Yemen President: Unrest in Arab World Is pro-Zionist Conspiracy

While addressing a group at Sanaa University, Ali Abdullah Saleh said the control center for destabilizing Arab world is in Tel Aviv; embattled president also slamed Obama for meddling in affairs of Arab countries.

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Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Tuesday accused Israel of financing and plotting the protests in his country and other Arab states.

"The wave of political unrest sweeping across the Arab world is a conspiracy that serves Israel and the Zionists," Saleh said while delivering a speech at Sanaa University.

Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh addresses a gathering of university professors and students in Sanaa on March 1, 2011. Credit: Reuters

The embattled leader, who has faced weeks of anti-government unrest in his country, appeared to turn against his ally in the fight against al-Qaida in his country, the United States. He slammed U.S. President Barak Obama for supporting change in the region.

"They (the protests) are being directed by the White House and the control center for destabilizing the Arab world is in Tel Aviv", Saleh.

He said Libyan opposition figures meet regularly with the U.S. ambassador in Sanaa to coordinate efforts.

"We want to know why Barak Obama is meddling in the affairs of the Arab countries," he said. "Is Obama the president of the United States of America or a president of the Arab states?"

Saleh, a key U.S. ally in the fight against terrorism, is under mounting pressure by daily protests demanding an end to his 32-year-old rule.

Twenty-four people have been killed since February 17 in daily protests against Saleh across the impoverished Arab state, though unrest has been most intense in the once-independent south where many people resent rule from the north.

Saleh has promised to step down when his term ends in 2013 and not hand power to his son, though he has backed out of similar pledges in the past.

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