President Saleh leaves Yemen as opposition celebrate and truce holds (+ analysis); China promises peaces in South China Sea; Drones kill 18 militants in Pakistan borders; New Peru president promises more equality but makes markets nervous; and more
Top of the Agenda: An Uncertain Future in Yemen
In the capital of Sanaa, a fragile truce seems to be holding between the embattled Yemeni regime (al-Jazeera) and anti-government forces backed by powerful tribal groups. The respite comes after two weeks of pitched battles that have threatened civil war, and as President Ali Abdullah Saleh recovers from medical treatment in neighboring Saudi Arabia from wounds he received when his compound was struck last week.
It remains unclear if Saleh will return, though government sources claim he will be back in Yemen in a matter of days. The country's main opposition alliance is already celebrating the political transition and says it will accept a transfer of authority (BBC) to Vice President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. Failing this outcome, the opposition "Joint Meeting Parties" said it is prepared to form a "transitional council" in concert with the "youth of the revolution."
US officials stated there is no evidence to suggest Saleh will not return to Yemen (WSJ), and encouraged the country to transfer power through the confines of its constitution. Throughout the months of protest and escalating conflict, Washington has harbored fears that a power vacuum could embolden al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
The Guardian reports the United States and UK are urging Saudi Arabia to press Saleh to step down in exchange for immunity from prosecution and guarantees about his financial future. Analysts claim the Saudi government may have run out of patience with Saleh's chaotic and manipulative rule.
Yemen could be edging toward civil war, particularly if the military gets involved in both sides of the conflict, says Yemen expert Gregory Johnsen, but the United States has limited ability to influence the outcome in a country that has been an ally in fighting terrorism.
In this article for the Atlantic, J. Dana Stuster writes that before Saleh was injured on Friday, he had successfully fractured the opposition and begun a violent conflict that continues without him.
This editorial for the Independent discusses the lingering potential of civil war in Yemen despite the recent departure of Saleh.
PACIFIC RIM: Pressure Grows for Kan Resignation
Opposition groups continue to press for the rapid departure of Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan despite his winning a no-confidence vote (FT). Renewed infighting among Kan's own ruling Democratic Party added to the potential for an earlier resignation than previously assumed.
On her CFR blog Asia Unbound, Sheila A. Smith discusses the politics surrounding the Kan's recent narrow defeat of a vote of no-confidence.
China: China's official pledge to maintain peace in the South China Sea (Bloomberg) did not alleviate the fears of its neighbors, including Vietnam and the Philippines, which claim Beijing continues to harass oil, gas, and fishing vessels in the busy shipping lanes. Over the weekend, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates encouraged China and others in the region to agree to a maritime code of conduct.