An Obama administration plan expanding CIA use of armed drones to hunt for Al Qaeda affiliates in Yemen risks exacerbating the country's march toward civil war.
Fireworks lit up the sky last night after embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh left Yemen to Saudi Arabia for 'medical treatment,' but loyalist forces continue to battle tribal fighters.
President Saleh, increasingly embattled as civil unrest spreads and tribal leaders intensify their fight, says that Al Qaeda seized the capital of Abyan province. But residents saw no evidence of a fight.
'We have clearly passed the Osama bin Laden era, and we are firmly into the Bouazizi era,' said one columnist, referring to the Tunisian man whose self-immolation sparked revolts across the Mideast.
But protesters are angry about the deal, which was brokered by Gulf countries and would give President Saleh and his relatives immunity despite protest violence that has killed at least 120.
Since protests began earlier this year, Yemen's currency has plummeted, oil production has dropped, and food prices have risen by as much as 45 percent.
Rebel security forces led by Gen. Ali Mohsen Al Ahmar are seizing parts of Yemen's capital, Sanaa, but not without a fight from security forces loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh.