Yemen’s President Threatens Civil War

Losing supporters from within his government by the day, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh warned that the country could plunge into civil war if opposition forces continue to push for his ouster.

Saleh made the threat on Tuesday as several generals and ministers under his administration threw their support behind anti-government protesters, further reinforcing the strength and resolve of the opposition to end the president’s 32-year reign.  Saleh, in speeches delivered to supporters, warned those who want to force him out of office that “the homeland will not be stable, there will be a civil war, a bloody war.”

An aide to Saleh said the strongman is willing to reach a compromise, promising to hand power earlier than 2013, when his current term is supposed to end. “President Ali Abdullah Saleh said he will hand over power through (parliamentary) elections and the formation of democratic institutions at the end of 2011 or January 2012,” media secretary Ahmed al-Sufti told Reuters.

However, the opposition immediately rejected the offer, saying that the only solution to the crisis in Yemen is Saleh’s removal. “There are only hours left for him. All these promises are desperate excuses,” opposition Nasserist Union Party leader Sultan Atwani said.