Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Yemeni leader wounds could be more serious than expected

The injuries suffered by the Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in an attack on his palace over the weekend were more serious than initially reported, an official said, raising further doubts about his political future in the impoverished Arab nation . At first it was reported that Saleh received shrapnel wounds.

His vice president was quoted on Monday saying he would return to Yemen in the coming days from Saudi Arabia where he is receiving medical treatment. The Yemeni official, like other early American, said Saleh is a more serious condition with burns over 40 percent of his body. Britain called on Tuesday for an orderly transition of power.

Meanwhile, thousands of demonstrators gathered outside the residence of Yemeni Vice President to demand the interim leader to form a council to create a new government and replace Saleh. Parallel to the peaceful protest in the capital Sanaa, were fought fierce battles Tuesday in a southern city in the hands of militant Islamists.

About four thousand demonstrators in Sana'a, for five months have been calling for the resignation of Saleh, called a "march of a million" for the president to stay in Saudi Arabia. "The people want to form a transitional council. Do not sleep, we will not sit until the formation of the council," chanted the demonstrators.

Some demonstrators carried signs reading "The blood of those released was victorious." In a banner reading "Our revolution is Yemeni. No American or Persian Gulf." "We will stay outside the residence of Vice President for 24 hours to push him to form the transitional council," said Omar al-Qudsi, an activist, "The Saleh was over," he said.

Saleh, 69, was wounded Friday in a rocket attack on his palace in Sanaa. Seven people died in what senior officials described as an assassination attempt. Is being treated at a hospital in Riyadh. The volatile situation in Yemen, an impoverished nation in the middle of the oil transportation routes, alarm Western powers and neighboring oil giant Saudi Arabia, who fear that chaos will facilitate the actions of a local faction of Al Qaeda.

Saleh's absence could be an opportunity to remove him from power after nearly 33 years. "We are calling for a peaceful and orderly transition," said Monday the U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. The British Foreign Minister, William Hague, said Tuesday that "the situation in Yemen is extremely uncertain." "We urge the vice president to work closely with all parties to implement the agreement of the Gulf Cooperation Council and begin the political transition now," he said in a message to Parliament.

Saudi authorities say Saleh decide whether returned or not, but Riyadh, like other foreign powers might try to revive a transition agreement mediated by several Persian Gulf countries for the Yemeni leader resigns in exchange for immunity. "Saleh's departure is probably permanent," said Robert Powell, an analyst with Yemen in the Economist Intelligence Unit "The Saudis and the United States and the European Union, are pushing to stay in Saudi Arabia and who see the prospect his return as a catastrophe, "he added.

"Before his departure, the country was sliding inexorably toward civil war. However, his transfer has suddenly opened a window to restart the proposed diplomatic mediated Gulf appeared unsuccessful. It seems that Saudi Arabia and other stakeholders not Saleh allow the rout this time, "he said.

Saudi Arabia fears for the actions of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a faction based in Yemen, who has made bold but not very effective attacks on Saudi and U.S. targets. The Yemeni army said had killed scores of Islamic militants, including a local leader of Al Qaeda in the southern town of Zinjibar, the capital of the restive province of Abyan.

A local official said 15 soldiers had died in the battle for control of the city captured about 10 days ago by militants.

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