Sunday, September 21, 2014

Yemen: Update--Capital of Sana'a Falls to Shiite Rebels, Government Collapses, Steps Aside

According to AFP, Shiite rebels seized the Yemeni government headquarters on Sunday (September 21) as Prime Minister Mohamed Basindawa steps down, accusing of President Abdrabuh of being an "autocrat" in what has tragically become another failed state.

The takeover of the capital followed days of fighting by the masses.
State news agency Saba reported Basindawa's resignation, but without giving the reason.
Mohammed Abdulsalam, spokesman for the Ansarullah rebels, also known as Huthis, confirmed on his Facebook page that the seat of government had been seized.
Earlier, shelling and gunfire north of the capital was heard across the city, as Sunni militiamen and troops battled the rebels, prompting an exodus of terrified residents, an AFP correspondent reported.
A week of fighting has left dozen of people dead on both sides and forced the suspension of all flights into and out of the capital, which is now a battle zone.View gallery
The violence came despite UN envoy Jamal Benomar announcing late on Saturday (September 20) that a deal had been reached after "intense consultations with all the political parties, including Ansarullah."
Forces allied to the government have been battling to halt the rebels, who swept into the capital from their mountain stronghold in the far north last month and set up armed protest camps across the capital to force their demands on the status quo. 

COMMENT: Needless to say, much of the increasing turmoil and unrest in the world that continues to occur is an unintended consequence of a US President Barack Obama failing to be a full-time president focused on foreign affairs first and foremost.

US presidents unfortunately don't get to choose the world they must reckon with, although that seemingly would be President Obama's first choice. 

Rightly or wrongly, the world looks to Washington for leadership. When the president is an absentee landlord or spends much of his time playing golf, chaos invariably reigns. 

Much of the adversity that is occurring on a global scale may not necessarily be President Obama's fault, although he undoubtedly will be blamed for a world turned upside-down.

The rebels have also demanded decision-making posts in key state institutions as part of having greater political influence.
April Longley Alley, a Yemen specialist with the International Crisis Group, told AFP before the latest developments that the rebels were demanding a bigger role in Yemeni politics.
"The Huthis want to be powerful decision makers at the national level with a share equal to, or possibly more than, their main political rivals Islah," she said of the powerful Sunni Reform Party whose supporters are fighting alongside the army.

Fighting north of the capital has been waging since Thursday (September 18) when nearly 40 people were killed in a single day.
The city's streets were largely deserted as shops remained closed and the education ministry ordered schools to suspend indefinitely.
Sana'a University told students to stay away until mid-October after its campus was hit by shellfire.
Yemen has been swept by political unrest since long-term strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh was forced from the presidency in early 2012.
Al-Qaeda loyalists have taken advantage of the political turmoil in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula state to launch persistent attacks on the security forces.
The rebels hail from the Zaidi Shiite community, a minority in the mostly Sunni nation. 
Also known as Huthis after the name of their leading family, they have battled the government on and off for a decade from their stronghold of Saada in the far north.

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