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Yemen: Game Over for Ali Abdullah Saleh?

Categories: Middle East & North Africa, Yemen, Governance, Politics, Protest

This post is part of our special coverage Yemen Protests 2011 [1].

March 18 was the bloodiest day [2] since the beginning of the uprising in Yemen, almost two months ago. Ali Abdullah Saleh called several times for the security forces to protect both pro and anti-government protestors. However, on the ground none of this happened. Indeed, on Friday, armed loyalists to the Yemeni President and security forces opened fire on peaceful protestors at Sana’a University killing at least 46 and injuring dozens. The attack which was intended to bring an end to a series of protests sweeping the country, has increased the compassion with and the support for the protestors.


Protests in Sana'a on March, the 16 photo by Afrah Nasser

On Monday, Ali Muhsen, a high official in the Yemeni army declared his support for “for the peaceful revolution of the young people and their demands.”
Nasser Arrabyee, a Yemeni journalist based in Yemen writes: [4]

The military commander of the northern region, Ali Muhsen, declared his support Monday for the peaceful revolution against the 33-year rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The step came after the general Muhsen’s army (armored division1) was deployed around the sit-in camps nearby the university from Sunday 20 March 2011.

He adds:

The step is a turning point in the anti-Saleh protests.

General Mussen, one of the President Saleh's relatives , is considered the second most influential military commander after Saleh.

Ali Muhsen's move might be considered as an indication that the army might take the side of the demonstrators and stand against Ali Abdullah Saleh.
A Yemeni activist (@yemen4change) [5] tweets:

@RAHB1980 [6]as of now, I believe the army has split, but with many resignations, possibility the rest of the army will join in matter of days

Later on Monday, the step of Ali Muhsen was followed by a massive wave of resignations by Yemeni officials, ambassadors, military Generals and members of Parliament..

Suhail TV tweets [7]:

نعتذر عن عدم قدرتنا مواكبة جميع الإستقالات المتواليه من الحزب الحاكم ومن القاده العسكريين ومن المشائخ والشخصيات لكثرتها #yemen [8] #suhail [9]

We apologize for not being able to cover all the consecutive resignations from the ruling party by military leaders, Sheikhs and personalities because of its large number

It also reports [10]:

سفراء اليمن في كل من الكويت والصين وسوريا والأردن واليابان والسعوديه وباكستان وغيرها ينضمون لثورة الشعب والشباب #yemen #suhail #sanaa #yf

The Yemeni ambassadors to Kuwait, China, Syria, Jordan, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and others have joined the revolution of the people and youth

Tom Finn tweets [11]:

They're falling like flies in #Yemen [12], 2 military generals, deputy parliament speaker, ambassador to Japan all defect form the regime

Yahya Al-Saryhi, published on (G.C.Y) جيل التغيير اليمني [13] a list [14] of all those who have stepped down so far and declared their support for the revolution. Hameer Al-Ahmer, the Vice President of the Chamber of Deputies, the Yemeni ambassador to Czech Republic, Head of the Yemeni Television, and Governor of Aden are on this long list.
The series of resignations are regarded as a hint for the near end of the 33-year regime of Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Ben Wedeman tweets: [15]

Teetering, about to fall: Ali Abdallah Saleh of #Yemen [12]

Wsaqaf tweets [16]:

History in the making in #Yemen [12] with army leaders joining demonstrators. #Saleh [17] expected to resign or flee

This post is part of our special coverage Yemen Protests 2011 [1].