Last week, Yemen’s President Ali Abdallah Saleh -- who remains in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia recovering from injuries incurred in a bomb attack on the presidential compound in June -- announced that he had delegated authority to his vice president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, to sign an agreement negotiated through the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) last spring that would remove Saleh from power.

September 22, 2011

Last week, Yemen’s President Ali Abdallah Saleh -- who remains in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia recovering from injuries incurred in a bomb attack on the presidential compound in June -- announced that he had delegated authority to his vice president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, to sign an agreement negotiated through the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) last spring that would remove Saleh from power.

In the wake of this announcement, forces loyal to Saleh resumed violent clashes in the capital city of Sanaa, including several incidents in which loyalist troops fired on unarmed protestors causing dozens of deaths. The renewed outbreak of fighting once again led to delays in the implementation of a transfer of power. GCC mediators in Sanaa hoping to negotiate a cease-fire between opposition and loyalist fighters left the country on September 21 with no agreement in hand. Violent clashes have continued, and Yemen again seems poised on the brink of civil war.

While it is not possible to draw a direct line from President Saleh to the renewal of violence in Sanaa, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that his supporters remain determined to thwart efforts to remove him from power. Among the loyalist units identified as sparking armed confrontations are those led by one of Saleh’s sons. It is also widely known that hardliners within the ruling General People’s Congress have long opposed the GCC transition deal.

It remains the case today, as it has for the past eight months, that President Saleh and his supporters in Sanaa continue to throw obstacles in the path of a negotiated settlement that would pull Yemen back from civil war, and initiate a meaningful process of leadership transition and political change.

For more, read “USIP to Examine Yemen’s Tattered Justice Sector

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