Yemen Celebrates as Saleh Flees for Treatment, But Will He Be Back?

June 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Jason Ditz

2011-06-08T105203Z_1808189574_GM1E7681GKE01_RTRMADP_3_YEMEN

Workers fix an electricity cable damaged during recent clashes between police and tribesmen loyal to the tribal leader Sadiq al-Ahmar in Sanaa June 8, 2011.

REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

Yemen erupted in celebration today over the news that long-time dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh had fled to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment. Saleh’s compound was attacked on Friday, and despite claims he only sustained “minor” injuries he needed surgery.

For protesters this was the culmination of months of rallies demanding Saleh’s ouster and free elections. In the interim Major General Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi would be serving as president, but it seemed a big victory.

But the Saleh government certainly doesn’t see things that way, and despite rushing Saleh to Saudi Arabia for surgery, they still see him as the head of state on little more than an unplanned vacation.

The protesters clearly don’t want him back, and are promising to do everything they can to prevent his return. Still, the apparent ouster of Saleh isn’t nearly so straightforward as it seems on the surface, and it is unclear if the situation will be resolved in any obvious manner soon.

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At Least 23 Golan Protesters Killed, 350 Wounded as Israeli Troops Opens Fire

June 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Jason Ditz

Israeli soldiers attacked protesters along the Syrian border with the occupied Golan Heights today, killing at least 23 protesters and wounding some 350 others. The protesters were marching to commemorate the 44th anniversary of the 1967 invasion of Golan.

The US State Department claimed to be “deeply troubled” by the protest march, and said that Israel had a right “like any sovereign nation” to defend itself by shooting protesters. Israeli opposition figures slammed “trigger-happy” soldiers for the large number of casualties.

Israel conquered the Golan Heights in 1967, along with the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula. Though Israel eventually returned the Sinai (with caveats) to Egypt, and simply walled in Gaza, they have ruled out leaving either Golan or the West Bank.

It is the second time in less than a month that Israeli troops have attacked and killed large numbers of protesters along their northern border. In mid-May troops killed some 20 protesters commemorating Nakba, the expulsion of Palestinians from Israeli territory. The commemoration is illegal in Israel.

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