Saleh is currently in Saudi Arabia, where he is receiving treatment for serious injuries
The head of Yemen’s most powerful tribal confederation warned Tuesday in a letter to the Saudi king that Yemen could plunge into civil war if President Ali Abdullah Saleh is allowed to return home.
Saleh is currently in Saudi Arabia, where he is receiving treatment for serious injuries from a blast early this month at his palace in the Yemeni capital that left him severely burned with severe burns and chunks of wood in his chest.
In his message to King Abdullah, Sadeq al-Ahmar, the influential tribal chief who was an ally of Saleh before switching sides to join the opposition, appealed to the Saudi monarch to prevent Saleh from returning to Yemen.
“His return will lead to sedition and civil war,” al-Ahmar said, according to a statement from his office. Saudi Arabia is a key player in Yemen, and has pressed Saleh in the past to negotiate a settlement to Yemen’s political turmoil.
Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis, inspired by uprisings elsewhere in the Mideast, have been protesting daily since late January demanding the ouster of Saleh, who has ruled Yemen for nearly 33 years. Their campaign has been largely peaceful, but fighting erupted in Sanaa between Saleh loyalists and fighters from al-Ahmar’s powerful tribal confederation, the Hashid, after troops moved to attack al-Ahmar’s residence.
The fighting has tapered off since Saleh left for Saudi Arabia, and vice president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, became acting president following Saleh’s departure.
The opposition on Tuesday accused Saleh’s inner circle and family of hindering the opposition’s dialogue with Hadi.
“Saleh’s sons are not helpful in solving the problem and they don’t help the acting president to exercise his constitutional powers,” opposition spokesman Abdullah Oubal said.
Yemen’s opposition parties have sought to persuade Hadi and Saleh’s ruling party to join them in a transitional leadership that would effectively shut out Saleh, who has resisted tremendous pressure at home and abroad to step down.
The president’s son Ahmed, who commands the country’s best trained military forces, the Republican Guard, and is the main force maintaining his father’s grip on power, opposes such discussions.
Saleh’s close aide and adviser, Abdul-Karim al-Iryani, arrived Tuesday in Riyadh for talks with Saleh who requested the meeting. A leading member of the ruling party, commenting on reports that Saleh and al-Iryani were discussing a transfer of power, said he expected “very important decisions” to come out after the meeting.
He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
The United States fears that Yemen’s power vacuum will give even freer rein to al-Qaida’s branch in Yemen, which Washington believes is the terror network’s most active franchise. Already, Islamic militants — some suspected of ties to al-Qaida — have taken control of at least two areas in the restive southern province of Abyan.
Late Monday and early Tuesday, government warplanes bombed suspected militant hideouts in Abyan, killing at least 22 al-Qaida-linked fighters, a defense ministry official said on condition of anonymity in line with ministry regulations.
More Related Stories
- Here come the tornado truthers. Already
- Peace Corps to allow gay couples to volunteer together
- Moore officials: Funds for "safe rooms" were held up by red tape
- Rand Paul: Congress should apologize to Apple, not the other way around
- Rescue crews race to find tornado survivors
- Looting in Oklahoma?
- Hundreds of low-wage federally contracted workers strike in D.C.
- Okla. mother's tearful reunion with her 8-year-old son
- New campaign compares gun control to anti-LGBT discrimination
- Study: Salt Lake City is gay parenting capital of the U.S.
- Inhofe and Coburn: Red state hypocrites
- Teen activist to meet with Abercrombie CEO
- Watch: Family emerges from storm shelter after tornado
- Must-see morning clip: Barackalypse Now
- Okla. tornado survivor reunited with dog trapped in rubble live on camera
- Is Pope Francis an exorcist?
- Oklahoma death count confirmed at 24, 9 children
- Frantic parents search for children in tornado's wake
- Crews dig through rubble after deadly tornado
- 51 killed in massive Oklahoma tornado
- Don't cry climate-change wolf
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11