After sustaining serious burns from a bomb planted in the presidential palace, Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh remains in Saudi Arabia receiving medical treatment. “Officials insist that the president…will return to reassume the post he has held for 32 years. But how long that may take is uncertain. In the interim, an elite power struggle could profoundly shape the future of Yemen.” In the country’s capital of Sanaa, citizens insist they are glad to be rid of Saleh but remark that they cannot find water or fuel. Facing serious political instability, Yemen’s economy is already on the brink of collapse.
What’s the Big Idea?
Who will fill the political vacuum in Yemen and what will the consequences be for the Yemeni people, the Middle East and the U.S.? “Since coming to power in 1978, Saleh has spent blood and treasure to placate his rivals. But now they have coalesced around the youth protesters, presenting a more unified challenge.” And as America continues its bombing campaign against suspected terrorist installations in Yemen, officials wonder if Al Qaeda will benefit from a lack of authority throughout the country. Despite Yemen’s backward social and economic systems, President Saleh had cooperated with the U.S. on strikes against suspected terrorists.