Violence is once again on the rise in northern Yemen, as at last 23 tribesmen were killed by troops just north of the capital city of Sanaa. The troops were members of the pro-Saleh “Republican Guard” which had installed a new checkpoint near the entrance to the city.
According to tribesmen from the area, the checkpoint was used to harrass members of tribes in the area, which a few months ago announced they were backing pro-democracy demonstrators’ call for Saleh’s ouster. After the harrassment, troops loyal to the tribes clashed with the military.
Violence in the north had mostly calmed down after Saleh fled the country in the wake of an assassination attempt. It seems to be on the rise again, and President Saleh’s vow earlier today to return “soon” is likely to make matters even worse.
When Saleh fled the country, Yemen was in a state of virtual civil war, with several factions carving off sections of the country from regime control. In the months since he left, a number of provinces have consolidated under the control of unrelated factions. Though Saleh seems to believe he can return to his position of unquestioned dictator, he is under intense pressure not just from protesters calling for free elections, but from the US, who seek a transfer to power to Major General Hadi, who they believe would be a more effective dictator.