Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s ability to maintain his rule is in growing doubt Sunday, following the announcement that he is firing his entire cabinet. He has promised to form a new one.
The firings were a dramatic gesture, but he was only able to fire what was left of the cabinet. Several top ministers had already resigned, and anger over the violent Friday crackdown led to rumors that the entire cabinet was planning to resign en masse.
At least 46 people were killed on Friday in one of the biggest nationwide protests yet. President Saleh insisted that security forces weren’t responsible for any of it, but the witnesses tell a different tell, of special forces snipers attacking the crowd. Saleh also declared a state of emergency.
Though Saleh’s firing appeared to cement his near-term hold on the government, he has lost the support of a growing number of tribes, including today his own, which called on him to resign. With the tribes against him, his hold on government will not translate into a hold on the nation.