by Matthew Shaffer

…two significant pieces of news:

1) Longtime Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh has fled to Saudi Arabia for “medical treatment,” after he was, by some accounts, wounded in an attack by demonstrators on his presidential compound on Friday. After major protests since early February, and constant equivocations over plans to transfer power for the past many weeks, the general expectation now is that Saleh will not return to Yemen. This leaves a major vacuum in this country in which al-Qaeda has already taken advantage of the lawlessness of outer provinces since protests began. Anti-government demonstrators in Sana’a were jubilant at news of Saleh’s departure. 

2) NATO escalated its involvement in Libya by introducing Apache helicopters into its efforts. The helicopters will allow for more precise attacks on pro-Qaddafi forces, as opposed to the more general air coverage provided by drones and jets. According to the Times

The helicopter attacks were begun a week after Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France approved the deployment of attack helicopters from each of their forces, describing the move as intended to increase the military pressure on Colonel Qaddafi. NATO leaders, including President Obama, have called on the Libyan leader to abandon power and leave Libya, demands that he has repeatedly rejected.

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