Corrupt Yemen Regime Is a Family Affair

Saleh's government, 'practically caged in the capital,' has little control
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 5, 2010 7:12 AM CST
A Yemeni woman passes framed pictures of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh displayed at a shop in San'a, Yemen Monday, Jan. 4, 2010.   (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)
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(Newser) – The Obama administration is stepping up its aid to Yemen, seeing it as a vital front in the war on al-Qaeda, but that aid is going to a corrupt president more concerned with looking out for his family interests than fighting terror. Ali Abdullah Saleh has loaded his government and military with his family members, and his chief goal is ensuring that his son succeeds him, experts tell the New York Times.

Saleh became amenable to international help only when American intelligence officials showed him that al-Qaeda was targeting his family. But his reach is limited; with oil revenue down, “the government is practically caged in the capital,” according to one Western diplomat. “You can’t see anyone in a government uniform” in the turbulent south, says one Yemeni political analyst. “There are large areas of the country where there is no electricity, no running water, and no central authority.”

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