Yemeni leader steps down, but little has changed

November 29, 2011

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(AP/Hani Mohammed)
Yemeni protesters react to President Saleh’s agreement to step down after 33 years in power.

Last week, Ali Abdullah Saleh’s 33-year rule over Yemen came to an end…sort of. In a deal brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council, Saleh agreed to step down, handing over the reins to the country's vice president, who's tasked with fostering the creation of a national unity government.

While the moves are a positive step toward reform, President Saleh retains his title for up to 90 days. Nothing bars him or his son from a future in politics.

And the violence continues. Last week, security forces allegedly killed several protesters who demanded that the president not only step down but appear before an international criminal court. Today, the streets remain restive.

Charles Schmitz, president of the American Institute for Yemeni Studies and professor of geography at Towson University, provides analysis.