Yemen’s military attacked groups they say are linked with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in the southwest and with tribal fighters across much of the rest of the nation, as thousands of protesters returned to the streets of Sanaa to demand the creation of an interim council.
The council would replace Major General Hadi, the interim ruler of the nation since President Saleh fled this weekend. It would set the stage for free democratic elections in a nation virtually torn apart by protests and crackdowns.
This sounds like a plan, even though US officials have made it clear they prefer Maj. Gen. Hadi to retain power in the near term. The regime, however, is still insisting that Saleh will eventually return to power.
But Saleh’s “minor injuries” from Friday are now reported to be extremely serious, with 40% of his body burned. Officials say that it will take months for him to recover, and a near term return seems to be out of the question. Though Maj. Gen. Hadi seems willing to keep his seat warm for him for the time being, months of protest, a brief civil war and several embarrassing “signing ceremonies” for a power transfer that never happened appear to give Saleh little chance of being welcomed back.