A New Front?

Despite Hilal's work on the mediation committee and Salih's insistence that everything is fine, the rest of the government seems to be operating off of a different playbook.

Mareb Press is reporting that the editor of Mukalla Press has been arrested and that al-Ayyam's building in Aden is under siege. News Yemen has got its hands on a directive from the Ministry of Information demanding that copies of six different papers be seized from kiosks and bookstores throughout the country. It seems as though the ministry is going after papers it claims uses the language of "secession."

This is not a good move and is likely to backfire against the government. Both Salih and Vice President Hadi made speeches last week admitting mistakes in governing the south. Certainly, this was something that everyone knew but at least it was admitted openly and publicly. Now, just after Hilal is sent off on his mission and Salih says everything is returning to normal, the government overreaches and opens up war on the newspapers in the south. It doesn't take much of a spark to touch off a series of problems as the Yemeni government should have learned in Sa'dah in June 2004 and more recently in the south when demonstrations by a dozens of former soldiers turned into something more. Giving disgruntled and angry protesters something to coalesce around is not a good idea, particularly in the current climate.

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