A R A B I C A ارابيكا
*Al Jazeera reports that hundreds of Yemenis are packing and leaving Sanaa as gun battles continue throughout the city between supporters of President Ali Abdullah Saleh and a powerful tribal chief who defected and joined the opposition. Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar is the head of a tribal federation in Yemen that includes Saleh's own tribe. Nevertheless, Saleh has ordered the arrest of al-Ahmar and nine other senior tribesmen on charges of armed rebellion.
*Al-Ahmar told the network in a phone interview: "There is a personal war between Saleh and the Yemeni people." In response to the arrest warrants for him and family members, al-Ahmar called on the men of his tribes "not to delay," adding that "the tribes will understand the meaning of that statement."
*Egyptian op-ed writer Fahmi Howeidi notes the contradictory excuses that Saleh has offered in order to avoid signing a peace deal brokered by Gulf states. "It is clear that his justifications are meant for one purpose only: to prolong his stay in power, clinging to it no matter the cost, betting on the exhaustion of protesters," Howeidi wrote in Egyptian newspaper Al-Sharouq.
*This video "message to the Syrian army" shows a montage of photographs captioned with "I am your brother, "I am your father," "your daughter," "cousin," "friend" over images of Syrians of all ages. The message flashes across the screen: "Are you angry with me?" The clip is a plea to the army to recognize the common humanity of protesters in the hope that they will join the opposition.
*The Syrian Revolution facebook group posted an open letter to the Syrian military. Civilians "were killed by the same hand that killed our honorable soldier," the letter reads, adding that the only "armed gangs' in Syria are the thugs who answer to President Bashar al-Assad.
*Syria's Al Watn newspaper, which seems to have exclusive access to Assad, ran a story about First Lady Asma Assad visiting the families of "martyrs who died in defense of national unity." Maryam Mahmoud, the mother of a martyr soldier who fell in Daraa last month reportedly told the First Lady "how proud she felt to sacrifice her son's life to redeem the nation and President Bashar al-Assad, and how she is prepared to martyr her five other children for the love of her beloved country." The story comes as rumors that Asma Assad fled to her native London with the couple's children as the violence in Syria continues. The paper did not run a photograph of the visit.
May 26, 2011
photo credit: illustir