Saleh Returns

Andrew Sullivan —  Sep 29 2011 @ 7:36am

The Yemeni dictator, who had been convalescing in Saudi Arabia, has reemerged to assault his subjects into submission. Bruce Riedel despairs:

Ali Abdallah Saleh’s return to Sana takes Yemen to the brink of civil war.

Chaos on the Arabian Peninsula’s southern tip is dangerous for the Saudis and America and good news for al Qaeda. Saleh has licked his wounds in Saudi Arabia since he survived an assassination attempt in June. Now he’s back. His sons and relatives have held on to parts of the capital and elements of the Army, waiting for this moment of return. Rival warlords have seized other parts of both the country and the Army, and peaceful demonstrators have grabbed other slices of the capital and the country. The economy has collapsed. Unemployment is now more than 40 percent. Division Gen. Ali Muhsen al-Ahmar, the rebel commander of the First Armored, and Saleh’s oldest son, Ahmed, who commands the Republican Guard, now are poised to start a full-scale civil war. Both are well armed.

Charles Schmitz is equally gloomy. Gregory Johnsen tries desperately to develop a strategy that could stave off the worst.