Armies of Liberation

Jane Novak's blog about Yemen

Saleh’s forces attack Sadiq al Ahmar’s home, many updates incl Hashid tribesmen flood in to Sanaa, JMP at house, timeline

Filed under: Sana'a, Security Forces, Transition, Tribes, Yemen, political violence, protest statements, reconfigurations — by Jane Novak at 8:22 am on Monday, May 23, 2011

Last update: Tribal mediation succeeded in ending the clashes. Saleh’s mediators were Sanhan Sheikh, Ahmad abu Horia and the Ghalib Al-Qamish, the head of the Political Security.

al Sahwa reports that heavy clashes using a variety of weapons have been raging in the vicinity of Sheikh Sadeq al-Ahmar’s house in Hasaba, Sana’a between Saleh’s militia, Republican Guards, Central Security and Sadeq’s guards for at least 2 hours as of 9:30am EST. Sadiq is paramount sheik of the Hasid tribal confederation, and in theory is Saleh’s sheik since Abdullah al Ahmar died. Update: the sides were CF and RG vs. Sadiq guards (Hashid tribesmen) and some military forces from Ali Mohsen al Ahmar.

Yemen Post reports 18 dead: Clashes started at 1pm local time when armed gunmen backed by central security forces attacked the residence of Yemen’s powerful Hashid tribe leader, Sheikh Sadeq Abdullah Ahmar eyewitnesses said. At least 100 gunmen have been shooting directly at the residence for hours now…

Headquarters for Yemenia airways in Sana’a caught on fire after tens of armed gunmen shot directly at the building, eyewitnesses said. In addition, tens of live bullets are being shot at Saba News Agency and dozens of employees are surrounded inside the building…Eyewitnesses and confirmed sources said that Ahmar tribes have seized the Commerce and trade Ministry building in Sana’a.

I believe the SABA building and likely Yemenia are being used by the CS to shoot from, which is why they are being shot at; its not an attack on the state media per se. Its going on for more than four hours already.

Updates: -Saleh attacked with the Najda (Emergency Police) as well as elements of Central Security and Republican Guards and hired mercenaries. – RPGs fired at Interior Ministry. -Salehs forces withdrew but its not fully over. -Injured includes a child - Video here -YPost: Hashed tribes seize the ruling GPC headquarters in Sana’a and Ministry of Trade and Commerce & 600 armed Ahmar tribesmen -road to the US embassy still blocked by armed GPC members

Timeline from a friend:

Republican Guard(RG) & CSF units attacked sh.Sadeq’s house at 1:12pm local time at the time leaders from the JMP were inside the house, sh. Sadeq was not.
at 3:00 pm the entire area was secured by sh.Sadeq’s men
the Al-Saeeda Airlines building fifth floor was in flames.
the RG are sending reinforcements to secure the ministry of interior which is now in flames.
At 5:00pm the Sh’s men have secured the building of the GPC head quarters, Ministry of trade, Saba news agency and were advancing towards the ministry of telecommunication.
at 5:30pm bombardment using Doshka, Tanks, and cannons are heard in the area.
sh. Hameed Al-Ahmer moved the past couple of days from his house in Hadda to the same house.
Sh. Sadeq issued the “Tribal Call” which in effect calls every tribesmen to join him in defending his honor, attacking one’s house is a great dishonor in tribal law.
at 6:30pm new clashed erupted at the entrance to Sanaa at the Azreqaen point as thousands of tribesmen are answering the tribal call are flooding towards Sanaa.

Both sides are a mix of military/security, tribesmen and militia. As long as the state does not attack in Saada, maybe this can wind itself down. There are thousands of troops on the Marib/ al Jawf border, last estimate was over 10,000, eight brigades if that makes sense, maybe divisions. Update: the troops are still in the same locations along the border and road to Sanaa where they have been for more than two months. Fierce clashes are continuing in al Jawf though

Saleh has been storing weapons in schools and government buildings for a week supposedly (including possibly the Ramah girls school). Beyond the military stocks, the state has confiscated a quarter of a million weapons over the last two years in furtherance of the weapons ban. It was never likely he destroyed all of them. I figured he’s resell them; I hope he doesn’t have them stockpiled. The reports of distributing weapons to thugs and GPC members have been consistent and are further augmented by many leaked documents that indicate a nationwide strategy under the direction of the interior ministry.

Update an English round up from AP:

SANAA, Yemen
— The violence erupted outside the Sanaa home of Sheik Sadeq al-Ahmar, leader of Yemen’s largest tribe, the Hashid. Saleh himself belongs the tribe, but al-Ahmar announced in March that the Hashid were joining the popular uprising against the president.

The spark of the fighting was unclear. Some witnesses said security forces had been setting up roadblocks between al-Ahmar’s walled residential compound and the nearby Interior Ministry, and that tribesmen saw it as a provocation.

Tribesmen and security forces battled in the streets surrounding the ministry, trading fire with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades. Smoke was seen rising from the ministry building. Tribal fighters took over buildings belonging the nearby Industry Ministry as well, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

Hundreds of Hashid fighters were moving in from outside Sanaa to al-Ahmar’s house to protect it, a tribal offical said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

A Yemeni journalist was injured by flying shrapnel that hit the nearby headquarters of the state news agency Saba, and dozens of other journalists took refuge in the building’s basement, according to the head of the Journalists Syndicate, Marawan Damag. He said the crossfire made it impossible to take the wounded man to the hospital.

Eyewitnesses told the “Sahwa net” that Republican Guard forces arrived to al Hasaba area to reinforce Saleh’s forces which are trying to break into the vicinity of the house Sheikh Sadiq Alahamr.

And violent clashes have been raging this afternoon between the Sheikh and Republican Guards and the Central Security after the last attempt to storm the vicinity of the house of Sheikh Aal Ahamar in al Hasaba area.

The witnesses that the parties have clashed light and medium weapons, which resulted in casualties on both sides and passing without knowing the number of casualties so fr.

This comes hours after SALEH threats of civil war in the event of the Yemeni people continued to demand his departure.

There were reports a week ago talking about SAEH arming his thugs and storage of weapons in schools and government buildings in preparation to blow up the situation in the country.



Comment by seeyal2002

5/23/2011 @ 9:43 am

Looks like the war has just begun.


Comment by seeyal2002

5/23/2011 @ 9:53 am


إضافة 11: قبائل حاشد تحاصر مقر اللجنة الدائمة للحزب الحاكم وتغلق أبوابها
Hashid tribe besieging the ruling part’s site and closing its doors.

إضافة 10: شهود عيان: ارتفاع سحابة كثيفة من الدخان فوق وزارة الداخلية
Eye witnesses: A dense cloud of smoke rising over the ministry of interior.


Comment by Jane Novak

5/23/2011 @ 10:50 am

thanks much, i’ll find, if they opened a second front or retaliated in a different area, its very important and it could keep spiraling.


Comment by EncompassedRunner

5/23/2011 @ 3:59 pm

Just a thank you for this blog & those who contribute in any way (tips, etc), very helpful.


Comment by Jane Novak

5/23/2011 @ 5:09 pm

I get a lot of help from the ground in a variety of ways.


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