Yemen president resigns under pressure from rebels

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

38 PHOTOS
Violence in Yemen - last updated 2/10/2015 - w/vid at top
See Gallery
Yemen president resigns under pressure from rebels
Yemeni employees of the U.S. embassy in Sanaa said on Tuesday the ambassador had informed staff the mission is closing down, amid deepening turmoil since the resignation of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and his government last month. They said the ambassador informed them that Washington may ask the Turkish or Algerian embassies in Sanaa to look after U.S. interests in the country while the embassy was closed.
Yahya al-Houthi, center, brother of Houthi leader, Abdel-Malek al-Houthi, attends a meeting at parliament in Sanaa, Yemen, Monday, Feb. 9, 2015. Yemen's Shiite rebels are meeting with political rivals for the first time since cementing their power grab last week by dissolving parliament and making their top security body the de facto government. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
Houthi Shiite Yemenis wearing army uniforms, stand guard outside parliament, during a meeting in Sanaa, Yemen, Monday, Feb. 9, 2015. Yemen's Shiite rebels are meeting with political rivals for the first time since cementing their power grab last week by dissolving parliament and making their top security body the de facto government. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
Yahya al-Houthi, center, brother of Houthi leader, Abdel-Malek al-Houthi attends a meeting at parliament in Sanaa, Yemen, Monday, Feb. 9, 2015. Yemen's Shiite rebels are meeting with political rivals for the first time since cementing their power grab last week by dissolving parliament and making their top security body the de facto government. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
SANA'A, YEMEN - JANUARY 27: Security forces stand guard outside the U.S. embassy which is closed until further notice due to the security reasons in Sana'a, Yemen on January 27, 2015. U.S. officials warn its citizens to leave the country. (Photo by Mohammed Hamoud/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan, 21. 2014, file photo provided by Yemen's Defense Ministry, Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi speaks during the closing session of the national dialogue conference in Sanaa, Yemen. Hadi submited his resignation Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015, over a standoff with Shiite rebels who control the capital. (AP Photo/Yemen's Defense Ministry, File)
Houthi Shiite Yemeni wearing army uniforms stand atop an armored vehicle, which was seized from the army during recent clashes, outside the house of Yemen's President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. Heavily armed Shiite rebels remain stationed outside the Yemeni president's house and the palace in Sanaa, despite a deal calling for their immediate withdrawal to end a violent standoff. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
Houthi Shiite Yemeni stand guard outside the presidential palace in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. Heavily armed Shiite rebels remain stationed outside the Yemeni president's house and the palace in Sanaa, despite a deal calling for their immediate withdrawal to end a violent standoff. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
People and Houthi Shiite Yemeni wearing army uniforms stand near an armored vehicle, which was seized from the army during recent clashes, outside the house of Yemen's President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. Heavily armed Shiite rebels remain stationed outside the Yemeni president's house and the palace in Sanaa, despite a deal calling for their immediate withdrawal to end a violent standoff. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
Houthi Shiite Yemeni stand guard outside the presidential palace in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. Heavily armed Shiite rebels remain stationed outside the Yemeni president's house and the palace in Sanaa, despite a deal calling for their immediate withdrawal to end a violent standoff. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
A Houthi Shiite Yemeni wearing army uniform sits atop an armored vehicle, which was seized from the army during recent clashes, outside the house of Yemen's President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. Heavily armed Shiite rebels remain stationed outside the Yemeni president's house and the palace in Sanaa, despite a deal calling for their immediate withdrawal to end a violent standoff. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
Houthi Shiite Yemeni stand guard outside the presidential palace in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. Heavily armed Shiite rebels remain stationed outside the Yemeni president's house and the palace in Sanaa, despite a deal calling for their immediate withdrawal to end a violent standoff. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
Houthi Shiite Yemeni wearing army uniforms stand on alert during recent clashes, outside the house of Yemen's President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. Heavily armed Shiite rebels remain stationed outside the Yemeni president's house and the palace in Sanaa, despite a deal calling for their immediate withdrawal to end a violent standoff. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
FILE - In this Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012 file photo, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, President of Yemen, sits after addressing the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters. Two of the Yemeni embattled president’s advisers said that the president is held “captive” in hands of Houthis and warned if submitted resignation in protest to Houthis’ power grab, to face prosecution. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow, File)
Graphic with map provides an update on events in Yemen; 2c x 3 inches; 96.3 mm x 76 mm;
Houthi Shiite Yemeni wearing army uniforms stand guard on a street leading to the presidential palace in Sanaa, Yemen, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015. Authorities in southern Yemen have closed the country's second-largest airport there in protest over the Shiite rebels' power grab in the capital, Sanaa, which has plunged the nation deeper into chaos and threatens to fracture the country. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
Yemeni honor guards carry coffins of the victims of recent attacks by al-Qaeda militants during a funeral procession on November 26, 2014 in the Yemeni capital Sanaa. The Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) have in recent months stepped up attacks against Yemeni troops in the volatile south of the country. AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED HUWAIS (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Yemeni honor guards carry coffins of the victims of recent attacks by al-Qaeda militants during a funeral procession on November 26, 2014 in the Yemeni capital Sanaa. The Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) have in recent months stepped up attacks against Yemeni troops in the volatile south of the country. AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED HUWAIS (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Yemeni security forces hold a position as they guard outside a court during a hearing for Al-Qaeda suspects accused of undermining state security at their trial in Sanaa on November 25, 2014. A US soldier was freed by Yemeni forces just hours after being captured in an Al-Qaeda attack on an air base in the violence-wracked country, military officials said. AFP PHOTO/ MOHAMMED HUWAIS (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Students chant slogans to protest against the Shiite insurgency during a rally at the University of Sanaa, Yemen, Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
Yemeni protesters hold banners with Arabic writing that reads, "No to militia, No to terrorism, No to violence," to protest against the Shiite insurgency during a rally in Sanaa, Yemen, Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
Smokes rises from an area due to clashes between Sunni militiamen and Hawthi Shiite rebels in Sanaa, Yemen, Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014. Yemen's top security body imposed an overnight curfew in restive areas of the capital, Sanaa, on Saturday after Shiite rebels took over the state television building amid heavy clashes and the U.N. envoy to the country signaled that a deal had been reached to end the violence. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
Smokes rises from near the Yemeni Government TV building, background, during clashes between Sunni militiamen and Hawthi Shiite rebels in Sanaa, Yemen, Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. The Hawthi fighters and militias and army units allied with the Muslim Brotherhood's Islah party battled in Sanaa for a third day Saturday in clashes that have shaken the Yemeni capital, killed over 120 people, and led to thousands fleeing their homes. The violence raises fears that this chronically unstable country could be dragged into the sort of sectarian conflicts that have plagued other nations in the region. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
A Hawthi Shiite rebel stands guard at a checkpoint on a street leading to the state television building in Sanaa, Yemen, Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014. Yemen's top security body imposed an overnight curfew in restive areas of the capital, Sanaa, on Saturday after Shiite rebels took over the state television building amid heavy clashes and the U.N. envoy to the country signaled that a deal had been reached to end the violence. Arabic on a banner reads,"God is great. Death to America. Death to Israel. A curse on the Jews. Victory to Islam." (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
Hawthi Shiite rebels stand guard at a checkpoint on a street leading to the state television building in Sanaa, Yemen, Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014. Yemen's top security body imposed an overnight curfew in restive areas of the capital, Sanaa, on Saturday after Shiite rebels took over the state television building amid heavy clashes and the U.N. envoy to the country signaled that a deal had been reached to end the violence. Arabic on a banner reads,"God is great. Death to America. Death to Israel. A curse on the Jews. Victory to Islam." (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
A Hawthi Shiite rebel holds his rifle while guarding a checkpoint on a street leading to the state television building in Sanaa, Yemen, Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014. Yemen's top security body imposed an overnight curfew in restive areas of the capital, Sanaa, on Saturday after Shiite rebels took over the state television building amid heavy clashes and the U.N. envoy to the country signaled that a deal had been reached to end the violence. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
Smokes rises from near the Yemeni Government TV building, background, during clashes between Sunni militiamen and Hawthi Shiite rebels in Sanaa, Yemen, Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. The Hawthi fighters and militias and army units allied with the Muslim Brotherhood's Islah party battled in Sanaa for a third day Saturday in clashes that have shaken the Yemeni capital, killed over 120 people, and led to thousands fleeing their homes. The violence raises fears that this chronically unstable country could be dragged into the sort of sectarian conflicts that have plagued other nations in the region. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
Hawthi Shiite protesters hold pieces of tear gas canisters that were shot, they say, by riot police during clashes in front of the Foreign Ministry at a main road leading to the airport in Sanaa, Yemen, Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014. Yemeni security forces briefly broke up a sit-in by Shiite rebels blocking the capital's airport road Sunday, only to have protesters return and keep the main highway closed after the first violence of a weekslong anti-government protest. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
Hawthi Shiite protesters surround an armored vehicle, trying to take it over during clashes in front of the Foreign Ministry at a main road leading to the airport in Sanaa, Yemen, Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014. Arabic writing on the banner at left reads, "Allah is the greatest. Death to America. Death to Israel. A curse on the Jews. Victory to Islam." Yemeni security forces briefly broke up a sit-in by Shiite rebels blocking the capital's airport road Sunday, only to have protesters return and keep the main highway closed after the first violence of a weekslong anti-government protest. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
Yemeni riot police use water canons to disperse Hawthi Shiite protesters during clashes near the Foreign Ministry at a main road leading to the airport in Sanaa, Yemen, Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014. Yemeni security forces briefly broke up a sit-in by Shiite rebels blocking the capital's airport road Sunday, only to have protesters return and keep the main highway closed after the first violence of a weekslong anti-government protest. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
FILE - In this Saturday, March 5, 2011 file photo, anti-government protestors take shelter from the sun under their national flag during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sanaa, Yemen. Almost a quarter-century ago, a young American political scientist achieved global academic celebrity by proclaiming that the collapse of communism had ended the discussion on how to run societies, leaving "Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government." In Egypt and around the Middle East, after a summer of violence and upheaval, the discussion, however, is still going strong. And almost three years into the Arab Spring revolts, profound uncertainties remain. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen, File)
A Yemeni soldier, left, wears a placard with Arabic writing that reads,"together against the violence and terrorism," as he stands with others during a rally to mark the anniversary of a bomb attack at a parade square that killed Yemeni troops, in Sanaa, Yemen, Wednesday, May 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
An elderly Yemeni man puts a piece of tape on his mouth to protest against the Shiite insurgency during a rally in Sanaa, Yemen, Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
A Yemeni man chains himself to protest against the Shiite insurgency during a rally in Sanaa, Yemen, Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
Yemeni men chain themselves to look handcuffed, to protest against the Shiite insurgency during a rally in Sanaa, Yemen, Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
Yemeni protesters hold banners with Arabic writing that reads, "No to militia, No to terrorism, No to violence," to protest against the Shiite insurgency during a rally in Sanaa, Yemen, Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
Newly-appointed Yemeni Prime Minister Khaled Bahah speaks to reporters during a press conference in Sanaa, Yemen, Sunday, Nov. 9, 2014. Yemen has sworn in a new government despite objections from the ruling party, led my former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, and allied Shiite rebels who control the capital, threatening to perpetuate the standoff that has gripped the impoverished country in the past weeks. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

SANAA, Yemen (AP) - Yemen's president resigned Thursday, saying he had reached a "deadlock" in talks with Shiite rebels who rule the capital and had confined him to his home. His resignation raised fears the Arab world's poorest country could again split apart, severely complicating U.S. efforts to combat al-Qaida's powerful local franchise.

Presidential officials said Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, a close U.S. ally in the fight against al-Qaida, submitted his resignation to parliament after being pressured to make further concessions to the rebels, known as Houthis, who are widely believed to be backed by Iran, charges they deny.

The rebels effectively control the capital Sanaa, several other cities and state institutions, but their writ does not extend to vast areas of the country that are predominantly Sunni, where its recent encroachments have fanned fears of a sectarian conflict. The Houthis could also face sanctions from the international community, which strongly backed Hadi.

Yemen also has a powerful movement in the south demanding autonomy or a return to the full independence the region enjoyed prior to 1990, which is unlikely to accept rule by the Houthis, whose power base is in the north. The Houthis are Zaydis, a Shiite minority that makes up about a third of Yemen's population.

Hadi's resignation came after several rounds of negotiations over a new governing arrangement that would give the Houthis more power. Many observers suggested the Houthis would keep Hadi on as a puppet to maintain the veneer of international legitimacy.

Hadi had earlier pledged political concessions in return for the rebels withdrawing from his house and the nearby presidential palace following days of clashes, but Houthi fighters remained deployed around both buildings throughout Thursday.

"We reached a deadlock," Hadi said, according to a copy of his letter of resignation obtained by The Associated Press.

"We found out that we are unable to achieve the goal, for which we bear a lot of pain and disappointment," he said.

Presidential adviser Sultan al-Atawani told AP that the Houthis refused to withdraw from the presidential palace, the republican palace where the prime minister lives or from the president's house. They also refused to release a top aide to Hadi whose abduction earlier this week set the violence in motion.

Military officials close to the president said Hadi resigned after the Houthis pressured him to give a televised speech to calm the streets. They said the Houthis also requested appointments in his own office, the Defense Ministry and provincial capitals, demands Hadi rejected.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Yemeni law says the parliament speaker -- Yahia al-Rai, a close ally of ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh -- would assume the presidency. Saleh wields considerable power despite resigning in 2012 in the face of protests, and is widely believed to be allied with the Houthis.

The Yemeni government submitted its resignation earlier on Thursday, as U.N. envoy Jamal Benomar met with representatives from the Houthis and other political factions to try to implement a deal reached Wednesday to resolve the crisis.

Prime Minister Khaled Bahah's technocratic government was formed in November as part of an earlier United Nations-brokered peace deal after the Houthis overran the capital in September.

Bahah, a political independent, posted his resignation on his official Facebook page, saying he had held office in "very complicated circumstances." He says he resigned in order to "avoid being dragged into an abyss of unconstructive policies based on no law."

"We don't want to be a party to what is happening or will happen," he added.

Yemeni analyst Farea al-Muslimi described the resignations as a "smart" move by Hadi and Bahah, saying it would deepen the Houthis' isolation both inside the country and internationally.

"The resignations will spark popular anger in the street," he said.

The resignations mark the end of an internationally-backed transition that compelled Saleh, an autocrat who ruled for three decades, to resign in 2012 following months of Arab Spring protests.

Hadi's rule was deeply undermined by Saleh loyalists who retained posts in state institutions and the security apparatus. Last year the U.N. Security Council imposed targeted sanctions on Saleh and two top Houthi leaders, accusing them of obstructing the political transition.

Yemen is home to al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, which Washington has long viewed as the terror network's most lethal affiliate. The group has mounted a number of failed attacks on the U.S. homeland and claimed responsibility for the Paris attack on a French satirical magazine earlier this month.

The United States has provided extensive counterterrorism training and support to Yemeni government forces and has carried out drone strikes targeting al-Qaida leaders. The strikes have also killed civilians, fanning popular outrage.

Also from AOL.com:

What You Need to Know About Yemen's Political Crisis

More from AOL.com:
Police officer survives four gun shots
O'Hare International Airport is the nation's busiest
Dennis Rodman weeps in trailer for film about his trip to North Korea

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners