Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Yemen heightens security as plot to attack Sana’a airport underway

By Abdul-Aziz Oudah

Yemen’s Interior Ministry has tightened security measures, deployed extra troops and armored vehicles across the capital Sana’a after field reports on Saturday revealed plans to attack Sana’a International Airport.

Security sources close to the Central Security said that hundreds of young anti-government protesters have undergone intensive training at al-Iman University this past week.

They were apparently trained by officers from the First Armored Brigade led by the defected General Ali Mushin al-Ahmar.

Sources said that the youth were instructed on Saturday night to occupy vital facilities such as Sana’a International Airport and the national TV corporation buildings. They also said that security was tightened around the targeted institutions with extra armored vehicles and security patrols.

Extra checkpoints leading to the airport were also deployed as a safeguard against any attempt to isolate Yemen from the outside world. Residents across Sana’a have also formed neighborhood security groups to combat the extension of new sit-in demonstration camps.

Many residents already gathered at the entrances of Shouob, Nogom and Bab al-Yemen during the night to prevent groups of sit-in demonstrators from camping in these areas. Residents said that this action followed attempts of some protestors to erect new camps in these areas.

U.S. diplomatic reports revealed that Hamed al-Ahmar, an Islah party leader, told an American official two years ago of a secret plan to overthrow President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The reports pointed out that Al-Ahmar had vowed to increase massive anti-government demonstrations. Foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have meanwhile met in Riyadh, capital city of Saudi Arabia, on Sunday.

President Saleh had on Friday rejected their initiative that calls for him to step down. Informed sources said that President Saleh had sent a delegation to Riyadh consisting of Abdulkarim al-Eriyani, his political advisor, and Ali al-Anisi who is head of the National Security, carrying a unilateral initiative signed by the president.

President Saleh’s initiative includes that he steps down and hands over his duties to Vice President Abdu Rabo Mansour Hadi while remaining in his post as a symbolic president of what he called a national sovereign state.

It also proposes that the Parliament and the Shura Council holds a meeting to issue a law that guarantees that President Saleh is not prosecuted. It also suggests forming a national unity government as well as setting a date for parliamentary elections.

A source close to the defected General al-Ahmar said that there are mediation efforts to orchestrate an agreement to save the Yemen from the current political crisis.

This source asked to remain anonymous and said in a telephone interview with a London-based Middle East newspaper that this agreement guarantees an honorable resignation for President Saleh to save the country from civil war.

The source declined to disclose further details of the new agreement and said that prominent Yemeni personalities endeavor to sign it within the next 24 or 48 hours.

Source: Yemen Observer

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