In an interview with CTV’s Brad Giffen, Ibrahim Sharqieh provides insight into the June 3 attack on the presidential palace in Yemen. Sharqieh addresses the difficult questions of who could be responsible and how this event fits into the broader spectrum of the Yemeni protest movement.
Brad Giffen (CTV): With us now is Ibrahim Sharqieh, he’s deputy director of the Brookings Doha Center in Qatar. Ibrahim, welcome. Do you know if President Saleh has made his TV address yet?
Ibrahim Sharqieh: Thank you, Brad. No he has not yet. We are still waiting for this to happen, (for him) to address the nation and to see what he has to say about the serious development that happened this morning.
Giffen: So theoretically, we do not have confirmation that he is even still alive?
Sharqieh: Actually, most of the news agencies confirmed he is still alive, and officials from the government declared he’s doing well, he’s in good health and that he was just slightly injured as a result of the attack.
Giffen: Do we know who is behind the attack?
Sharqieh: That’s a very difficult question. There are many speculations, but the strongest story is that the tribal forces, which have been clashing with the government forces for the past couple of days, are responsible for the attack. However, the tribal leader of the biggest tribe, Al-Ahmar, has announced today that they are not responsible for the attack, that they did not attack the presidential palace as many have said. So it’s really hard to say. We know there are other troops that defected on their own and that some of them might have done that on their own. Others have said that Mohsen al-Ahmar, the general, was probably involved, but these are all speculations. One thing that we know for sure is that protestors in the main square in Sanaa are committed to the non-violent protests in the protest against the regime.
ISIS is also keen to target Italy now because it’s one of the few major European countries it hasn’t yet struck. They’re hoping to inspire violence there so that they can say, in effect, 'we’ve already attacked your capitals in London, in Paris, and in Barcelona, and now we’ve attacked Rome. There’s nowhere we can’t reach.'