Clashes Yemen's president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, is losing friends fast. His violent crackdown on peaceful protesters has pushed away two longtime military commanders, and longtime political allies the United States and Saudi Arabia; and even now, other neighboring countries are negotiating terms of his exit.
One part of the plan that is sure to disappoint the opposition protesters that have filled the streets of the capital, Sanaa, and been the targets of some of the military's firepower is the plan to give Saleh and his family immunity from prosecution.
The overall plan as it emerged envisaged Saleh resigning and handing power to a vice-president, who would lead a national unity government toward preparing a new constitution followed by parliamentary elections much like the process that is now taking place in Egypt. Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, the current vice-president, has said he wants no part of that kind of transition. Opposition leaders have insisted on being part of any plan to reform the government, constitution, and parliament.
The situation in Yemen was unstable before the successful uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, and it is even moreso now, as an economic crisis throughout the country deepens. Shortages of food, water, and other essentials are routine. This has definitely worried observers, who worry about the safety of the 3 million barrels of oil that pass by the Yemeni coastlines every day.