Yemen Crisis Situation Reports: Update 45

July 29, 2011

Yemen’s military is increasingly engaged in fighting opposition tribesmen, creating the conditions for broader armed conflict in the country.

Tensions are high in Yemen’s capital. Defected Yemeni military forces have deployed armored vehicles and troops to protect protestors in Tagheer (Change) Square in Sana’a. Tens of thousands of Yemenis demonstrated against the regime in the streets.

Fighting north of Sana’a is ongoing. Tribesmen attacked a Yemeni military base in Arhab district of Sana’a. At least forty people have been killed in the clashes.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) military commander Qasim al Raymi threatened the Saudi ruling family in a statement produced by AQAP’s media arm, al Malahem foundation. He focused on the mistreatment of women in Saudi prisons, but warned that AQAP’s “fight with the Jews and Christians will not occupy us from you.” Raymi challenged Saudi religious scholars to debate him on whether the Saudi rulers were apostates. The focus on Saudi Arabia is a shift for Raymi, who has focused more on the U.S. and Yemen.

A resolution to the political crisis in the capital will not end the fragmentation of the Yemeni state, which remains at risk of a broader armed conflict. The current situation has increased al Qaeda's operating space in Yemen.

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