News Release

Tipping Point in Yemen?


CNN is reporting: “Three top generals in Yemen declared their support for anti-government protests Monday as a wave of officials, including the deputy speaker of parliament, announced their resignations. … The ambassadors to Pakistan, Qatar, Oman, Spain and the consul general in Dubai announced their resignations together later on Monday. The envoys to China, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Algeria also quit, according to a government official who is not authorized to speak to the media and asked not to be named. … [President] Saleh dismissed his Cabinet on Sunday, after the weekend resignations of two top Yemeni officials to protest a government crackdown on protesters that left 52 people dead last week.”

Available for a limited number of interviews, Raja is a former adviser to the Foreign Ministry who recently resigned. She said today: “The countdown for the president has started.”

A Yemeni writer and youth activist, Mothana said today: “Today the Yemeni youth and nation are not only experiencing a birth of a new country but also an emergence of a culture of peace and democratic expression in a country that is one of the most highly armed societies in the world. The country has lived though decades of wars and conflicts which caused the deaths of more than 60,000 people in the past 30 years yet NOT ONE bullet was fired from protesters since the uprising started. Today a Yemen of equality, justice, peace, rule of law and democracy is being born.” [Note: According to Small Arms Survey, only the U.S. has more arms per capita than Yemen.]

Professor of political science and international studies at Richmond University and currently visiting at the American University in Cairo, Carapico said today: “The Post, the Times, and other sources are reporting the defection of Yemeni top military commanders including the very powerful, much-feared Major-General Ali Muhsin (al-Ahmar), a key figure in [President Saleh’s] past military campaigns against Southern secessionists in 1994 and against al-Huthi rebels more recently. This could be the tipping point; it spells fragmentation within the military high command, or a revolt within the armed forces. Given that he has so much ‘blood on his hands,’ the response from the pro-democracy protesters to Ali Muhsin’s gesture of joining them is mixed.” Carapico is author of Civil Society in Yemen.

Dahlgren writes frequently on Yemen. She is Academy of Finland research fellow with the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies and the author of Contesting Realities: The Public Sphere and Morality in Southern Yemen. (Syracuse Univ. Press 2010). She said today: “Saleh is trying to manipulate the situation, claiming that protesters are fighting each other, but he has been deploying snipers.”

On Friday, Human Rights Watch released a statement: “The United States should immediately suspend military assistance to Yemen until President Ali Abdullah Saleh ends attacks on largely peaceful anti-government protesters and prosecutes those responsible. … The United States has provided more than $300 million in military and security aid to Yemen in the past five years.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167