Saturday, 4 June 2011

Rocket Hits Yemen president, Civil War Intensifies

President Ali Abdullah Saleh's palace was attacked by rebels. It is reported that he has been wounded. This is a serious threat to any shred of stability that was left in Yemen. It clearly indicates that the civil war has spun out of control and the Government know longer has control.

Agencies report that it was one of the most daring attack on the head of the state, even though his injuries are not serious yet , seven guards have been killed and all his top brass including the Prime Minister were also wounded.

Though the Yemeni information ministry said that Saleh has been slightly wounded yet he did not appear any where after the attack. Most leaders after a failed assassination attempt appear on national TV to assuage any kind of fear or rumors of death. This did not happen in the case of the President.

An opposition news bulletin initially reported that the Yemeni leader had been killed, but the rumour was quickly scotched by Mr Saleh's aides.

Speaking after the attack, Mr Saleh blamed an "outlaw gang" of his tribal foes – the powerful Hashid tribe led by Sadeq al-Ahmar, who has been battling Saleh loyalists in Sanaa."I salute our armed forces and the security forces for standing up firmly to confront this challenge by an outlaw gang that has nothing to do with the so-called youth revolution," he said.But the critical aspect was it was only his voice and no footage was shown.

The rebel tribesman and the military are fighting pitched battles in around the capital city for the past one week after the protest and international pressure failed to oust the current Yemeni President.So it is to be expected that the Yemeni forces will intensify their raids on the rebels irrespective of what the US or any other country wants. USA is worried about the Al-Qaeda wing that is active in Yemen and Saleh had cleverly convinced the US that he is the only person to fight that menace and his fall meant an Al-Qaeda take-over.(quite similar to what happened in Pakistan, I don't think USA understand the old trick)

After the protest failed the tribesmen led by al-Ahmar under the flag of their tribal group called Hashid have been fighting the security forces which is dominated by Saleh and his clan.This is the classic case of a powerful faction dissatisfied and rising up in revolt. Sheikh al-Amar and his family has been angry at Saleh promoting only his clansmen and keeping them out of power, therefore they were waiting for an opportunity to strike. And fate provided that opportunity, when after the Tunisia revolt people in Yemen revolted too. Cleverly these tribesmen kept themselves out of the revolt initially expecting the US and western power to force Saleh's ouster. After which  they could easily capture power but when this did not happen and Saleh moved his troops first against the protesters then against the Sheikh himself, the tribesmen joined the fight in full force.