Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh: I’ll Step Down by 2012

With his position increasingly weakened by weeks of protests and high-profile defections on Monday, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has announced he’ll step down by January 2012. But he warned that there could be a civil war if protests continue, and said he won’t hand over power to the military, saying, “The era of coups is gone.” Although it’s a shift for Saleh, who had said he would remain in office until the end of his term in 2013, it may not be enough for the opposition, which promptly rejected his proposal and demanded a quicker exit. Meanwhile, two soldiers who defected to the rebels were reportedly killed in fighting with Republican Guards loyal to the president.