Another day of violent crackdowns on Thursday left scores of additional wounded protesters across Yemen. The protests have expanded across much of the country, and have been met with harsh action particularly in the more rural provinces.
The crackdowns on dissent in rural provinces is business as usual for the Saleh government, but also extremely dangerous. That is because in these provinces the tribes are incredibly powerful, and when tribesmen are killed in protests, these tribes lash out.
Indeed many of the tribes have joined the protest movement now, and more seem to be coming aboard all the time. Though the Saleh regime has largely been content to ignore the size of the protests, incidents like the one earlier this week in Jawf Province, where tribesmen killed four soldiers in retaliation for a protest shooting, threaten to become all the more common as the crackdowns grow.
For the government, the protest movement is just the latest in a growing number of problems. Between secessionist movements in the north and south, the al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and now a growing number of tribes on board for the protests, Saleh’s influence appears to be waning.