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Entries in Ali Abdullah Saleh (20)

Monday
Aug082011

Wounded Yemeni President Saleh Released from Saudi Hospital

GAMAL NOMAN/AFP/Getty Images(RIYADH, Saudi Arabia) -- Already facing massive turmoil, Yemen is bracing for even more trouble now that President Ali Abdullah Saleh was released from a Saudi hospital on Sunday, according to the Yemen news agency SABA.

Saleh was seriously injured in an explosion at his palace last June and brought to Riyadh for treatment, along with other members of his administration who were badly wounded in the blast.

The Yemeni president was discharged and moved to a government residence in the Saudi Arabian capital to continue healing.  SABA reports that Saleh will check back into the hospital every so often to undergo tests and medical exams.

It is not known how long it will take for Saleh to recuperate before he heads back to Yemen, as has been his intention since the attempt on his life.

If and when that happens, the country -- already in an uproar -- may really erupt.

Most Yemenis in the Arab world's poorest nation don't want Saleh to return as separatists and government forces continue to clash.  There are also grave fears in the West that Yemen's destabilization will lead to al Qaeda's rise there.

Washington, which supported Saleh as an ally in fighting terrorists, understands that a future with Saleh is probably not feasible but remains concerned about who will fill the power vacuum should he remain in exile.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun062011

Yemeni President's Departure Leaves Power Vacuum in Country

GAMAL NOMAN/AFP/Getty Images(SANA'A, Yemen) -- Demonstrators in Yemen celebrated Sunday after the departure of President Ali Abdullah Saleh for Saudi Arabia to seek medical attention, but there were concerns about the possible power vacuum in the troubled country if the president does not return.

The long-time dictator was wounded Friday in a rocket or mortar attack that hit a mosque in his compound, and fled the country under a veil of secrecy Saturday to neighboring Saudi Arabia for medical treatment.

The government had at first reported that Saleh suffered only a minor injury in the attack, and said the president would soon hold a news conference.  Saleh never appeared before the cameras.  When an audio recording was finally broadcast, the president sounded sedated.

The attack came after more than four months of pro-democracy protests that have rocked the country, with the government trying to violently suppress the demonstrations.

Gleeful crowds took to the streets, singing their nation's anthem, but it remains to be seen whether the president's departure is really the first sign of progress since protests began to force the authoritarian leader to give up power.

However, questions grew Sunday about the future of the country, a key ally of the United States in the war on terror, if this marked the end of Saleh's 33-year regime.

"President Saleh leaves behind a crisis," ABC News' This Week anchor Christiane Amanpour said.  "A power vacuum in a poor, divided and heavily armed country spells trouble for stability, and troubles specifically for the war on al Qaeda's network there."

The crisis could create more challenges for U.S. interests, because of the strong presence of al Qaeda in Yemen.  Anwar Awlaki, the American-born man considered by many to be the world's most dangerous terrorist, lives in Yemen.

"It is safe to say what happens in Yemen matters more than what comes next in Libya," Amanpour said.

Saleh has not officially stepped down, leaving many to question if the embattled president will continue to cling to power or if the attack was the blow that will finally put an end to his reign.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun032011

US Looking at Counter-Terror Forces Used in Yemen vs. Tribal Forces

GAMAL NOMAN/AFP/Getty Images(SANA'A, Yemen) -- There are media reports out of Yemen that the Saleh government has deployed U.S.-trained special forces against the armed fighters of the tribal leader whose opposition to the Saleh regime has turned Sana'a into chaos.
 
The Financial Times quotes government spokesman, Tareq al-Shami, as saying the counterterrorism unit of the Central Security Forces had been deployed. That unit has received millions of dollars a year from the U.S. for training to fight al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. He justified their use was legitimate saying, “They [the forces] are meant to combat terrorism, and that’s what these clashes represent," according to the Financial Times.
 
Friday, Pentagon spokesman Col. Dave Lapan said there was no evidence the counterterrorism forces have been used against protestors.  However, he said “we have seen media reports that they have been used against armed forces, we are looking for more information into that aspect.”  
 
He added that the Pentagon was looking into the reports.  Might there be implications for aid to Yemen if the reports turn out to be true? Lapan said it was still too early and that for now they were just looking into the reports.    
 
The fighting in Sana’a is between fighters loyal to Hashed tribal leader Sadeq al-Ahmar, who has ended his support for Saleh.  There have been reports that Yemeni army units loyal to Saleh have fired on protestors in the southern city of Taiz.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun032011

Yemen's President Treated for Injuries After Rocket Attack

GAMAL NOMAN/AFP/Getty Images(SANAA, Yemen) -- Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh is reportedly being treated at a hospital in the nation's capital for wounds he sustained during a rocket attack that targeted the presidential palace.

It is the first time during this escalated period of violence that opposition leaders have taken it to the top man himself, hammering the president’s palace and inflicting what have been called light injuries to Saleh’s neck.

The White House condemned "in the strongest terms" the violence Friday in Yemen, including the attack on the presidential compound.

"We call on all sides to cease hostilities immediately and to pursue an orderly and peaceful process of transferring political power as called for in the GCC-brokered agreement," White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement. "Violence cannot resolve the issues that confront Yemen, and today's events cannot be a justification for a new round of fighting. We urge all sides to heed the wishes of the Yemeni people, whose aspirations include peace, reform, and prosperity."

The attack comes on the heels of increasing violence across the Yemeni capital and a government attack against the homes of two tribal chiefs.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May182011

White House to Yemeni President: Sign Agreement, Get Out

GAMAL NOMAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The White House called President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen on Wednesday to urge him to sign and implement the Gulf Cooperation Council-brokered agreement that would result in his stepping down within a month.

John Brennan, President Obama's top adviser on counterterrorism and the point-man for Yemen, made the phone call, delivering the message that the agreement should be signed "so that Yemen is able to move forward immediately with its political transition," according to the official read-out of the call.

Under the agreement, Saleh would resign with immunity by the end of the month. His political party --  led by vice president Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi -- would work with opposition leaders to form a unity government and a presidential election would be held within two months.

Saleh went back on the previously negotiated agreement with opposition leaders brokered by the six-nation GCC.

"For our part, we have agreed," Muhammad Naimi, the head of the opposition's political bureau, was quoted saying in the Los Angeles Times. "Whether the government will actually commit to the document, or backtrack again, that is another story."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Apr172011

More Injured as Yemen Protests Continue

GAMAL NOMAN/AFP/Getty Images(SANA’A, Yemen) -- Dozens of people were injured in Yemen Sunday, as protestors kept up their call for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to leave office.

A large number of demonstrators engaged in anti-government protests in Sana’a and other parts of the country Sunday, resulting in several clashes between security forces and protestors.

Dozens were reportedly injured when security forces used tear gas on some protestors, while other demonstrators were injured after security forces opened fire on one group, according to published reports.

Several people have been killed in the protests which began in January

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr052011

US Seeks Painless Exit for Yemeni Leader

GAMAL NOMAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration is helping to grease the skids for the impending departure of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

While he remains a strong U.S. ally in the war against al Qaeda and other Islamic extremists, Saleh has worn out his welcome with his own people and the State Department can't afford to prop up a leader opposed to democratic reform.

Yemeni officials say the U.S. is attempting to mediate a smooth exit for Saleh so as not to further destabilize the country, which is in danger of falling into the hands of those supporting al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the anti-American organization that's headquartered in Yemen.

In Washington, White House spokesman Jay Carney said that while Saleh's depature "should be accomplished through dialogue and negotiation," counterterrorism efforts cannot be focused on a single leader.

Saleh has been in power since 1978 and while he has never been a popular leader, it's only recently that massive demonstrations against his rule have basically left him no choice but to leave, especially after his security forces have been responsible for the deaths of dozens of protesters.

His opposition has rejected Saleh's offer to leave office at the end of the year so that democratic reforms can be instituted, demanding instead that he resign immediately.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Mar262011

Deal May Be in the Works for Yemen President to Step Down

GAMAL NOMAN/AFP/Getty Images(SANA'A, Yemen) -- As protests in Yemen continue, it remains uncertain as to whether President Ali Abdullah Saleh will step down from his position.

On Saturday it was reported that a deal was being worked out that could see Saleh stepping down in the near future. According to published reports, government officials have confirmed that such a deal was being negotiated for Saleh’s departure. Saleh has said that he is ready to transfer power to the persons/persons that he sees fit to take the reins.

Protestors are hoping that Saleh steps down sooner than later, as they continue to call for his immediate departure. Demonstrators have been calling for his departure for almost two months, with dozens of people being killed during clashes between protestors and pro-government forces.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar252011

Report: Yemeni Leader Agrees to Turn Over Power

GAMAL NOMAN/AFP/Getty Images(SANA'A, Yemen) -- With his country in a state of upheaval over calls for his resignation, initial reports Thursday were that Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has apparently agreed to relinquish his 32-year hold on power.

The Wall Street Journal said that Saleh and Gen. Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, Yemen's top military leader who recently defected to the side of pro-democratic forces, will both step aside to allow a civilian-led transitional government to run the country.  Their resignations could come in a matter of days.

However, one senior American official questioned whether a deal had been struck and said that Saleh is intent on coming up with his own timetable for leaving office.

Protesters plan to hit the streets of Yemen’s capital for a demonstration dubbed “Friday of departure.”

While anti-government activists would like Saleh out of the picture immediately, both the president and general have apparently agreed that a transitional governing body needs to be in place to ensure Yemen's stability.

Should Saleh follow through on his promise to step down, he would be the third Middle Eastern leader to do so this year.  Similar unrest in Egypt and Tunisia also resulted in their presidents abruptly leaving office.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Mar202011

Yemeni President Fires Cabinet

GAMAL NOMAN/AFP/Getty Images(SANA'A, Yemen) -- Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh reportedly fired his entire cabinet on Sunday amid social unrest throughout the country.

Protests have been taking place in Yemen for about two months with demonstrators calling for Saleh to step down from his presidential post. On Friday, Saleh declared a state of emergency as protesters and pro-government forces continued to engage in violent clashes. The days leading up to Sunday’s announcement have been deadly, with snipers opening fire and killing dozens of protesters during demonstrations in Taghyeer Square on Friday.

President Obama has condemned the violence in Yemen and called on Saleh, “to adhere to his public pledge to allow demonstrations to take place peacefully.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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