Yemen civil war averted with tenuous ceasefire

Fighting that has left some 115 dead in past week temporarily halted; mediation between regime, tribesmen expected to resume.

By REUTERS
May 28, 2011 13:42
2 minute read.
Tribesmen loyal to Sadiq al-Ahmar in Yemen

Yemen tribesmen 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

SANAA - An informal ceasefire between President Ali Abdullah Saleh's security forces and a tribal group brought a pause in fighting on Saturday after nearly a week of deadly clashes left Yemen near civil war.

Fighting this week has killed some 115 people, prompted thousands of residents to flee Sanaa and raised the specter of chaos that could benefit the Yemen-based branch of al-Qaida and threaten adjacent Saudi Arabia, the world's No. 1 oil exporter.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


RELATED:
As civil war looms in Yemen, leaders call for Saleh to go
France: G8 leaders to endorse aid to Arab democracies

Tribal sources and residents said there had been no renewal of fighting in Sanaa's northern district of Hasaba, site of heavy clashes this week for control of government buildings, and outside the capital.

"Mediation is going to resume later this afternoon," a government official told Reuters.

The latest fighting, pitting Saleh's security forces against members of the powerful Hashed tribe led by Sadeq al-Ahmar, was the bloodiest since pro-democracy unrest erupted in January and was sparked by a Saleh refusal to sign a power transfer deal.

A prestigious think tank, the International Crisis Group, said a broad ceasefire was needed immediately and should be part of a plan that leads to a transition of power.



"To prevent further escalation and loss of life, the most urgent step is for both sides to immediately accept a ceasefire mediated by Yemen's statesmen and tribal leaders," it said in a "conflict risk alert" issued late on Friday.

Foreign states should be involved, it said, "but, given the deeply personal and tribal nature of the feud between the Salehs and al-Ahmars, it cannot be addressed effectively by international mediation or initiatives alone."

Global powers have little sway in Yemen, where tribal allegiances are the most powerful element in a volatile social fabric and the fighting already appears to be playing out along tribal lines.

On Friday, Yemeni tribesmen said they had captured a military compound from elite troops loyal to the president 100 km (60 miles) outside Sanaa, widening a conflict hitherto concentrated mainly in the capital near the home of Ahmar.

The fighting has overshadowed a largely peaceful protest movement that started months ago aimed at ending Saleh's 33-year-long autocratic rule and inspired by the movements that brought down the long-standing leaders of Tunisia and Egypt.

"Urban youth and civil society activists, who initiated the protest movement, stand to lose the most from this turn of events," the ICG report said.

Click for full Jpost coverage of turmoil in the Middle East

Related Content

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
July 21, 2018
Khamenei backs blocking Gulf oil exports if Iranian sales stopped

By REUTERS