Yemen sees resurgence of violence from militants, tribal fighters
Clashes broke out in southern Yemen, where government forces are battling militants they say belong to the local Al Qaeda affiliate. In the capital, they're engaged with tribal fighters.
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Two days after the United Nations warned that Yemen was at risk of descending into civil war, clashes broke out between militants and government forces in southern Yemen and between tribal fighters and government forces in the capital, Sanaa.
The West has long been concerned that a destabilization of Yemen, the Arab world's poorest country, could give one of Al Qaeda's burgeoning affiliates virtually free rein to plot attacks against Western targets. But amid a stalled uprising against Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is not the only militant group stirring up trouble for the regime.
Government forces sought to link the fighting in Aden in the south to AQAP, but a local security official, referring to two explosions Thursday morning that targeted local security offices, told CNN that the attacks were too poorly planned to be the work of AQAP. Although the Al Qaeda franchise has a presence in southern Yemen, the region is also home to a local militant movement that targets the Yemeni government.
President Saleh's government has maintained its grip on power partially by insisting that if he leaves, AQAP will take over the country. During the country's tumultuous uprising in the spring, when the government's concentration on Sanaa left a security vacuum in the south, militants took over Aden and a number of other towns. Some government critics accused Saleh of intentionally allowing militants to overrun the south to bolster his argument that the country needed him to keep the country stable.