Saleh Returns With All His Power

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has returned to Yemen from Saudi Arabia where he had spent month recovering from injuries from a bombing of his residence in June. Despite the lack of media attention, Yemen has been increasingly violent with clashes between anti-government protesters on the one hand and pro-government Saleh supporters and armed security forces on the other. Scores of people have died, shot at by the US supported military and security forces, just in the last few days as Saleh calls for a ceasefire upon his return.

The US has been placing tacit support behind Saleh’s vice president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, the man who has basically ruled Yemen with an iron fist since Saleh left for Saudi Arabia. Presumably, the US and the Gulf states are still backing the same sort of deal Saleh has rejected three times, for him to step down. I would speculate that the US is happy to see him go, especially if it will mitigate the roiling population, and replace him with someone like Hadi, someone they can rely upon to respond to bribes of US aid to acquiesce in the drone war the US plans to ramp up in Yemen in the near future. The Gulf states, Saudi Arabia especially, have their own reasons. But the US money still flows to Yemen and support continues, with who knows how many more of these.

So that ‘transition’ does not seem likely to happen in the near future. Saleh is back and making the same sorts of routine promises dictators love to make while they wait for turmoil to boil over. That’s a sign of a comfortably dominant regime.