Yemeni Troops, Tribesmen Clash in Capital

Gunbattles Reported in Northern Portion of Capital

The focus in Yemen over the past few weeks has been on the restive southwest, with troops desperately, and unsuccessfully attempting to wrest control over the Abyei Province from the Ansar al-Sharia.

Yet Yemen is divided over many more lines than just this one, and one of the most pressing clashes, between the Saleh regime and the pro-protester tribal movement in the north, appears to have resumed today with gunbattles reported in the northern districts of the capital city.

The tribesmen loyal to Sheikh Sadeq al-Ahmar were once supporters of Saleh, but in the face of violence against protesters are now demanding his ouster. They had quieted down in June after Saleh narrowly survived an assassination attempt and fled to Saudi Arabia. The apparent lack of progress in reform since Saleh’s departure has them back on the streets however, and has the military again trying to fight demands for reform with bullets.

The exact details of today’s fights are still unclear, including how many casualties there were and what sparked the gunbattle. The Yemeni government declined to even call it a clash, saying it came when the tribes attacked a checkpoint. Anti-government protesters are continuing nationwide, however, the one constant in Yemen over the past several months.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.