Massive protests across the nation have put the bullseye clearly on Yemen as the next Egypt-style revolution target in the region, but while today’s protests may not have been as big, they may be even more damaging to the pro-US dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh.
That is because today’s protests were not centered in the capital city, but rather across southern Yemen, where upwards of 3,000 protesters took to the streets demanding nothing short of full secession from the nation.
South Yemen was an independent nation from 1967 through 1990 as a Soviet backed communist state. After the fall of the Soviet Union the nation was incorporated into Saleh’s Northern Yemen, but increased anger over the region’s lack of economic development or political influence has fueled a growing secessionist movement, believing that a new South Yemen might take a crack at independence once again.
This could be a major problem for Saleh on a number of fronts, particularly because if the southern secessionist movement gains more currency there is an extremely good chance the secessionist movement in the Shi’ite dominated north around Saada could as well, leaving Saleh with just the region around the capital as his domain, and one where tens of thousands have been regularly meeting to call for his ouster,