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Yemen Update

3:38 PM, May 27, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Katherine Zimmerman, of the American Enterprise Institute's Critical Threats program, offers an update of what's going on in Yemen. "Heavy fighting between government forces and tribesmen outside of Yemen’s capital has broadened the conflict," Zimmerman finds. "Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has gained operating space as Yemeni security forces have pulled out of al Qaeda strongholds to protect the regime’s interests."

Yemeni air force fighter jets conducted air strikes on tribal targets in Nihm district north of Sana’a. Republican Guard soldiers reportedly attacked a village, provoking tribesmen to retaliate and to gain control of two Yemeni military compounds. Military helicopters with reinforcements tried to land nearby and tribesmen report that they captured two helicopters, along with a number of soldiers, and shot down a third. This is not the first timethe air force bombed Nihm; on May 10, government air raids killed four tribesmen.

Fighting in the capital has intensified, where Hashid tribesmen have been fighting the Yemeni security forces for five days. Security forces have closed the roads to prevent Hashid tribesmen from entering Sana’a. An estimated 10,000 Hashidi tribesmen have arrived in the capital since May 22. Hashid tribal leader Sheikh Sadiq al Ahmar announced that there is a ceasefire in Sana’a, but “if Ali Abdullah Saleh returned (to fighting) then we are ready.”

Whole thing here.

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