The Middle East Channel

Yemeni warplane crashes in Sanaa killing at least 12 people

Yemeni warplane crashes in Sanaa killing at least 12 people

A Yemeni fighter plane crashed in the capital Sanaa on Tuesday, killing an estimated 12 people, and injuring at least 11 others. The aircraft, a Russian SU-22, was on a training mission, according to Yemeni officials. It crashed into a residential area near Change Square, the site of anti-government protests during the regime of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. According to one security official, the pilot ejected from the plane. Rescue efforts are ongoing and Yemen’s interior minister said the cause of the crash is under investigation.


A rocket attack hit an opposition held district of Syria’s northern city of Aleppo on Tuesday, killing at least 20 people, according to activists. The missile was reportedly a Scud-type rocket increasingly used by the Syrian government. The blast hit three adjacent buildings. An estimated 25 people remain missing and are expected to be under the rubble. On Monday, United Nations investigators called for Syria to be referred the International Criminal Court (ICC). The panel released a 131-page report which finds that the two year conflict in Syria has become "increasingly sectarian," militarized, and radicalized by the growing presence of foreign fighters. Human rights investigator Carla del Ponte said, "We are pressuring the international community to act because it’s time to act." Although all sides in the conflict are accused of committing war crimes, the report lays heavy blame on the Assad regime for perpetrating war crimes. Earlier calls for referring Syria to the Hague were ignored because five members of the U.N. Security Council were split on the issue. Meanwhile, the European Union renewed sanctions on Syria, including a blanket arms embargo, but agreed to provide additional non-lethal aid for the opposition "for the protection of civilians."


  • Turkey has released 10 Kurds, including six former mayors, with alleged links to Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), thereby forwarding the peace process.
  • Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali said talks to form a new technocrat government have failed, but he noted progress in dialogue and will meet with President Moncef Marzouki on Tuesday.
  • Palestinian protesters clashed with Israeli soldiers on Tuesday as hundreds of Palestinian prisoners have gone on a hunger strike.
  • Protests and a general strike have continued for the third day in the Egyptian city Port Said over the deaths of about 50 people in demonstrations last month. 

Arguments and Analysis

Egypt’s Opposition Needs Unity-and Leadership (Seifeldin Fawzy, Cairo Review of Global Affairs)

"Where is the Giuseppe Garibaldi, Simón Bolívar, or Mustapha Kamel of the January 25 revolution? The lack of an outright leader has badly harmed the opposition movement’s ability to impact politics. In the last two years, Egyptian liberals and leftists have stumbled ten steps back for every single step forward.

The general air of uncertainty and confusion was highlighted in an episode in May 2012; Egypt made history when the first ever televised American-style presidential debate took place, pitting former Foreign Minister Amr Moussa against ex-Brotherhood politician Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh. Both failed to impress. Despite predictions that they were the front-runners in a field of thirteen candidates, Aboul Fotouh and Moussa ended up fourth and fifth, respectively. Given both candidates’ poor performance, the question lingers: where are the liberals in democratic Egypt?

The centrist and liberal opposition, a fractured, disoriented bloc, features big names but not much in terms of influence. Instead of establishing a union of leftist and centrist players to create a credible movement, there is simply a void filled with independently inefficient parties, hesitant to merge and unable to have a significant effect on the political scene whilst acting alone."

Clueless in Gaza: The ongoing blowback from George W. Bush’s secret war on Hamas (John B. Judis, The New Republic)

"While Obama sought initially to press Israel to conclude an agreement with the Palestinians, he continued to harbor the illusion that it could be done while pretending that Hamas does not exist. Obama also followed the Bush administration in rejecting the idea of a unity government between Hamas and Fatah when the two parties again agreed to reconcile early last year. The agreement fell apart-and not least because of an absence of American support. Will Obama change course in his second term and attempt to deal with Hamas and Fatah? In Obama’s State of the Union address, he managed to mention Israel’s security, but not the peace process or the Palestinians. Evidently, the administration is now denying the existence not only of Hamas, but of Abbas and the Palestinian Authority. That suggests that the lessons of Bush’s disaster in Gaza have still not sunk in."

–By Jennifer Parker and Mary Casey