Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, facing growing unrest among the nation’s Shi’ite population, has vowed to crush all sedition in the country and destroy all rebels, no matter what the cost domestically in doing so.
“They have pushed us to use force,” Saleh insisted. “We will buy all the new weapons needed instead of building schools; yes, we will build fortified military positions to uproot them from earth and hit them in their alleys. We will continue the operation.” He added that the days of dealing with the opposition “with responsibility and mercy” had come to an end.
Yemen was ruled by a Shi’ite monarchy for over a millenia, and since the North Yemen Civil War in the 1960’s the Shi’ite-majority north has seen very little economic development. Fighters from the region have become increasingly opposed to the government over what they claim is an inappropriate level of power given to the nation’s Wahhabist minority following Saudi aid in the 1990’s civil war in the nation’s south.
Yemen’s military insists it is making progress in reconquering the north, which has long seen little government presence, but the militant Houthi faction disputes the claim, insisting instead that it had repelled the invasion just hours after Saleh’s news conference.