86 captures
19 Sep 2011 - 25 Jan 2021
About this capture
19 September 2011 Last updated at 15:01 GMT
Yemen unrest: A deadly game of elite brinkmanship
By Ginny Hill
Chatham House
Hundreds have been killed in clashes since protests against the rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh began in February
Yemen uprising
Q&A: Country in turmoil
Key players
Goodbye Yemen?
On the sidelines?
When the ripple effect of the Arab Spring spread to Yemen earlier this year, it sparked a popular youth-led revolution and a parallel power struggle between three rival factions.
These three factions - President Ali Abdullah Saleh's family, the Ahmar family and leading army general Ali Mohsin - all belong to a privileged elite at the heart of Yemen's regime.
But pressures generated by successive weeks of street protests throughout the spring, combined with their existing suspicions and jealousies of one another, forced long-standing rivalries into the open.
In March, following a sniper attack on the protesters' camp in Yemen's capital, Sanaa, Gen Ali Mohsin broke ranks with Mr Saleh.
In May, fighting broke out between Mr Saleh's family and the Ahmar family in the Hasaba district of Sanaa when the president refused to sign a Gulf-backed transition deal. Clashes were abruptly halted after a botched bomb plot to kill the president left him badly injured.
Mr Saleh was evacuated to Riyadh for medical treatment, and Vice-President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi assumed nominal control.
Yemen's constitution allows for the emergency transfer of power to the vice-president for up to 60 days, but the 60-day deadline came and went at the start of August, and Mr Saleh continued to insist that he was still in charge.
As the summer wore on, negotiations over the transition of power were sliding into stalemate. Instead of outright confrontation, competing factions took part in proxy clashes in Arhab - just north of Sanaa airport - the highland city of Taiz and Abbyan, a southern coastal province.
By late August, at the end of Ramadan, Mr Saleh was still recuperating in Riyadh.
His repeated promises to return to Sanaa, which had kept Yemenis on tenterhooks for months, had come to nothing.
But Mr Saleh's son, Ahmed Ali, and Ahmed Ali's three cousins, Tarik, Amar and Yahya - who control the Republican Guard and other elite security and intelligence units - remained embedded in the presidential palace in Sanaa.
Fresh tensions
Tensions began to rise again in early September.
On 12 September, Mr Saleh issued a decree granting his deputy, Mr Hadi, authority to negotiate a transition deal.
The international community welcomed the move, and the US government confidently voiced expectations that arrangements for a "peaceful and orderly transition" would be agreed within a week.
However, Mr Saleh's opponents were sceptical, sensing more delaying tactics.
The ensuing days saw renewed clashes in Sanaa between security forces under the control of Mr Saleh's family and the Ahmar brothers.
On Sunday, protesters - determined to break the stalemate over the transition talks and maintain momentum for change - marched outside the boundaries of their camp, along Zubayri Street.
Gunmen under the control of Mr Saleh's family opened fire on the protesters on Zubayri Street, killing 26 people and injuring many more.
Sunday's assault provoked immediate retaliation from Gen Ali Mohsin, who had pledged to protect the protest camp, known as Change Square.
Clashes between units under the control of Mr Saleh's family and Gen Ali Mohsin's division continued on Monday, centred around Zubayri Street and Change Square. At least another 20 people have been killed by security forces in the continuing crackdown.
Reports on Twitter suggested Ali Mohsin's division was also trying to push south towards the presidential palace.
Fighting has closed off one of Sanaa's main arterial roads, creating traffic jams and extended queues at petrol stations, as drivers anticipate future shortages and price rises.
Monday's violence came as the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva condemned the excessive use of lethal force by security forces under the control of Mr Saleh's family.
A report by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, issued last week, noted that Yemen's authorities "appeared to have lost effective control of parts of the country and within the major cities" and warned that Yemen was confronted by the prospect of civil war.
Ginny Hill runs the Yemen Forum at Chatham House, an independent international affairs think-tank.
More on This Story
Yemen uprising
Features & Analysis
Q&A: Country in turmoil
A Q&A on the political crisis in Yemen.
Key players
Goodbye Yemen?
On the sidelines?
Saleh battles for better deal
Elites struggle for power
Dangerous mix of problems
Tent city
Women's work
What Saleh's exit means for Yemen
Collapsing economy
Beginning of the end?
US policy dilemma
Profile: Ali Abdullah Saleh
Protests: Country by country
Timeline: Yemen
How revolutions happen
Around the web
BBC Arabic website
Yemen defence ministry news
Related Internet links
Chatham House
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites
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
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
US Senate passes Iran sanctions
Tibet 'in first monk immolation'
Bringing philanthropy to China
Elsewhere on BBC News
Giving a bit back
The entrepreneur and now multi-millionaire at the forefront of China's new-found philanthropic thinking
Why one of America's most influential investors is worried "as a parent" about the state of the economy
News feeds
E-mail news
About BBC News
Editors' blog
BBC College of Journalism
News sources
World Service Trust
About the BBC
BBC Help
Contact Us
Accessibility Help
Terms of Use
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