US ready to abandon Salih

The United States has quietly shifted its position regarding the embattled Yemeni president, Ali Abdullah Salih, and has concluded that he must be eased out out office, according to a report in the New York Times which is attributed to unnamed American and Yemeni officials.

The paper says that while American officials have not publicly pressed Salih to go, "they have told allies that they now view his hold on office as untenable".

Until now (as I wrote here last month), the US has been fearful of what might follow if Salih is forced out of office. However, it now seems to accept that the conflict between president and protesters "has had a direct adverse impact on the security situation". 

The situation worsened last week when it appeared that Saleh was actually encouraging chaos in a transparent attempt to show that the country still needed him.

Meanwhile, the opposition parties have come up with a five-point plan for a transition of power.

There was more violence on Sunday in Ta'izz, where as many as 10 people are reported dead. Trouble was also reported in Hodeidaearly on Monday.

Posted by Brian Whitaker, 4 April 2011