The Yemeni government continues to face multiple challenges. Yemeni protestors question the legitimacy of the government. Armed tribesmen in the north and al Qaeda-linked militants in the south are actively contesting control of the government over territories.
Events in Libya have reinvigorated the Yemeni protest movement. Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis marched in the streets chanting slogans such as, “Oh Saleh, you will follow Qaddafi.” The Yemeni government responded by deploying thousands of troops into Sana’a’s streets. Local residents report that over 60 tanks, which had previously been at Republican Guard bases in neighboring Dhamar governorate, entered the area of the presidential palace in the capital. Checkpoints have been erected along major roadways in Yemen. Military planes flew over protests in Taiz and Ibb governorates and additional troops were deployed to al Janad district in Taiz.
A radical Islamist posted a video claiming to show a suicide bombing in Aden carried out by al Qaeda-linked militants, calling themselves Ansar al Sharia (Supporters of Islamic Law). Introductory text described the clip as showing a suicide bomber striking a Yemeni military convoy in Aden en route to Abyan governorate. The video appeared on the Shumukh al Islam web forum on August 20, but is undated. A suicide bomber struck a military convoy destined for Abyan in Aden on July 24. (Video obtained by SITE.)
Yemeni air raids in al Arqub in Abyan killed six al Qaeda-linked militants, according to a local official. Yemeni military forces attacked suspected al Qaeda positions in the area, which had been seized by militants on August 21. Tribesmen also report that a suspected suicide bomber died when his explosive-rigged motorcycle detonated prematurely in Lawder.
Gunmen opened fire on a car carrying the head of security of Dalea district in Lahij, General Ali al Bukhayti, on August 21. The shooters injured Bukhayti and his son.
Tribesmen in Arhab district to the northeast of Sana’a attacked military bases and seized weapons. The tribesmen damaged two tanks and took six Republican Guard soldiers captive. The Yemeni military responded by bombarding tribal positions.
Yemeni Prime Minister, Ali Muhammad Mujawar, announced that he will return to Yemen. Mujawar was injured in the June 3 attack on the presidential mosque and has been in Saudi Arabia receiving treatment. Monday, the speaker of the Shura Council, Abdul Aziz Abdul Ghani, died from his injuries.
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.