INDEX (stories follow)
- NATO Strikes Hit Tripoli
- Alleged Libyan Rape Victim Deported From Qatar
- Clashes Continue in Yemeni Capital
- 23 Civilians Reported Dead in Syria Gov’t Attacks
- Exiled Syrian Opposition Calls for Assad Departure
- E. Coli Strain Could Be Deadliest; Bacterium Would Be Legal in U.S.
- U.S. to Probe Hacking of Email Accounts
- Pentagon: Cyber-Attacks Could Constitute Act of War
- Panel: “War on Drugs” a Failure
- Civil Rights Groups Challenge Georgia Anti-Immigrant Law
- Ex-Black Panther, Political Prisoner Geronimo Pratt Dies at 63
The Yemeni press says that most shops in the capital were closed out of fear of insecurity and lack of electricity. Gold and silver shops had hidden their merchandise, and where they opened (not only in Sanaa but also in some other cities), their shelves were empty and they were only taking orders. Used car dealerships also appear to have warehoused their cars, and their lots are empty.
Some small crowds of joyous protesters had braved the otherwise deserted streets of Sanaa and other cities on Sunday morning. The protesters, most from the youth movement that has spearheaded the attempt to overthrow Saleh’s regime, chanted “Liberty, liberty, this is the festival of liberty!” and “A New Yemen!” and “The Regime has fallen!”
Yemen is the poorest of 22 Arab League states, and sits astride the mouth of the Red Sea, through which about ten percent of world trade flows. Its port of Aden is also important to Arabian Sea trade. Yemeni instability that spilled over onto neighboring Saudi Arabia could have a significant impact on petroleum prices. A small al-Qaeda cell operates in Yemen, and Muslim radicals are said to have taken advantage of the instability to take control of the small city of Zinjibar, where 10 Yemeni troops were killed on Sunday.
Saleh had been wounded by shrapnel on Friday in a rocket attack on the mosque in his presidential palace where he was praying. Several of Saleh’s officials, including the prime minister, have also fled to Saudi Arabia.
Initial reports had claimed that Saleh’s wounds were light. Aljazeera points out that if they were in fact been light, he could have been treated in Saleh; his flight to Saudi Arabia must in that case have been political rather than medical. If the wounds were more serious than admitted, forcing him genuinely to seek the better facilities in Riyadh, then likely he would take some time to recuperate. (Some reports speak of burns to his face and chest). Since Yemen cannot afford to be without a leader in these tumultuous times, likely Saleh will be replaced before he can return.
In order to avoid being seen to take sides, the Saudis also offered medical treatment to injured members of the opposition al-Ahmar clan.
Saleh left his vice president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, in charge, and the latter met with the US ambassador and top Yemeni military officials late Saturday. The regime maintains that Saleh will return in a few days, but many Yemenis are convinced that his rule is now over. If Saleh does not return within 60 days, according to the constitution, there must be new elections.
Hadi’s grip on power is likely insecure, and rebel forces are speaking of setting up a transitional council that would presumably include the ten-tribe coalition of Islah Party leader Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar, who emerged in the past two months as Saleh’s major rival.
In the major southwestern city of Taizz, an armed group attacked the local presidential palace. The guerrillas organized themselves, they say, to avenge the deliberate killing of protesters by Saleh’s security forces. Some reports say 4 were killed in Taizz fighting on Sunday.
In the major southern port city of Aden, security forces withdrew from checkpoints.
Aljazeera English has a video report:
Here’s a simpler way to do it. Google around and find out what comes to Europe and the US through the Red Sea and the Suez Canal.
Then imagine trying to live without it, or with 10% less of it.
Eurovision reports on Saleh’s near death experience.
And here for an interview with a Yemeni opposition leaders:
Seymour Hersh on the Arab Spring, “Disaster” U.S. Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the Looming Crisis in Iraq
Seymour Hersh: Despite Intelligence Rejecting Iran as Nuclear Threat, U.S. Could Be Headed for Iraq Redux
In his latest article for the New Yorker magazine, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh says the United States might attack Iran based on distorted estimates of Iran’s nuclear and military threat – just like it did with Saddam Hussein’s government in Iraq. Hersh reveals that despite using Iranian informants and cutting edge surveillance technology, U.S. officials have been unable to find decisive evidence that Iran has been moving enriched uranium to an underground weapon-making center.
An Iraqi government source said Hussein al-Uzri, president and chairman of the state-owned Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI), had fled to Lebanon. He did not answer calls to his mobile phone.”
Authorities in Tunisia have recovered some 150 bodies of more than 250 African migrants who went missing after their over-crowded boat capsized in the Mediterranean earlier this week, the International Organization for Migration said in Geneva on June 4. The migrants were reportedly on their way to the Italian island of Lampedusafrom Libya when their vessel ran aground and capsized some 19 nautical miles off Tunisia’s Kerkennah islands. Survivors say there were more than 800 people on board when the accident occurred. Tunisia’s coast guard and army managed to rescue about 570 from the ill-fated vessel. (RTT, June 3)
Somalia’s Sufi group, the Ahlu Sunna Waljama (ASWJ), on June 2 announced it is boycotting a “consultative meeting” with the transitional government in Mogadishu next week. In an interview with Somalia’s independent Shabelle Media Network, Sheikh Omar Sheikh Abdulkadir, a spokesman for the group, said they would not attend the meeting because they were not invited, and predicted it would be fruitless. The consultative meeting is intended to broker peace among Somalia’s political and regional factions. Thousands of families have been displaced in recent weeks of fighting between the Ahlu Sunna and the fundamentalist Shabab insurgents in the central Galgadud region (see map). Dusamareb, the regional capital, has changed hands repeatedly in the fighting, prompting an exodus of the town’s residents. Drought conditions in the countryside have worsened the plight of the displaced.
NATO has for the first time used attack helicopters in Libya, striking military vehicles, military equipment and forces backing embattled leader Muammar Gaddafi, the military alliance has announced.
“Attack helicopters under NATO command were used for the first time on 4 June 2011 in military operations over Libya as part of Operation Unified Protector,” NATO said in a statement on Saturday.
“The targets struck included military vehicles, military equipment and fielded forces” of the Gaddafi regime, said the statement, without detailing exactly where the strikes had taken place.
“This successful engagement demonstrates the unique capabilities brought to bear by attack helicopters,” Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard, commander in chief of the NATO mission in Libya, said.