Sunday, June 05, 2011

Yemen's Saleh More Seriously Injured Than Previously Indicated

Considering that Yemen's Ali Abdullah Saleh was fighting to remain in power and was seriously injured in a rocket attack on his compound, it's little wonder that his regime has given out little information about the seriousness of his injuries.

Far from being the minor injuries that were initially indicated, it appears that his trip to Saudi Arabia for treatment was an admission that he was actually quite seriously injured. In fact, reports are indicating that he required neurosurgery to address his injuries. So, while his flacks are saying that he suffered only minor injuries, Western diplomatic sources are saying he was actually quite seriously injured:
Saleh flew to Saudi Arabia Saturday after the attack, leaving Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi in charge.

Yemeni ruling party spokesman Tareq Shami said Sunday that Saleh's health is "very good and this is an ordinary visit."

"Saleh is not sick and he will be back in Yemen soon," Shami said

Saleh was hurt in an attack on a mosque in his palace on Friday.

Government officials are now investigating whether the local branch of al Qaeda was behind the attack, after earlier blaming a rebel tribe.

Saleh flew to Saudi Arabia Saturday, a source close to the Saudi government told CNN.

He was immediately taken to a nearby hospital after his plane landed in Riyadh.

Saleh's medical condition is worse than originally thought,the Saudi source said.

Hadi took over Saleh's responsibilities as president Saturday, Yemeni government spokesman Abdu Ganadi said.

Saleh's flight came after months of unrest in his poor Middle Eastern country, a key battleground in the fight against al Qaeda.

Street battles broke out in the capital Sanaa in recent days between government forces and fighters of the powerful Hashed tribe.

Yemeni security forces on Friday pounded the home of Sadeq al-Ahmar, the Hashed tribal leader whose supporters were first suspected of being behind the attack on the presidential palace.

The flurry of shelling left 10 people dead and 35 others wounded, according to Fawzi Al-Jaradi, an official with Hamil al-Ahmar, a Hashed tribal confederation led by Sadeq al-Ahmar.

Demonstrators have demanded Saleh's ouster for months, and fighting between Yemeni government forces and Hashed tribesemen has spiked considerably in recent weeks.
Rebel groups have laid siege to a second presidential compound, and there's little sign that the two sides can find a peaceful solution. Add to the fact that there are rumblings that the palace attack was carried out by an al Qaeda affiliate shows just how unstable the situation is and how easily al Qaeda could take advantage of the situation.

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