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Saleh returns to Yemen at tensest time in months

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… His presence in Sanaa is likely to galvanize people on both sides, further trenching warring interests that have already been using heavy munitions against one another.

International observers orchestrated a ceasefire on Tuesday in hopes of creating a window for a reform process that would include Saleh ceding power, but it broke down hours later, BBC reports. Whether Saleh's declared ceasefire will stick is unclear. Many believe Saleh will turn to violence, rather than continue the negotiation process, Reuters reports.

"This is an ominous sign, returning at a time like this probably signals he intends to use violence to resolve this. This is dangerous," said Abdulghani al-Iryani, a political analyst and co-founder of the Democratic Awakening Movement.

"His people will feel that they are in a stronger position and they will refuse to compromise. Basically this means the political process is dead in the water."

Before this week's fighting erupted, Yemeni politicians were "days away" from finalizing a power transfer agreement, according to Reuters. Saleh backed out of three previous plans brokered by the regional economic bloc, the Gulf Cooperation Council.

BBC reports that both Saleh's supporters and the antigovernment protesters have plans to hold rallies following Friday prayers.

The protesters who launched the uprising in February are still camped out in an area of the city dubbed "Change Square." Their movement has remained nonviolent, although their protest camp has become a semi-frequent target of snipers suspected of having ties to the government. The Times describes them as caught in the crossfire between the various armed groups in Sanaa.

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