May 22, 2011

US Ambassador trapped by pro-regime mob in Yemen, Updated: UAE and US embassies besieged

Update last: diplomats rescued by helicopter. Does anybody on earth still believe Saleh has the capacity or the will to carry out a 2 month transition plan?

Original post: Today Yemen's President Saleh was scheduled to sign a pact outlining a 60 day transition period for his resignation. It was unlikely he would sign and likely he would at the last minute reject the deal, as he had done twice before. Saleh started complaining about some detail a few hours ago. The six member Gulf Cooperation Council's (GCC) Secretary General Abdul Latif Al Zayani, who was mediating, set a deadline for Saleh to sign, which passed at 9am EST. Then a large mob of gun toting loyalists (ruling party members) surrounded the UAE embassy, where the US and EU ambassadors and Zayani are, preventing them from leaving.

If Saleh knows whats good for him, he better call off the mobs at the embassy. He's really playing with fire. The thugs are not a deniable proxy, we all know where they came from. For more see my site. I'll update here also. US State Dept called the siege "a government organized event," and they are so right.

Check this post at the Trench for a thorough overview of events leading up to this debacle. The streets are swarming with pro-regime armed thugs pulling people out of taxis and such, and the internet is getting flaky which is always a bad sign. Its going to be a long night.

Updates: News Yemen is reporting crowds of pro-regime thugs are growing at the US embassy as well, and blocking the roads throughout the capital. Article below, as is AJE article on the siege at the UAE's embassy.

Council of Revolutionary Youth (the anti-government protesters) strongly condemned the siege and describe it as a new ploy by Saleh. The GCC is holding a meeting shortly. There's gunfire in the streets (not at the embassies.) Nearly 200 were killed and 15000 injured in the last 105 days of the uprising. Unconfirmed reports of helicopters flying in to rescue the ambassadors and al Zayani.

Saleh's ruling party, the GPC, confirms that Saleh won't sign the deal even after the international mediator is released from captivity. No action (water cannons, tear gas) by security to disburse the mobs like they use on the anti-regime protesters.

AJE Gunmen claiming to be loyal to President Ali Abdallah Saleh of Yemen laid siege Sunday afternoon to the embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Sana’a, trapping the ambassadors of the United States and of the six members states of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

The envoys had gathered to witness the signing by Mr. Saleh a historic GCC-negotiated pact under which he would end 33 years of authoritarian rule by leaving office within 30 days, with full immunity assured.

It was unclear if violence was involved in the siege of the UAE embassy. The six members of the GCC are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Earlier on Sunday, in a clear escalation in the Yemeni situation, thousands of Saleh loyalists took to the streets Sunday morning in what seemed to be a new obstacle to the reconciliation process.

They blocked many major roads in many cities across the country, according to Al Arabiya’s correspondent Hamoud Mnasar, in protest at the GCC initiative which is due to be supposedly signed by Mr. Saleh himself today.

NewsYemen: Eyewitnesses told "NewsYemen" The supporters of the ruling party have erected a tent in front of the U.S. embassy in Sana'a and cut the road in front of citizens. With still gunmen from the ruling party surrounding... the UAE embassy in Sanaa, where resides the Secretary General of Gulf Cooperation Council Abdul Latif Al Zayani and a number of ambassadors of EU and U.S. Ambassador in Sanaa. The supporters of SALEH to cut off a number of major roads in Sana'a, a rejection of the president's signature on the initiative by Gulf states to step down. Since the morning, cut off main streets in the capital, especially through the airport and Tahrir Square and the road to the Republican Palace, in addition to other major streets.
By Jane at 09:06 AM | Comments |