Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh has made it clear, through his spokesmen that he intends to return to Yemen after he completes his medical treatment in Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) continues to intensify its attacks against security forces, and have had 63 of its alleged operatives escape from the Mukalla prison. Opposition figures have accused government forces of aiding the escape of the AQAP prisoners.
In the meanwhile, tribal forces opposed to Saleh have continued to attack oil pipelines in the Marib province. This has led to Yemen’s oil production dropping by almost half.
June 16-29, 2011
Analysis and Forecast: Increasing Risk
The fact that Saleh remains defiant is a strong indication that the Saudis are still unable to find an appropriate successor. As predicted by Political Capital, the longer the situation takes to resolve, the more difficult it will be to return to normality. The lack of a central government has led to AQAP making concrete steps in having a stronger grip. The most dangerous element is that AQAP have essentially become political players in the scene, as the pro-Saleh and opposition groups exchange accusations of aiding them, in an attempt to win the support of the West. However, the main beneficiary of this appears to be AQAP, and the latest prison escape is testimony to their increasing power.
The ongoing troubles and the blowing up of the pipelines have resulted in halving the oil exports the country makes. With oil providing over 70 percent of the government’s income, this represents a major blow to the economy of the country. Although the survival of the country will need substantial additional foreign aid after the crisis, this will only further exacerbate the economic woes the country is facing.
The figure below shows the approximate GDP make-up of Yemen prior to the start of the uprising.