OCTDECJAN
02
201020112013
78 captures
27 May 2011 - 11 Feb 2021
About this capture
MIDDLE EAST
26 May 2011 Last updated at 15:02 GMT
Poverty, al-Qaeda, tribal conflict: Yemen's problems
By Frank Gardner
BBC security correspondent
The capital Sanaa has seen intense fighting between tribal fighters and security forces in recent days
Yemen uprising
Q&A: Country in turmoil
Deadly game of elite brinkmanship
Key players
Goodbye Yemen?
Yemen matters, and sadly for mostly the wrong reasons.
With power slipping slowly away from President Ali Abdullah Saleh and armed clashes killing dozens of people since Monday, there are fears the country could disintegrate into a series of inter-tribal conflicts with repercussions throughout the region.
Yemen is already home to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a small but dangerous group that tried to blow up a US airliner over Detroit and which sent bombs on cargo planes bound for the US last year.
Until this spring, AQAP had been coming under mounting pressure from the government's counter-terrorism forces, backed and trained by the US and Britain, and air strikes by US unmanned aerial drones.
But with President Saleh having to battle for his own survival, the pressure is partly off al-Qaeda, which has been re-arming itself in the chaos.
Yemen's Gulf neighbours, the six Arab Gulf states that make up the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC), are deeply worried by the deteriorating crisis.
They fear the country's weak economy could collapse altogether which, coupled with an upsurge in fighting, could trigger a wave of refugees across the borders into Saudi Arabia and Oman.
The GCC, encouraged by Britain and the US, has made repeated attempts to get President Saleh to sign a handover deal that would see him step down in exchange for immunity from prosecution by the unity government that succeeds him. So far he has refused.
No Plan B
Yemen is beset with problems that go far beyond the leadership crisis or al-Qaeda.
The poorest country in the Arab world, its oil reserves are shrinking, and so is the capital's water table, prompting fears it could be the first world capital to run out of water.
Southern Yemen, which tried unsuccessfully to break away from the more powerful north in 1994, has an active separatist movement.
A long-running Shia insurrection in the far north has dragged in Saudi forces and, according to Yemen, has also led to meddling by Iran.
Unemployment is high, there are too many guns in private hands, and much of the adult population wastes precious income and most of their afternoons chewing the narcotic qat leaf. On top of this, Yemen is finding itself supporting thousands of Somali refugees.
International sympathy and attention focused briefly on Yemen during the London conference of January 2010, but much of the promised billions of dollars in aid has yet to reach the people who need it most.
The Arab world and the West would like to see a broad-based unity government take over followed by a reinvigoration of the economy, but there does not appear to be a Plan B for President Saleh refusing to hand over power.
More on This Story
Yemen uprising
Features & Analysis
Q&A: Country in turmoil
A Q&A on the political crisis in Yemen.
Deadly game of elite brinkmanship
Key players
Goodbye Yemen?
On the sidelines?
Saleh battles for better deal
Elites struggle for power
Tent city
Women's work
What Saleh's exit means for Yemen
Collapsing economy
Beginning of the end?
US policy dilemma
Guides
Profile: Ali Abdullah Saleh
Protests: Country by country
Timeline: Yemen
How revolutions happen
Around the web
BBC Arabic website
Yemen defence ministry news
Share this page
More Middle East stories
UN rights body to meet on Syria
The UN Human Rights Council is to hold an emergency session on Syria, after a report says security forces committed crimes against humanity.
EU agrees new sanctions on Iran
Saudis reject repression claims
Top Stories
Key Merkel speech on debt crisis
Suu Kyi hopeful on Burma progress
Anti-corruption group drops Fifa
US Senate passes Iran sanctions
Tibet 'in first monk immolation'
Features & Analysis
Out of the deep
The escape from a WWII sub that was doubted for decades
It's quiz time!
Meryl Streep's last Oscar was for which film?
Ready to rumble?
New Icelandic volcano eruption could have global impact
Mending Belgium
The man who may fill the government gap
Most Popular
Shared
Read
Escape from a WWII submarine
New Icelandic volcano eruption could have global impact
Anti-corruption group drops Fifa
Key Merkel speech on debt crisis
Clinton meeting Burma's Suu Kyi
Streep defends Thatcher portrayal
Quiz of the week's news
Tibet 'in first monk immolation'
US Senate passes Iran sanctions
Europe crisis 'threatens Africa'
Video/Audio
Elsewhere on BBC News
Giving a bit back
The entrepreneur and now multi-millionaire at the forefront of China's new-found philanthropic thinking
Programmes
HARDtalk
Why one of America's most influential investors is worried "as a parent" about the state of the economy
Services
News feeds
Mobile
Podcasts
Alerts
E-mail news
About BBC News
Editors' blog
BBC College of Journalism
News sources
World Service Trust
Mobile
About the BBC
BBC Help
Contact Us
Accessibility Help
Terms of Use
Careers
Privacy & Cookies
Advertise With Us
Ad Choices
BBC © 2011 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.
HomeUKAfricaAsiaEuropeLatin AmericaMid-EastUS & CanadaBusinessHealthSci/EnvironmentTechEntertainmentVideo
DeliciousDiggFacebookredditStumbleUponTwitterEmailPrint
NewsSportWeatherTravelTVRadioMore