World Week Ahead: Yemeni President Leaves Country; Presidential Nail-biter in Peru

YEMEN | Crowds celebrated the departure of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who sought medical treatment in Saudi Arabia over the weekend from shrapnel when his presidential compound came under attack by tribal rivals.

Pro-democracy protesters, seeking Saleh’s removal after nearly 33 years in power, rushed into a part of the capital Sana’a they call “Change Square,” cheering and lighting fireworks. British and U.S. diplomats reportedly were urging Saudi Arabia to convince Saleh to step down, as U.S. Ambassador Michael Feierstein met with Saleh’s replacement, deputy Abed-Rabbo Mansour Hadi, Al-Arabiya TV said.

Saleh has so far resisted an Arab Gulf agreement to leave office in exchange for immunity.

Watch: A video on YouTube showing the celebrations in Change Square

Additional stories we’re tracking:

PERU | Left-leaning candidate Lt. Col. Ollanta Humala emerhed as the victor in Peru’s presidential run-off election Monday. His opponent was right-leaning Congresswoman Keiko Fujimori, daughter of jailed former President Alberto Fujimori. 

Humala’s economic policies will likely be a sharp break from the programs of President Alan Garcia (who cannot run for a second term), and he has promised to increase state control over natural resources. Although the country is experiencing economic growth, Peruvians — particularly in rural areas — are not feeling the effects and were expected to show their discontent at the polls, according to analysts. Humala has insisted he will follow the path of Brazil’s former president Lula de Silva, and not that of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. 

View: The Christian Science Monitor’s photo essay of the tight race 

SYRIA | More deaths were reported in Syria over the weekend and on Monday as protesters of Syrian leader Bashar Assad clashed with security forces in the northwestern region of Jisrash Shughur, according to human rights groups. Foreign journalists are severely restricted in Syria, making it difficult to verify information.

Assad has made some political concessions, but protesters say they are not enough and want him to go.

Read: More about Assad and other embattled leaders in the Arab spring.

SUDAN | Khartoum has dismissed calls from the U.N. Security Council to remove its troops from the central oil-rich town of Abyei. President Omar al-Bashir’s forces took over the town on May 21, and tens of thousands of residents have since fled.

The move comes ahead of the July 9 division of Northern and Southern Sudan. One of the issues still in need of a resolution is how the two countries will share oil revenues.

Read: A New York Times report on the actions of Bashir and his supporters ahead of the South’s secession

View all of our World coverage and follow us on Twitter.


Six Killed in Yemen Violence, German Farm Likely Source of E. Coli Outbreak

Tribesmen loyal to Yemeni opposition tribal chief Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar show the V-sign for victory as they stand guard near his home in the capital Sanaa on June 6, 2011. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images)

One day after President Ali Abdullah Saleh left for Saudi Arabia to seek medical treatment for injuries suffered in an attack on his compound, six people died in Sanaa, the capital. Three were reportedly fighters loyal to Sheik Sadeq al-Ahmar, a powerful tribal leader, and three were government troops.

Saleh’s departure has created confusion over who will lead the country, with Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi acting as his stand-in per Yemen’s constitution. Whether Saleh will remain in Saudi Arabia or return is unknown; his government claims his absence is temporary. His sons remain in charge of the national military, which has continued its battle with tribal groups.

In recent weeks, Saleh has refused to sign a deal supported by the United States and Saudi Arabia that would allow for a peaceful transition of power and new elections in two months.

The turmoil in Yemen poses serious challenges for U.S. officials. Saleh has been an ally in counter-terrorism efforts and his government given aid to combat the group al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. According to the Washington Post:

The flight of Yemeni leader Ali Abdullah Saleh to Saudi Arabia deprives the United States of a fitful ally in the fight against al-Qaeda’s most dangerous affiliate and injects new uncertainty into counterterrorism operations that were already hampered by the country’s bloody internal strife, according to Yemen and security experts.

U.S. officials are alarmed that the political instability in Yemen will create an opening for al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula to expand its reach.

 German Farm Identified as Likely Source of E. Coli Outbreak

Read More