Violent unrest erupts in Yemen

Laura Rozen

After months of political stalemate, Yemen has been convulsed by two days of violence after regime forces abruptly renewed a brutal crackdown against anti-government unrest. At least 24 people were killed on Sunday, with early reports of at least another twenty people killed Monday.

"Sunday's violence left at least 24 demonstrators dead and more than 200 wounded in the Yemeni capital and threatened to scuttle any hopes for an accord between President [Ali Abdullah] Saleh and his opponents, who have been locked in a standoff for months over demands that he step down and transfer power," the New York Times' Laura Kasinof reported.

"The fighting also raised the prospect of open and more intense sparring among factions of Yemen's divided military, which many here fear could lead to civil war," Kasinof wrote. You can watch a YouTube video report on the Yemen unrest from Al Jazeera below.

The United States has joined Persian Gulf nations in urging that a political transition get underway in Yemen after the departure in June of Yemen's president Ali Abdullah Saleh to seek medical treatment in Saudi Arabia.

But those efforts have become somewhat eclipsed in recent weeks as high-level policy attention has been consumed by the fall of the Moammar Gadhafi regime in Libya, continued brutal unrest in Syria, and international diplomatic preparations to try to mitigate possible fallout from the Palestinians' plans to seek increased statehood recognition at the UN this month.

"This week's violence should be a spur to break this stalemate," argued Marc Lynch, in a post at Monday, warning against perceived neglect of the stalled transition in Sana. "A non-policy of inattention to Yemen has only increased the risk of collapse into a real civil war, which would pose infinitely worse policy choices."

The security situation appeared to be continuing to deteriorate quite rapidly in Sana Monday.

"It's official: Sanaa airport is closed," Kasinof reported on Twitter Monday. "It's the first time this has happened since the uprising began."