Yemen hangs in the balance; CIA chief pledges “continued operations”

Rival rallies were held in Yemen’s capital Sanaa on Friday June 10, as supporters and opponents of President Ali Abdullah Saleh gathered by the thousands just a few kilometers away from each other. Loyalists converged at Sabbeen Square to celebrate the news that Yemen’s president was out of intensive care in Riyadh after treatment for bomb blast wounds. Opponents demanding that Saleh turn power over to a civilian transitional council simultaneoulsy converged on University Square—the symbolic heart of the protest movement, which has been renamed “Change Square” by the demonstrators who amass there each Friday. (Middle East Online, AlJazeera, RFE/RL, June 10) The previous day, fighting between Saleh-loyalist troops and tribesmen who have thrown in their lot with the protest movement in the southern city of Taez left seven dead. (Middle East Online, June 9) In Washington meanwhile, CIA director Leon Panetta said that the US has not halted cooperation with the embattled Yemeni regime. “While obviously it’s a scary and uncertain situation, with regards to counterterrorism we’re still very much continuing our operations,” Panetta told the Senate Armed Services Committee. (Middle East Online, June 10)

See our last posts on Yemen and the Arab Spring.

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