Yemen edges towards civil war as military and tribes rebel (+ analysis); Japan PM survives no-confidence vote, but promises to go; US Republicans demand plan for spending cuts; Drug Commission calls time on 'war on drugs'; and more
Top of the Agenda: Clashes Spread Across Yemen
Clashes between the Yemeni regime and prominent tribal forces continued in the capital of Sanaa today, as the country marches closer to outright civil war (al-Jazeera). Violence also persisted in the southern city of Taiz, where over fifty people have died since the weekend, and the coastal town of Zinjibar, where the forces of President Ali Abdullah Saleh have pounded a suspected al-Qaeda insurrection. The Obama administration has dispatched top counterterrorism official John Brennan to Saudi Arabia and the UAE in order to increase pressure on Saleh to sign a Gulf-brokered transition agreement--which he has balked at three times already. The United States and its allies in the region fear the chaos in Yemen could spill over into its neighbors and threaten strategic oil supply lines (Reuters).
In Sanaa, tribal leaders claim hundreds more fighters are mobilizing in order to support chief Sheikh Sadeq al-Ahmar--leader of the influential Hashid tribal federation (BBC). Fresh conflict has concentrated in the city's northern Hassaba neighborhood, where government and tribal fighters battle over strategic buildings. Saleh reportedly deployed US-trained Yemeni counterterrorism forces (WSJ) to engage opposition troops commanded by General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar--the country's most prominent military defector. US officials have warned Saleh not to use US-trained forces or weapons against protestors, a contingency that might force Washington to cut aid to the Yemeni regime.
In the CTC Sentinel, Christopher Boucek and Mara Revkin outline the political, economic, and security factors fueling the ongoing violence in Yemen.
This editorial from ArabNews.com discusses the crisis in Yemen and the political intransigence of President Saleh.
In this article for the Huffington Post, Robert Barret discussed the unfolding conflict in Yemen, the role of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and the threat of Yemen becoming the "next Afghanistan."
This CFR issue guide provides a range of background and analysis on the protests in Syria, Egypt, Libya, and on US policy in the region.
This Reuters timeline lays out the progression of events in the ongoing Yemen political crisis.
PACIFIC RIM: Japan PM Survives No-Confidence Vote
Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan survived a vote of no-confidence (WSJ) today, but only after stating his willingness to leave office in the near future to satisfy critics in his party. Kan said he would step down after dealing with the earthquake and tsunami reconstruction efforts.
On her CFR blog Asia Unbound, Sheila A. Smith discusses the politics surrounding the surrounding the vote of no-confidence against Prime Minister Kan.
China: Beijing rejected claims that China was behind a cyberattack (Guardian) that stole the Gmail login credentials for hundreds of senior US and South Korean government officials as well as Chinese dissidents. Google announced it could not be sure of the attack's perpetrators, but said it had traced much of the hacking to a Chinese province suspected of espionage activity.
Foreign governments, non-state actors, and criminal networks are targeting the digital networks of the United States with increasing frequency and sophistication. US cybersecurity has made progress, but relies heavily on the private sector to secure infrastructure critical to national security.