2011-08-13 Protests around the world


  • The Local Co-ordination Committees say 7-8 people have been killed across Syria so far today: 4 in Homs, 1 in Hama, 1 in Daraya and 1 or 2 in Latakia. Shooting continues.
  • This video reportedly shows Bashar al Assad’s picture taken down and destroyed at Syrian Airlines international sites.
  • Friday’s death toll is being reported as 23.
  • This video shows a funeral in Douma, where five people, including a young woman, were reported killed by government forces on Friday. The crowd is being estimated at “tens of thousands” by Al Jazeera.
  • Thousands are still being arrested.
  • Tanks entered Lataika and heavy artillery was being reported there.
  • Turkey isn’t ruling out international intervention in Syria if the Bashar al-Assad regime doesn’t stop using violence against its own people, a Turkish official told the Hürriyet Daily News on Friday.


Israel: 25,000 assemble in Haifa, 20,000 people fill Rager Boulevard in Be’er Sheva, in Afula, some 15,000 people gather, more than 1,500 people march down the city’s main street in Eilat. Haaretz reports. It was the first time in nearly a month that Tel Aviv did not hold a march. Thousands of protesters took to the streets in other cities throughout Israel, with 8,000 demonstrating in Modi’in, 7,000 in Netanya, 5,000 in Petah Tikva, 3,500 in Hod Hasharon, 2,500 in Ramat Hasharon, 2,000 in Rosh Pina, 1,500 in Rishon Letzion, 1,500 in Eilat, 1,500 in Dimona and 1,500 in Nahariya.

Yemen: Hundreds of thousands protested in Sana, and at least 17 other cities and towns,the largest turnout since President Ali Abdullah Saleh left a hospital in Saudi Arabia, where he was recovering from wounds suffered in a June attack on his palace compound, and signaled he intends to return home soon.

South Korea: Continuing the labour protests related to the mass layoffs at Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction, the 4th Hope Riders, a festival in which people around the country ride down to the Youngdo shipyard to show solidarity and support to the crane protester Kim Jinsuk, launches in Seoul on the 27th August. The protest of Kim Jinsukenters its 219th day.

United States: Anonymous has a message for the people of San Francisco. “The Bay Area Rapid Transit has made the conscious decision of ordering various cell phone companies to terminate services for the downtown area inhibiting those in the area from using cell phones – even in the case of an emergency.” They are organizing a peaceful protest at Civic Center station on Monday, August 15th at 5pm. They are calling for non-violence and requesting that people bring and use cameras. They are requesting that people outside of San Francisco, show solidarity by using black fax, email bombs, and phone calls to the BART Board of Directors. Tomorrow, Sunday – August 14, 2011 at High Noon Pacific Time we, Anonymous – will remove from the internet the web site of BART located at www.bart.gov for exactly six hours. That’s twice as long as they shut off the cell phones for. BART decided to cut off your communications and now we will flood theirs. Follow #OpBart on Twitter.

US Day of Rage is posting video guidelines for non-violent civil disobedience in the leadup to their September 17 protests.

Chile: In response to the ongoing student led protests for free and equal education in Chile, Government spokesman Andres Chadwick says Chile “is not going to be governed from the street.” Students have been marching for over two months and are asking for a referendum.

China: Thousands of people in Qianxi County, Guizhou province smashed ten vehicles and torched another five, said Xinhua, China’s state news agency. According to Reuters, “China saw almost 90,000 such “mass incidents” of riots, protests, mass petitions and other acts of unrest in 2009, according to a 2011 study by two scholars from Nankai University in north China. Some estimates go even higher.” “In fact, China has riots more serious than England’s every week,” said one Weibo comment.

Egypt: Brief clashes between protesters and security broke out in an otherwise peaceful demonstration in Cairo’s Tahrir Square where a few hundred people gathered on Friday to protest the continuing military rule.

2011-02-15 Yemen protests turn violent

Yemen protests started in mid January with a self immolation and the arrest and release of Yemeni activist Tawakel Karman, and they have not really stopped since. A Day of Rage was organized for February 3 but tens of thousands were in the streets on January 27 as well as many smaller protests, throughout the time period. The last five days have seen a huge increase in the numbers in the streets, as well as the violence directed at them. According toHuman Rights Watch, president Ali Abdallah Saleh’s security forces have attacked demonstrators, activists, lawyers, and journalists in Yemen capital city Sanaa without justification. An estimated 3000 people protested from Sana’a University, clashing with police and pro-Saleh demonstators using batons, rocks, and occasionally knives. Today in Taiz, over 2500 people are refusing to leave and are forming committees and buying tents to continue occupying their protests grounds.

The videos below show the current size and emotion of some of the protests.

January 27, 2011

February 14, 2011

February 15, 2011

February 15, 2011 in Taiz

What Al Jazeera keeps calling “huge concessions” given by president Saleh that he would not run again in 2013, may actually have just been an agreement already reached between Saleh and the US as indicated by a US state cable. They are, in any case, simply a repeat of promises made and broken in 2006 when instead of resigning he asked for an amendment to the constitution to allow him to be appointed for life. None of the “concessions” seem to be placating the protestors. The US, which contributed over $150 million in military aid to Yemen in 2010, announced yesterday, during the fourth day of vicious attacks on demonstrators by Saleh’s security forces, that they would be spending US$75 million to double the size of a “special Yemeni counter-terrorism unit”. This is in addition to US$120 million for Yemen in Obama’s 2012 budget request on Monday. In 2006, the US gave only US$5 million to Yemen and in 2009, US$67 million. The special relationship between Saleh and the US as depicted in the US state cables has been explored on WL Central herehere and here. Journalist Abdul Ilah Shayi who revealed the US military attack that killed 55 civilians is alsodiscussed along with Obama’s interference in his release.

2011-02-12 Obama overrules Amnesty International & President of Yemen, Journalist remains imprisoned


Protesters in south Yemen called for the secession of the once independent south today. Security forces were out early in the day with tanks and police to force protesters back inside. Scores of protesters were moved off of the streets of Aden, but dozens managed to get out in Crater, Khor Maksar, and Al-Mansura, and several hundred people in Zinjibar. Police in Al-Masura, fired warning shots and tear gas. Some reports say thousands of protesters were out in all provinces.

As WL Central reported on February 1, President Ali Abdullah Saleh had announced that he would step down after his second presidential term expires in 2013. Subsequent cables released by Wikileaks indicate that may have been more of a prearranged concession to the US than to the protesters. Cable 05SANAA1790 from June 2005 says regarding Saleh, “Domestically, however, he has run-out of reforms he can implement at no political cost to himself. Increasingly anxious about upcoming Presidential elections, and already preoccupied with succession, it is unlikely Saleh will allow a viable opposition candidate to challenge him in 2006. The visit is an opportunity to pressure Saleh not to amend the constitution so he may run again in 2013 by praising him for bringing Yemen to the point where he can rely on the system in place to produce a legitimate successor. The inducement here might be a public show of support via a greater role in public fora such as the G-8.”

Abdul Ilah Shayi

WL Central also reviewed a report on January 19 of a Yemeni journalist jailed after alleging US involvement in missile attack. Abdul Ilah Shayi had accused the US of being involved in an attack on the community of al-Ma’jalah in the Abyan area, southern Yemen, which took place on 17 December 2009 and killed 55 people, including 14 women and 21 children. Shayi had written articles accusing the US government of involvement and had been interviewed by Al Jazeera. He was sentenced on January 18 to five years in prison by the Specialized Criminal Court in the capital Sana’a, for his purported links to al-Qa’ida. His acquaintance, Abdul Kareem al-Shami, was jailed for two years on similar charges. He “appears to have been targeted for his work uncovering information on US complicity in attacks in the country,”Amnesty International has said.

As Yemen Times reports, President Saleh issued a decree of pardon to Shayi, as part of the concessions he was offering to protesters. But on February 2, according to a statement from the White House, US President Barack Obama expressed his ‘concern’ over the proposed release and the promised release has since been ignored.

Lawyer and activist Khaled Al-Anesi told the Yemen Times that there were suspicions from the beginning that the US wanted him jailed and it was an American demand to arrest him. “This American interference insures that Yemen’s dealing with terrorism is run by the US. If they wanted to release him they would have released him immediately straight after the pardon was announced. This is a sign that they don’t want to set him free.”

Hamoud Hazza’a from the Committee to Protect Journalists said if Shayi is not released soon it will confirm that “the Yemeni government has no power in the country and they are only a follower of the US. We only want to make sure they release him, although the way he was arrested was wrong, the trial was wrong and the way he is being pardoned is also wrong.” The fact that the US president can cancel a Yemen judge’s verdict shows that the judicial system in Yemen is not independent and that the US president controls everything, according to Hazza’a. “The US and the NGO’s supported by the US are taking a negative stand against Shaye’ as he exposed what happened in Al-Ma’jala.”

“This is an internal issue and we don’t care what Obama or anyone else has to say. This is a gift from the President and we should respect our internal affairs,” Sinan Al-Ajji, a member of the Yemen ruling party, told the Yemen Times.

As shown in cable 09SANAA2251 the government of Yemen was lying to the Yemeni people and claiming responsibility themselves for attacks on the people which were carried out by the US. The cable complains that Saleh “appears not overly concerned about unauthorized leaks regarding the U.S. role and negative media attention to civilian deaths.”

Cable 04SANAA3023 documents Saleh casually agreeing to keep 28 people imprisoned that were meant to be released in 2004 under a Ramadan amnesty “based on US government objections”. Saleh told the US Ambassador that the 28 were arrested under suspicion of al-Qaeda membership, having returned to Yemen from Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan, but that after investigation there was no evidence they were involved in terrorist acts. “We are waiting for information from you,” said Saleh. Despite being offered no indication of guilt from the US, Saleh agreed to continue imprisoning the 28 people, deemed a violation of the country’s constitution by a Yemeni parliamentary report, and asked in return, “Where is the money for the Army? And what about my spare [F-5] parts?” The Yemen government received USD 155 million in US military aid last year.


2011-02-02 A Revolution Calendar





Map via @Houeida Anouar




WL Central Coverage


Tunisia December 15:


2011-02-01 Tunisian Islamic Leader Returns as EU Freezes Ousted President’s Assets
2011-01-27 Tunisia protests continue as a warrant is issued for Ben Ali
2011-01-24 Tunisia today: “It’s not a unity government, it’s a fake unity government”
2011-01-21 Ben Ali has used Europe’s prejudices
2011-01-19 Unrest in Arab States [Update 1]
2011-01-18 Reaction to Tunisia’s new government
2011-01-18 Ahmed Hashem El-Sayed dies in Alexandria hospital from self-immolation wounds
2011-01-17: Comments on the new national government formed in Tunisia
2011-01-17 Tunisia’s new government
2011-01-17 Slim Amamou named Tunisia’s Secretary of Youth and Sports
2011-01-15 What the US state cables on Tunisia said
2011-01-14 Tunisia: Ben Ali Out, Mohamed Ghannouchi Out
2011-01-04: Nonoperational Site Update: Wrath of Anon in Tunisia


Egypt January 25:


2011-02-03 Marietje Schaake on the situation in Tunisia and Egypt
2011-02-03 Act Now to Stop Mubarak’s Thugs From Killing More!
2011-02-02 Pro-Mubarak Forces and Police Thugs Attack Journalists 
2011-02-02 Food Crisis in Egypt
2011-02-01 WikiLeaks Cables Show Mubarak Not Very Open to Reforms or Freedoms for Egyptians [UPDATE: 4]
2011-02-01 Army Vows Not to Shoot as Protesters make Million Man Marches in Cairo, Alexandria Today [UPDATE: 2]
2011-01-31 Egypt’s Military jockeys to maintain Longstanding Grip on Power
2011-01-31 Cable: Egyptian April 6 activist’s democracy goals “highly unrealistic”
2011-01-30 Million Egyptian Protest Planned as Resistance Continues
2011-01-30 Egyptian government orders Al Jazeera shutdown
2011-01-30 Al Jazeera no longer welcome in Egypt
2011-01-30 Arab Totalitarians want Tech for National Security Emergencies
2011-01-29 Who is Egypt’s new Vice President?
2011-01-29 Mubarak swears in new PM and VP as unrest persists
2011-01-29 No Internet? No Problem! Anonymous Faxes Egypt
2011-01-28 Cable: Egypt displeased with number and tone of U.S. human rights recommendations
2011-01-28 Cable: The Amir of Qatar discusses Syria, Egypt, and Iran
2011-01-28 Cable: Political arrests of Muslim Brotherhood
2011-01-28 Cable: Egypt’s Emergency Law
2011-01-28 Mubarak refuses to step down
2011-01-28 Cable: Police torture in Egypt
2011-01-28 Cable: Police brutality and poor prison conditions in Egypt
2011-01-28 Cable: Assessing support for Mohammed El Baradei
2011-01-28 Cable: Mubarak discusses Iran and a “split” within Arab ranks
2011-02-28 Cable: Torture and police brutality in Egypt are endemic and widespread
2011-01-28 Cable: President Mubarak in Washington
2011-01-28 Egypt is on fire
2011-01-28 Cable: Qatar on the Israeli-Palestine talks, Egypt and Iran
2011-01-28 Egypt Cables – New Releases [UPDATE 12]
2011-01-27 Mubarak blinks as Egyptian protests continue for third day
2011-01-26 Week of “rage” in Egypt sees casualties, global support [UPDATE 1]
2011-01-25 Revolution Day in Egypt
2011-01-19 Unrest in Arab States [Update 1]
2011-01-18 Ahmed Hashem El-Sayed dies in Alexandria hospital from self-immolation wounds
2011-01-17 Egyptian man sets himself on fire [UPDATE: 1]
2011-01-16 Protests in Egypt


Sudan January 30:


2011-02-01 Sudan Struggles to Protest
2011-01-31 Protests in Sudan
2011-01-31 Student in Sudan protests killed by police


Yemen February 3:


2011-02-01 Yemen’s Day of Rage and Abdul Ilah Shayi
2011-01-29 Yemen: Day of Rage on February 3
2011-01-27 Tens of thousands rally in Yemen, demand change
2011-01-23 Middle East protest round-up: Yemen, Jordan, Algeria
2011-01-19 Self-immolation protest spreads to Yemen


Syria February 5:


2011-01-31 US state cables on Syria
2011-01-31 Syria: Day of Rage on February 5
2011-01-28 Cable: The Amir of Qatar discusses Syria, Egypt, and Iran
2011-01-28 Cable: Mubarak discusses Iran and a “split” within Arab ranks
2011-01-28 Cable: Qatar on the Israeli-Palestine talks, Egypt and Iran
2011-01-24 Self-immolation “infection” spreads to Syria 
2011-01-16 Syria, Jordan and Algeria Respond to Protest Threat


Algeria February 12:


2011-01-27 Algerians plan big protest rally for February 9
2011-01-23 Middle East protest round-up: Yemen, Jordan, Algeria
2011-01-19 Unrest in Arab States [Update 1]
2011-01-16 Syria, Jordan and Algeria Respond to Protest Threat
2011-01-16 Protests in Algeria


Bahrain February 14:


Libya February 17:


2011-01-31 Cables: Libya threatened to seize assets of Petro-Canada
2011-01-27 Libya is in revolt as Gaddafi worries 
2011-01-19 Unrest in Arab States [Update 1]
2011-01-16 Early reports of unrest in Libya [UPDATE 1]


2011-02-01 Jordan’s King Sacks Government as Protests Grow
2011-01-28 In Jordan Thousands Demand New Government
2011-01-23 Middle East protest round-up: Yemen, Jordan, Algeria
2011-01-16 Syria, Jordan and Algeria Respond to Protest Threat
2011-01-01 Wikileaks in the Jordan Media – Arabic Cable Translations


Saudi Arabia
2011-02-02 Will Saudi Arabia protest?
2011-01-28 Cable: Mubarak discusses Iran and a “split” within Arab ranks
2011-01-19 Unrest in Arab States [Update 1]
2011-01-02 Saudi Arabia Regulates internet publishing



2011-02-01 Yemen’s Day of Rage and Abdul Ilah Shayi

The Interior Ministry of Yemen issued a statement on its website outlining extra security measures it has taken in preparation for Yemen’s Day of Rage on February 3. Security forces have been reinforced around Sanaa, the capital, and transportation routes into major cities have security checkpoints added for ‘wanted suspects’ or firearms. The opposition parties have called for a million protesters march in emulation of Egypt’s current demonstrations and asked for members and other supporters outside the capital to join. Around 15,000 protesters marched in Sanaa last Thursday.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh announced last week on state TV that he would step down after his second presidential term expires in 2013. He is to address an emergency meeting of the two chambers of the parliament, the House of Deputies and the Shura Council, tomorrow, one day before Yemen’s Day of Rage. He is to discuss “issues and developments of interest to the nation and citizens” according to the official Saba news agency.

WL Central discussed here President Saleh’s complicity with US attacks on Yemen that killed civilians, as detailed in the US state cables. Amnesty released a report on January 19 of a Yemeni journalist jailed after alleging US involvement in missile attack.

Abdul Ilah Shayi had accused the US of being involved in an attack on the community of al-Ma’jalah in the Abyan area, southern Yemen, which took place on 17 December 2009 and killed 55 people, including 14 women and 21 children. Shayi had written articles accusing the US government of involvement and had been interviewed by Al Jazeera. He was sentenced on January 18 to five years in prison by the Specialized Criminal Court in the capital Sana’a, for his purported links to al-Qa’ida. His acquaintance, Abdul Kareem al-Shami, was jailed for two years on similar charges.

He “appears to have been targeted for his work uncovering information on US complicity in attacks in the country,” Amnesty International has said. His lawyers and activists in Yemen say the charges were fabricated because of his journalism. “There are strong indications that the charges against ‘Abdul Ilah Shayi’ are trumped up and that he has been jailed solely for daring to speak out about US collaboration in a cluster munitions attack which took place in Yemen,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “If this is the case, Amnesty International would consider him a prisoner of conscience and call for his immediate and unconditional release.”

2011-01-29 Yemen: Day of Rage on February 3

On January 27 tens of thousands of people in Yemen took to the streets calling for an end to the government of Ali Abdullah Saleh, the president. Today, Al Jazeera reports dozens of activists clashing with government supporters in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen. They chanted “Ali, leave leave” and “Tunisia left, Egypt after it and Yemen in the coming future” outside the Egyptian embassy.

Tawakel Karman, who heads the Yemeni activist group Women Journalists Without Chains, and is also a member of the opposition Islamist party al-Islah, was arrested last week and charged with organizing unlicensed demonstrations without permission. She had been involved in organizing a protest last week of around 2,500 demonstrators who chanted “Oh, Ali, join your friend Ben Ali”, a message to the president of Yemen and in support of the departure of the president of Tunisia. Nearly half of Yemen’s population lives on less than $2 a day. There is poor access to proper sanitation, less than a tenth of the roads are paved, and tens of thousands have been displaced from their homes by conflict. The government is reported to be very corrupt.

Karman was released on January 24 with a commitment from her family that she will no longer offend public order and law. Today, after she said that a member of the security forces in civilian clothes tried to attack her with a dagger and a shoe, she stated, “We will continue until the fall of Ali Abdullah Saleh’s regime. We have the Southern Movement in the south, the (Shia) Huthi rebels in the north, and parliamentary opposition, all of which are calling for political change. But what’s most important now is the jasmine revolution.”

Karman called for Thursday, February 3 to be a “Day of rage” throughout Yemen. There have been almost daily protests in Yemen for the last two weeks, calling for the removal of Saleh from office. Parliament in Yemen is currently discussing a draft constitutional amendment which could allow Saleh to remain president for life.

In 2005, US state cable 05SANAA923 (only partially available) characterized the US relationship with Ali Abdallah Saleh.

Gentlemen, We’ve Got Him!

In a conference call with Ambassador and DCM, President Ali Abdallah Saleh informed us last night, Tuesday, April 12, that suspected terrorist Kanaan has been caught. Saleh began with, “You know this man Kanaan who has been threatening you and for whose sake you closed down your embassy? Well, we’ve caught him. In fact, we also arrested, two days ago, two of his top assistants.” Saleh went on to say that these arrests show the “seriousness and honesty” of his services and the political will at the top for full cooperation with “our friends the Americans.” You, on the other hand said Saleh, “don’t move on our requests.” Saleh reassured us that his cooperation and the cooperation of his “services” would continue no matter what.

Now, Where’s Our Stuff?

Saleh did not waste time for his usual quid-pro-quo tactics. “So, where’s my stuff? We have requested equipment and weapons for our CSF counter terrorism unit,” said Saleh. “We have suffered important and costly losses in Saada and we need your help. Please tell Washington that this is urgent.” “I respond to you immediately when you need something,” added Saleh, “and now, you must do the same for me.”

December 21, 2009

A cable from the end of 2009, 09SANAA2251 entitled ROYG LOOKS AHEAD FOLLOWING CT OPERATIONS, BUT PERHAPS NOT FAR ENOUGH, states that the Yemeni government “appears not overly concerned about unauthorized leaks regarding the U.S. role and negative media attention to civilian deaths.”

While the ROYG has touted the operation as a victory in terms of the number of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) members killed or captured, it hasn’t yet decided how, or even if, it should begin to modify its public messaging to address criticism over collateral damage, or the likelihood that the extent of U.S. involvement may become impossible to deny.

Saleh assured the US that he wants these operations against AQAP to continue “non-stop until we eradicate this disease.” … The Ambassador cautioned Alimi that the ROYG may need to nuance its position regarding U.S. involvement in the event more evidence surfaces, complicating its ability to adhere to the official line that ROYG forces conducted the operations independently.

The Governr of Abyan was given YR 20 million (approximatel USD 100,000) to disburse to the families of those killed or wounded in the strikes in Maajala, where the AQAP training camp was located. Alimi said that the civilians who died were largely nomadic, Bedouin families who lived in tents near the AQAP training camp and were assisting AQAP with logistical support. Alimi said they were poor people selling food and supplies to the terrorists, but were nonetheless acting in collusion with the terrorists and benefitting financially from AQAP’s presence in the area.

Given that local and international media will continue to look for evidence of a U.S. role in the December 17 strikes against AQAP, the ROYG must think seriously about its public posture and whether its strict adherence to assertions that the strikes were unilateral will undermine public support for legitimate and urgently needed CT operations, should evidence to the contrary surface. Thus far, the ROYG has deployed influential local leaders to the affected area in Abyan to explain the need for the strikes in an effort to quell potential unrest; however, it has not attempted to provide any context for the civilian casualties, which might help to counter overblown claims of ROYG disregard for the local population ) in this particular case, southerners.

December 28, 2009

On December 28 of 2009, US State cable 09SANAA2279 discusses President Saleh’s lack of support both within Yemen and within the circle of his closest advisers.

In the past month, President Saleh has told a number of his top advisors that continued direct Saudi involvement in the Houthi conflict will alleviate domestic political pressure on the ROYG to produce tangible gains against the Houthis, according to xxxxx with close personal ties to Saleh. Saleh also views continued Saudi involvement as the key to keeping the tap of Saudi budget support open (Saudi monetary support for ROYG military operations will be reported septel). The greater financial incentives attached to direct Saudi participation in the conflict mean Saleh now has an incentive to prolong the conflict rather than seek a mediated solution.

Like other Saleh watchers (REF C), xxxxx characterizes the multitude of threats facing Saleh as qualitatively different and more threatening to the regime’s stability than those during any other time in Yemen’s history. “Saleh is overwhelmed, exhausted by the war, and more and more intolerant of internal criticism. Saudi involvement comes at just the right time for him” xxxxx said. Largely unprecedented criticism of Saleh’s leadership within the rarified circle of Saleh’s closest advisors has increased in recent months, even including longtime Saleh loyalists such as Office of the Presidency aides xxxxx, according to xxxxx These names add to the growing chorus of Saleh loyalists that have shed their traditional aversion to disparaging the man they call “The Boss”.

Members of the Saudi Government’s Special Office for Yemen Affairs, a committee normally headed by Crown Prince Sultan, are privately skeptical of Saleh’s claims of Iranian involvement and of his desire to regionalize the Sa’ada conflict, according to xxxxx told EconOff on December 14 xxxxx that Saleh was providing false or exaggerated information on Iranian assistance to the Houthis in order to enlist direct Saudi involvement and regionalize the conflict. xxxxx said that xxxxx told him that “we know Saleh is lying about Iran, but there’s nothing we can do about it now.”

RIYADH COMMENT: We agree with xxxxx observation that Saudi support is enabling Saleh to weather increased domestic political pressure and continue his campaign against the Houthis. However, xxxxx assumption that King Abdullah’s “greater confidence” in Saleh is driving this support may be flawed. We have seen no evidence that the King has any particular regard for Saleh beyond exasperation that borders on disgust. Senior Saudi officials make no secret of their distaste for Saleh, but see him as the “devil they know.” Aware of his growing weakness, they view their support as essential to keeping Yemen’s problems contained. Further, contacts say Second Deputy PM and Minister of Interior Prince Nayif, widely believed to advocate a tougher approach to the Yemen problem, has been heavily involved in the Yemen file in Sultan’s absence. Some suggest that the border actions — while temporarily propping up Saleh — may be indicative of Saudi plans to take a harder line towards Yemen in the longer term.