A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Situation in Yemen Deteriorating

The violence in Yemen seems to be spiraling to new levels. President Salih is seeking to arrest Hashid tribal leader Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar, on charges of waging armed rebellion; while the US is ordering out nonessential diplomatic staff.

The dangers of a descent into civil war in Yemen are fairly obvious: there are multiple fracture lines (North/South, Sunni/Zaydi, and multiple tribal and regional centers of gravity) along which the society could divide. I keep thinking the situation is at a tipping point, but it seems to just keep tipping.

I'm not sure that Yemen counts as part of "Arab Spring," anymore. None of the sides are chanting \Salmiyya, Salmiyya as the police advance, but perhaps that's inevitable in one of the world's most heavily armed populations.

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