’s thugs

This article, bad English and all, is nothing but lies. Note that Almotamar is the website of the GPC, the president's political party.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Libyan Trippers

"Colonel Qaddafi, speaking in an impassioned 30-minute phone call to a Libyan television station, appeared particularly incensed by the revolt in Zawiya, close as it was to the capital. In a rambling discourse, he blamed the uprising on ... Osama bin Laden, saying he had drugged the people, giving them 'hallucinogenic pills in their coffee with milk, like Nescafe.'"

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

In Yemen, Leader Says He’ll Talk, but Not Quit

As most people know, the dominating force in the JMP is Islah - the cat's paw of Saleh's GPC during the unification process in Yemen (which began with unification in 1990, and ended in 1994 with the defeat of southern secessionist forces). What most people don't know is that the YSP (or Yemeni Socialist Party) is not only the JMP's second most powerful party, but was the leader of the forces seeking secession in 1994. While the leaders of the JMP still do not look to have distanced themselves greatly from the regime, the coalescing alliance between the youth and the JMP described in this NYT article points towards some type of resolution of the problems in the south of Yemen.

At the same time, it looks as if the Houthi's in the North have been heartened by this nascent alliance, and have come out to protest in the thousands in Sa'adah.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Where the Protests are Taking Place in Sana'a

In the image above, you can see the location of Tahreer Square in downtown Sana'a, where the majority of protests are taking place in the city. It is in close proximity to the House of Representatives and the residence Stephanie and I lived in while in Sana'a. Tahreer Square in Sana'a is significantly smaller than the like-named Tahreer Square in Cairo.
Sana'a University is also the scene of protests.

Yemen Protesters Face Off for 8th Day

The NYT reports today that, "In what now seems a pattern, pro-government forces wearing traditional dress that prevails outside the capital routed antigovernment protesters as the police and army looked on."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Spoke too Soon!

It looks as if the coalition opposition Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) have now backed out of dialogue with the regime as a result of the ongoing protests in Yemen. Don't put too much faith in the Yemeni opposition as they are closer to the regime than most Middle East "oppositions."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Protesters and loyalists clash in Yemen

While Egypt had hundreds of thousands protesting, potentially approaching more than a million after all was said and done, Yemen can only point to hundreds. These numbers were easily outweighed by riot police and pro-Saleh supporters, who engaged the protesters in a rock-throwing contest.

On top of that, the opposition has agreed to enter into dialogue with the president.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Mubarak Steps Down, Ceding Power to Military

Amazing! The Egyptians now have an opportunity to build democracy for the first time in close to 60 years! Let us all hope and pray that they are successful!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Why Yemen Won’t Fall

I'm laid up at the moment, but recently read this article by Victoria Clark that was published in the NYT last week. I thought it was quite precise. Victoria Clark recently published a great book on Yemen called "Yemen: Dancing on the Heads of Snakes."