Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh had a close call on Friday when opposition tribesmen shelled his presidential compound. Yemen's opposition is cheering his departure for Saudi Arabia for treatment, but confusion abounds over who's in charge in Yemen.
Saleh had refused three times to sign an agreement that would lead to his resignation, a fruitless and frustrating result of weeks of mediation by the six-state Gulf Cooperation Council. Is this the end for Saleh? Will Saudi Arabia, a key GCC member, allow him to return? What political landscape might emerge? Will Yemen be able to pull out of the economic devastation wrought by the conflict without significant international assistance? The U.S. once again must straddle the line between pro-democracy protesters calling for political change and an autocratic leader once essential to U.S. operations. Where should it stand?