Watching news reports like the one below, it’s easy to get confused about what’s happening in Yemen – peaceful protest for democracy? Tribal uprising? Civil war?
Broadly – the peaceful pro-democracy movement and the recent armed conflict are two separate issues. The armed clashes are between government forces and armed tribesmen loyal to Sheik Sadeq al-Ahmar. They’ve managed to take government buildings in Sana’a with deadly street battles after the collapse of the most recent ceasefire.
Peaceful pro-democracy protests have been running since January, and tent cities are still visible in major cities. President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s forces have killed over 250 protestors, using tear gas, bulldozers and live ammunition. Talks of a transition of power continue, with Obama’s emissary John Brennan pushing for a deal this week.
What is keeping the situation from becoming a civil war is the military’s lack of decisive intervention, despite government efforts to involve them.
Looks likely that Yemen will be moving up this list before long.
h/t Atiaf Alwazir.