In the recent months, there have been massive anti-regime protests and demonstrations that are supported by a large part of the society. While, two weeks before the Tunisian revolution, the constitutional amendment which would enable that the President Abdullah Saleh stay in power for life was on the agenda, in the month of March both the government was made resigned and Abdullah Saleh was obliged to declare that he would leave the power within 2011. During the period when the high-ranking generals of the army started to support the opposition, President Saleh, in his declaration, stated that Yemen did not resemble to Tunis and Egypt and brought forward the possibility of a civil war. On the contrary, the opposition leaders pointed out that the only solution would be the immediate resignation of Abdullah Saleh.
Although he declared that he would resign from his office in 2011, Yassin Numan, one of the opposition leaders, expressed that the president must resign immediately or otherwise the demonstrations would go on until his resignation.  At the same time, the leader of the Hashid Tribal Confederation has withdrawn his support from Saleh. The fact that the government used force to suppress the protests caused that Abdullah Saleh has lost his legitimacy and support both within and outside of the country, but on the other side, some other clans have been accusing the opposition leaders of damaging the unity of the country. In that context, besides the Hutsis and also the tribes and the socialist groups in the Southern provinces, some powerful clans from the Hashid and Bakil tribal confederations, two of the most important clans of Yemen, have withdrawn their support from Abdullah Saleh, which was an important development. On the contrary, it is important to take into account that there are some clans from the both two tribal confederations that support Abdullah Saleh. But the as a result of the decline in the military and clan support, a number of people have resigned from the party in power, the army and the diplomatic missions of Yemen in the foreign countries. The fact that General Ali Muhsin Saleh, the brother of the Head of State, started to support the opposition side during the time when the post-Saleh period has been discussed has been interpreted as a sign of that the Abdullah Saleh Regime is coming to an end.
The Opposing Parties, Groups and Leaders against Abdullah Saleh
The rule of Abdullah Saleh has been facing with a serious opposition movement both on the South and North of the country for a long time. However, Saleh had succeeded to receive the support of the army and the tribes for his combat with the Hutsi on the North, the Al-Qaida on the South and Yemen’s Southern Separatist Movement. But the suppression of the riots on the North failed, the conflicts among the Northern tribes were criticized by the Zeydis in Yemen and besides the Army the usage of Special Forces by Abdullah Saleh became the matter of debate. Therefore, it means that before the events of 2011 Saleh’s rule had already lost an important part of his domestic support. In 2011 a very short time before the outbreak of the massive protests in Tunis and Egypt, the fact that Abdullah Saleh put on the agenda the legal amendments which would enable him to be reelected as the President in the post-2013 period brought about the criticisms and some tribe leaders declared that they are against the new amendments. And during the period when the law was being discussed in the Parliament, the Yemeni opposition groups and the leaders tried to attract attention to the power problem in Yemen by means of the street demonstrations. Just after the Tunisian revolution, firstly the students in the San’a University and some non-governmental organization started to organize protests for the purpose of making Saleh also resign from his office. However, the low number of participation which lasted for a long time encouraged Saleh to resist both the reform and resignation demands. However the use of excessive force particularly against the protests organized in the San’a University caused the withdrawal of the support given to Saleh’s rule. The tribes supported their members who lost their lives as a result of the use of force by the regime and accused the Republican Guard and Special Forces for trying to suppress the peaceful protests by use of force. But the continuation of the use of force in spite of the criticisms have caused that the powerful groups that desire to maintain their influence on the Yemeni politics and economics have withdrawn their support that they gave to the current rule.
In that context, it is seen that the primary leaders leading the opposition side, in this new era, are the leaders of the Hashid Tribal Confederation. The Hashid Tribal Confederation including Abdullah Saleh as well is the most important organized group in Yemen and it is consisted of 9 sub-clans a great part of which have supported the opposition. Some powerful clans from the Bakil Tribal Confederation supporting the Hutsis also have given support to the opposition. Both of these two tribal confederations came from the Hamdan Clan and are among the important clans that have taken place in the power struggle through the Yemeni history. Althouth there are some other clans such as Murad, Ans, Zabid which do not come either from Hashid or from Bakil, none of them have been so effective in the political and military structure of Yemen as those.  Sheikh Sadiq Al Ahmar, one of the leaders of the Hashid Confederation, in his declaration that he did during the time when the amendment about the prohibition related to the term of office of the President was being discussed, blamed Abdullah Saleh for damaging the stability of Yemen and trying to be an pharaoh.  And Hamad, the brother of Saleh, demanded an immediate resignation of President Saleh for the sake of stability in the country by giving a direct support to the opposition. It has been claimed that Hamad Al Ahmar has been planning to be the new president after Abdullah Saleh. Abdullah Saleh, in his meetings with the Yemeni religious men and some opposition groups, had claimed that Hamad Al Ahmar is behind the protests.  Sheik Hussein Al Ahmar and Himyar Al Ahmar (the vice president of the assembly) who resigned from the party in power declared that they will protect the protesters by the means of the forces of their clans. President Abdullah Saleh and the Ahmar Family are originated from the Sanhan Clan which is one of the clans composing the Hashid Tribal Confederation. The Sanhan Clan has also been known as the House of Ahmar (Beyt al Ahmar) in the region of Sanhan. While the President is also originated from the same clan, he is a member of a different tribe from the one of the Ahmar Family. Some clans from the Bakil Tribal Confederation which has been supporting the opposition and which is the most powerful tribal confederation in terms of amount have been giving support to the anti-Saleh protests. Sheik Amin Al-Okaimi, one of the leaders that are bound to the Bakil, participated directly in the protests in San’a with the members of the clans. 
Another opposition group leading the 2011 protests is a formation called Joint Meeting Parties consisted of 5 opposition parties including the groups which departed from the Yemeni Socialist Party and the Islah, the Public Forces Union leaded by Dr. Muhammad Abdul Malik Mutawakkil and the Nasirian Groups. The party which has received the support of the Shiite and Southern Yemeni opposition protesters has been carrying out a harsh opposition against the Abdullah Saleh regime.  The JMP leaded the organization of 3 important manifestations following the 15th January. They brought forward the constitutional amendments on January 29 in the protests in San’a, Taiz and Baydah. Afterwards, they organized a demonstration with the participation of thousands protesters. Then on 3rd of February they organized on the whole country the demonstrations where Saleh was called to leave the power. Following the 3rd of February, the JMP have been continuing to participate directly to the protests which are done on the whole of the country.  Although the JMP leaders prepared a formula in the early March which requires that Saleh leaves his office until the end of the year at the latest, it renounced that formula when the protests have enlarged and a large amount of people from various groups participated in the protests. The JMP have continued directly supporting the protests which are organized directly for the aim of resignation of Abdullah Saleh.
Another group playing a role in the protests is the university youth as well as the civil society movements. And just after the accomplishment of the public movements in Tunis, the university youth and the non-governmental organizations that organized the first protests on January 15 have continued their protests in the university. Tawakul Karman, the President of the Association for the Women Journalists which is a non-governmental organization that became prominent in the first demonstrations stated that the protests will continue until the resignation of Saleh.  Referring to Abdullah Saleh as a dictator, Karman had led the anti-governmental protests both on the North and South of Yemen during the era prior 2011 as well.
Abdul Majeed al-Zindani, the founder and the head of Imam University and also one of the founders of the Salafism which has participated later in the anti-Saleh opposition movement criticized the use of force against the civilians as well. Al-Zindani who was alleged to cooperate with the Al-Qaida by the US has been also claimed to be one of the leaders of the Muslim Brothers in Yemen. About 5 thousand students have been studying in Imam University in San’a.  Abdullah Al-Zindani, the son of the Al Zindani, in his declaration in Turkey, pointed out that Abdullah Saleh’s rule will come to an end soon and that the presence of the Al-Qaida in the country has been formed within the knowledge and the support of the rule. 
In the period prior 1991, the Yemen Socialist Party was also, for a long time, a group opposing to Abdullah Saleh. No matter how much the party works in cooperation with the other opposition parties, an important part of the social support comes from Aden and the southern provinces. The retires soldiers, the first performers of the anti-Saleh protests, have participated also to the Anti-Saleh blog. Therefore, it has to be mentioned that the authority of Saleh on territory of the Sothern Yemen is quite limited.
Another important opposition has come from the Army. The military generals who had not supported the opposition actions during the first protests have switched to the opposition side and have participated in the anti-regime protests with the soldiers under their command when the civilians were attacked and the clans participated in the anti-regime protests. In that context, it is very important that the General Ali Mohsen Al Ahmar, General Mohammed Ali Mohsen, General Hamid Al Kashebi, and General Nasser Al Jahori have switched to the other side. The fact that the Regional Commander General Ali Mohsen Al Ahmar and the Commander of the Eastern Region General Mohammed Ali have participated in the opposition side have considerably limited the efficiency of Abdullah Saleh’s rule on the Army. Additionally, certain governors who are members of the Army have switched to the opposition side. While the governor of Saa’da has left the region to the Huts groups and has withdrawn to San’a, the Governor of Aden Ahmad Qaatabi has resigned from his office and started to support the opposition.
The Islah and Hutsi groups are among the opposition groups supporting directly the riots. The People’s Party which is bound to the Hutsi have been cooperating with the opposition parties, the clans supporting the Hutsi have taken the military and political process in Sa’ada under their command. After the withdrawal of the army from this region, an military vacuum has risen, which can limit the efficiency of these clans and this has been done by the Hutsi groups themselves. It has attracted attention to the fact that there have been some clans cooperating with Saleh’s rule, thus conflicts have been occurring in some area. And the Islah, the main opposition party under the control of the Ahmar Family, has been giving direct support to the protests.
In that context, it is seen that the opposition movement in Yemen has been receiving support from every group and region. Saleh has not had any control on the Northern, Eastern and Southern provinces of the country. At that moment, some members of the family such as his son Ali Saleh, the commander of the Special Forces and Republican Guards and his sons-in-law who command certain military units have been supporting the regime. Other than that, the Governor of San’a and some tribal leaders such as Numan Dowaid from the Khawlan Tribe declared that they support Saleh. Some of the tribes supporting Saleh do not want that the Ahmar Family comes directly to the power in the new period.  The declaration of Abdullah Saleh claiming that he has the support of the 95% of the all society in spite of the protests and that the opposition groups must leave the country reminded once more the possibility of an civil war in the country. 
 Cynthia Johnston-Mohammed Ghobari, Yemen Opposition Rejects Offer From President Ali Abdullah Saleh”, 03/25/11,http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/25/
For more detailed information about this subject, see, Paul Dresch, Tribes, Government, and History in Yemen, Oxford, Eng.: Clarendon Press. 1989
Crisis Group, “Popular Protest in North Africa and the Middle East (II): Yemen between Reform and Revolution”, N°102, 10 March 2011, p. 1.
No Yemeni crystal ball, 3 - 9 March 2011, Issue No. 1037, http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2011/1037/re109.htm
 China Daily News, “Roundup: Yemen imposes tight security cordon around capital amid escalating protests”, 2011-03-15, http://www.chinadaily.com.
 Veysel Ayhan, Yemen İç Savaşı (Yemeni Civil War), p. 10
 Crisis Group, op. cit., p. 2
 Aryn Baker- Erik Stier “ The Woman at the Head of Yemen's Protest Movement”, Feb. 16, 2011, http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,
 Ali Saeed “Al-Zindani flees Sana’a”, 14.03.2011, Yemen Times
 Abdullah Saleh, “Abdullah Zindani Özgün Duruş`a konuştu (Abdullah Zindani talked to the Original Attitude)”, Interview, Nevzat Çiçek, Özgür Duruş News,29.03.2011, http://www.ozgundurus.com/Haber/Soylesi/
 Shuaib M. al-Mosawa, “Hamid al-Ahmar assaults governor of Sana’a”, Yemen Observer
Feb 5, 2011 - 10:00:11 AM
 Abdul-Aziz Oudah, “President Saleh calls on opposition to leave”, Mar 30, 2011, Yemen Observer,