Analysis: Can President Saleh Ever Fully Have Control of Yemen Again?
By IBTimes Staff Reporter | August 17, 2011
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said in a televised address that he will soon return to his country, which is currently in the midst of severe anti-government protesting. Saleh is recovering in Saudi Arabia after a June 3 assassination attempt.
See you soon in Sanaa," the Yemeni leader said in the speech delivered to loyalists Tuesday.
Saleh also spoke to the youth of Yemen, telling them not to be fooled by opposition leaders, who he claims are agents of Muslim extremists and Marxists.
"We will meet your needs and we are ready to address them with a sense of national responsibility," Saleh said.
"But those narrow-minded people who have hateful tribal culture have seized your project. This is not your culture; you have grown up against the backdrop of the revolution, republic and the Yemeni unity. But this culture is inherited from ancient eras."
On the same day as the address was aired, around 26 people were killed in clashes between local tribes and government forces. In the Arhab district, about 25 miles from Sanaa, the Republican Guard bombed villages, killing at least 17 women and children and nine fighters, according to CNN.
Throughout June and July there were rumors that Saleh would return to the country he has ruled for 33 years, but as tribal groups and other parties with ties to the government gradually abandon the leader, the chance he will actually return is increasingly slim.
In a direct message to Saleh, the United States has urged the President not to return home. Facing intense resistance on his home soil, in May, Saleh agreed to step down in exchange for immunity from prosecution. Yet, after surrender documents were drafted, Saleh refused to sign them, sparking street battles in the capital city.
He is now saying that he will hold general elections, but not until next year. So far, demonstrators are not satisfied and are demanding an immediate regime change and governmental reform.
Saleh has been in power in Yemen for 33 years. He still has a number of supporters in Yemen, but many of his allies have joined the anti-government movement. During his rule, Saleh often used internal conflict as a means to secure power, but rival groups -- such as Islamic militants and Socialist rebels -- are united in their displeasure with the President.
He was elected President in 1994, four years after the unification of North and South Yemen in 1990.