Senior State Dept Official in Yemen for Emergency Talks With Regime

US Scrambles to Advise Saleh Govt as Nation Splinters

The Obama Administration has dispatched one of the top officials in the US State Department, Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman, to Yemen today for emergency talks with the Saleh government.

The talks come in the wake of a regime offensive which failed to retake the city of Zinjibar over the weekend and a major attack on a prison in al-Mukalla, which saw scores of al-Qaeda-linked militants escaping into the countryside.

They appear aimed at advising the Saleh government, which the US hopes will soon cast Saleh off in favor of Major General Hadi, as it struggles to retain control over an increasingly limited portion of Yemen’s territory.

The capital city is in a state of constant protest, while the rest of the nation is flying apart at the seams. Northern and south-eastern secessionist movements have both capitalized on the protests, and the Ansar al-Sharia, a comparatively minor group that took Zinjibar, is itself proving capable of withstanding the military’s attempts at recapture.

It seems unfathomable that the government, as currently composed, can simply reconquer the country, but the Obama Administration seems to be betting that some form of strongman government, with some nominal reforms and heavy support from the US, will eventually be able to centralize control over the nation.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of