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power struggle
ali abdullah saleh
president saleh
death count
military units
saudi arabia
recuperation
Is The Power Struggle In Yemen Coming To An End?
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Is the Power Struggle In Yemen Coming to An End?

Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh  has made some vague comments that might indicate his willingness to cede power of his country, but there were no details offered and many of his harshest critics are having nothing to do with the rumors. Saleh has made these comments before but has not acted on them, even when the United States offered assistance in the transfer of power.

The comments by Saleh were made in his first major address since returning to Yemen following months of recuperation in Saudi Arabia. In June, an explosion in the presidential palace left Saleh with serious injuries including major burns to much of his body. He is currently wearing gloves to protect his burned hands and was reported to have deferred hand shaking to his deputy. At the time of his injuries, much of the international community asked that he cede power but he refused. The offer was made several other times during his absence but Saleh did not act on any of the requests. There has been protests in Yemen for over eight months, much of it centering on Saleh’s rule. So far those protests have been relatively peaceful, however the death count has increased in recent months, with over one hundred people dying in September.

The suggestion came again with Saleh returning quickly to Yemen much to the surprise of everyone. Street battles have broken out in the capital city of Sanaa with troops loyal to President Saleh’s son, Ahmed and military units fighting the pro opposition tribesmen for control of the city.

The opposition leaders are convinced that the rumors are meant only to appease the West- citing the fact that the speech itself was delivered at a time when electricity is spotty at best with services off for two days or more at a time.

Two high ranking Yemeni officials have confirmed that the foreign minister has traveled with new plans for the Gulf Cooperative Council to approve. That plan will allow Saleh to remain in office until elections are held in the coming year. It is likely that the plan will be shot down. Meanwhile, the UN Security Council will be holding a hearing this coming Tuesday expressly to discuss the ongoing situation in Yemen and what to do about Saleh’s obstinate refusal to cede power.

Saleh has repeatedly said that he is not the source of the turmoil in his nation and that opposition forces expressly ignored or defied his deputy who was put in partial charge during his recuperation. He has also claimed that the opposition forces have a “dark and destructive project” but would not elaborate on what that could be.

Saleh also disagreed with the rumors that he intended to pass power to a family member, with most people assuming that his son Ahmed would be the obvious choice as the successor. Ahmed and several of the president’s nephews do hold some military power within the regime.


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