Yemeni Opposition Forms ‘National Council’

Council Aims to Unite Separatists, Defectors, Tribesmen

In a move angrily condemned by Saleh regime spokesmen as “a declaration of war,” key opposition leaders across a number of factions today announced the formation of a National Council, aimed at choosing a replacement government.

The National Council includes 143 members, including figures from the pro-democracy protests, tribal sheiks, defectors from the military, and members of the southern secessionist movement.

The government insists the National Council will not be recognized, and that it will only “prolong the stalemate.” At the same time, President Ali Abdullah Saleh continues to insist he will soon return to the nation from exile in neighboring Saudi Arabia.

Exactly how broad the new council goes remains to be seen, but it does not appear that it includes members of the Ansar al-Sharia, the Islamist faction which controls much of the southwest. Likewise, it is unclear if the Houthi secessionist movement in the far north has representation. This suggests the nation will remain split.

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.