Bloomberg News

Yemeni Airport Closed After Explosions; Syrian Clashes Kill 61

October 31, 2011

Oct. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Yemen’s international airport in the capital Sana’a was closed after explosions at the nearby al- Dailami air force base yesterday, the independent online publication al-Masdar reported.

Flights, including one from Beirut that was preparing to land at the time of the blast, were redirected to the coastal city of Aden, about 300 kilometers (190 miles) to the south, al- Masdar said, citing unidentified aviation officials. Two military aircraft could be seen on fire, Al Jazeera television reported.

In Syria, clashes over the weekend in Syria killed 31 civilians and 30 soldiers, Al Jazeera reported. Any move by the West to interfere in Syria would create “another Afghanistan” Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview with the U.K.’s Sunday Telegraph newspaper as Arab League foreign ministers called for an end to violence in the country.

Foreign intervention in Syria would “burn the entire region,” Assad told the newspaper. “Do you want to see another Afghanistan, or tens of Afghanistans?”

Three Arab countries have ousted their leaders and protests have erupted in Syria, Bahrain and Yemen since the so-called Arab Spring began in Tunisia earlier this year. Tunisia deposed President Zine el Abidine in January and elections were held Oct. 27 for an assembly to write a new constitution. Libya’s former leader Muammar Qaddafi was killed and Egypt’s former leader Hosni Mubarak is on trial.

Protests against Assad’s rule began in mid-March. Assad has blamed the unrest on Islamic militants and foreign provocateurs, and sent security forces to crush the demonstrations, leaving more than 4,000 dead, according to Ammar Qurabi of the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria.

Arab Proposal

Arab foreign ministers presented a proposal to Syria for ending violence related to the demonstrations against Assad, Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jasim bin Jaber al-Thani said in Doha yesterday.

The proposal was “positive” and “serious,” al-Thani said. He declined to provide details.

“What is requested are reformist steps that allow us to avoid what has happened in some Arab countries because change was difficult and the destruction was large and the sacrifices were big,” al-Thani said

The Arab League will decide what to do about Syria on Wednesday, Nov. 2, after hearing from the Syrian leadership, al- Thani said.

“The whole region is facing a storm,” al-Thani said. “What’s important is that the leadership in the Arab region know how to react,” he said. What’s needed is “serious reform,” al-Thani said.

In Egypt, the trial of Mubarak adjourned until Dec. 28 to allow time to determine if new judges must be appointed after testimony was leaked, according to Al Jazeera.

Mubarak is charged with conspiring to kill protesters during an 18-day uprising in January against his rule.

--With assistance from Zaid Sabah in Washington. Editors: Ann Hughey, Andrea Snyder.

To contact the reporter on this story: Carol Wolf in Washington at cwolf@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net


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