Saudi Paper: Saleh Won’t Return to Yemen Over US Pressure

Still unclear what made the dictator change his mind

He may have been released from the hospital yesterday, but Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh will not be returning to his country, “US sources” say.

Saudi paper Asharq al-Awsat reports Saleh has backed down under US pressure and could remain in Saudi Arabia, where he has been receiving treatment for wounds received in a missile attack on the presidential palace in Sanaa. He is reportedly staying in a Saudi government residence while he recuperates.

The United States is on record asking its longtime ally to step down as protests and insurgencies rage across the small country. The US continues to fund his government, but wants a new head of state in Maj. Gen. Abd al-Rab Mansur al-Hadi. Saleh has rejected several deals to step down that woule be favorable to him; it’s not clear what sort of extra pressure the US might have exerted to make him finally change his mind.

Saleh’s absence has seen his military lose ground to “al-Qaeda fighters” and protests continue to rage. Even if he returns, there may not be much left for him to rule but the capital city.

Author: Jeremy Sapienza

Jeremy Sapienza is Senior Editor at