Yemen Anger 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
At least 69 Yemenis were killed in pitched street battles in the capital on
Thursday as fighting aimed at ending President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s three-decade
rule threatened to ignite civil war.
Residents were fleeing Sanaa by the
hundreds, hurriedly fastening possessions to the roofs of cars, hoping to escape
the violence that has killed more than 110 people since Monday.
Saleh: I will not allow Yemen to become 'another Somalia'
– director of Tel Aviv University’s Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African
Studies and author of the forthcoming book Yemen: The Anatomy of a Failed State
– said a state of internecine war has essentially already begun.
war has already started. It’s Ali Abdullah Saleh and his tribal militias
against his rival al- Ahmar’s tribal militias,” he said.
and his tribe lead the powerful Hashed tribal confederation, which is
well-represented among the country’s political opposition.
“You also have
al-Qaida operatives, as well as Houthis, who are Shi’ites trying to rebel
against Sanaa. Unlike other Arab states, it isn’t the youth who are initiating
things in Yemen,” he said.
“Yemen has a different rhythm, even if some
would like to compare it to the revolutions sweeping the Middle East
Rabi said that given its factious ethnic and religious makeup,
Yemen, after Saleh’s ouster, would be an ideal breeding ground for terrorist
groups like al-Qaida.
“More often than not, dictators are able to hold
very complex states in a relative state of stability. It’s no doubt that if
Bashar [Assad of Syria], Saleh and [Libya’s] Muammar Gaddafi fall, what we will
likely see is a collection of mini-states, and that means instability –
something that isn’t healthy for the Middle East, at least in the short term,”
The latest round of fighting was the bloodiest Yemen has seen
since protests began in January.
The AP reported 20 government troops and
46 tribesmen loyal to Ahmar were killed Thursday alone.
The US ordered
all non-essential diplomats and embassy family members to leave the
“The security threat level in Yemen is extremely high due to
terrorist activities and civil unrest,” the State Department said.