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Monday, November 21, 2011

Yemen: Hundreds of Republican Guards defect to opposition

While attention is focused on Syria and Egypt, conflict continues in Yemen where protesters have been trying to oust president Saleh since spring. Reports indicate up to 400 troops most members of the elite Republican Guards have defected to the opposition and rather than attacking are supporting protesters. The troops said that they will no longer attack unarmed protesters but will defend them as they marched through what is called Change Square.
 The committee organising the protest said that dozens of protestes had been killed over the last month and that from the beginning of the protests almost a thousand had died. Gen. Mohsen Ahmar defected from Saleh's forces back in March. The newly defected troops were welcomed at his compound. There have been periodic battles between his forces and those of the government. The Republican Guards are headed by president Saleh's eldest son and his nephew.
  With the support of the U.S. and Saudi Arabia the GCC brokered a deal for Saleh to step down but at the last minute he has always refused to sign. The deal would give Saleh, his family and cronies amnesty from any prosecution. This is not acceptable to the protesters. For more see this article.

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