What’s a civil war?

I’m not sure what Reuters thinks a civil war is.

Yesterday, President Saleh of Yemen was wounded in an attack on his compound by people trying to get him to leave the country. Here’s the quote that got me started on this:

  • “Any departure by Saleh could make it extremely difficult to him to return to Yemen where he is fighting a four-month uprising against his rule that has brought the impoverished country Arabian Peninsula country to the brink of civil war.”

Here are several others from the same story:

  • Nearly 200 people have been killed in the past two weeks in urban battles with machine guns, mortars and rocket propelled grenades that caused Sanaa’s airport to briefly ground flights twice and shuttered shops.
  • Nearly 400 people have been killed since a popular uprising against Saleh began in January, inspired by the movements in Tunisia and Egypt that toppled their long-standing leaders.
  • The battles are being fought on several fronts, with popular protests in several cities and military units breaking away from Saleh to protect the protesters.

If this is not a civil war, what is?

It’s not just Reuters. CNN’s John King was talking about it this way last night. I see it all over the place. Why are the media so shy about using that particular phrase?

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Boston area academic librarian and instructional designer. News junkie. Fan of marine mammals, October.