ARI SHAPIRO, Host:
And as the war along Yemen's northern border appears to be cooling off, the Yemeni government may shift its focus to fighting al-Qaida in the country. That's what the international community wants. NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Yemen's capital, San'a.
PETER KENYON: Information from the front lines in Yemen's northern Saada(ph) province has been sketchy and often unreliable, particularly when Yemen claims to have killed or wounded the rebel leader, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi. He showed up in an Internet posting recently in apparent good health, just before announcing that the Houthi rebels were seeking another truce. Previous postings were much more violent.
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KENYON: Yemeni analysts say the Saudi claims of victory should be treated with skepticism, although they welcome the cessation of hostilities.
M: Well, it has been, I mean, for them a defeat. But I think if they continue it, it will be even more dangerous.
KENYON: Analyst Abdullah al-Faqui at San'a University says the longer the Saudis fight - and fail to decisively defeat the rebels - the more they could be exposed to other security risks, such as uprisings among unhappy tribes living on the Saudi side of the border.
M: Because if the Saudis couldn't defeat the Houthis, which is like a small group, how about other (unintelligible) groups within Saudi Arabia? So basically for the Saudis, it's the least expensive, you know, move.
KENYON: But with the worldwide focus now on the growing threat of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, analyst Abdullah al-Faqui says it may now be time for Yemen to end hostilities in the north.
M: So basically what's happening is if you have a weak government like the Yemeni one and then, you know, it faces a lot of, you know, challenges at the same time, there's no place for al-Qaida and the government agenda. But now, I mean, you know, the only place that's (unintelligible) should be for al- Qaida because that's the priority.
KENYON: Peter Kenyon, NPR News, San'a.
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