The assassination of the former president of Yemen by the Hussites will lead to an escalation of the situation in the region and the final disintegration of the country.
Former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh was assassinated on December 4 in the capital of Sanaa as a result of clashes between his supporters and the Shiite rebels controlling the Ansar Allah (“Supporters of God”) movement, who are commonly called Houthis by the name of the founder of the movement Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi and his younger brother, the current leader Ansar Allah and the actual ruler of Yemen, Abdul-Malik Badreddin al-Houthi.
The path to leadership
Saleh stayed in power in Yemen for more than thirty years. The rapid rise of the career of a young officer occurred after the coup of 1962 when the monarchy was overthrown. In the ensuing eight-year civil war, Saleh, who fought on the side of the proclaimed Yemen Arab Republic (YAR), was able to excel and already in the mid-1970s was among the highest-ranked military in North Yemen. After the assassination of President Ghashmi in July 1978 Saleh led the country.
South Yemen (the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen), after the change of regime immediately began to build socialism based on the Soviet model. Saleh, on his side, decided to maintain normal relations with the Soviet Union, with Western countries, and with Arab neighbors. With the mediation of the League of Arab States (LAS), Saleh manages to normalize relations with the South Yemen. In May 1990, both Yemeni republics united in one state, led by the leader of the Yemen Arab Republic.
Saleh served as president of the United Republic of Yemen for 22 years. During this time, the country experienced a whole series of upheavals, including civil war, the fight against terrorists and the uprising of the pro-Iranian movement Ansar Allah led by al-Houthi. It is noteworthy that the supporters of al-Houthi accused the president of Yemen that he sold himself to the West and the Sunnis, but in 2011, as a result of the “Arab spring”, Saleh was forced to resign in favour of his Vice Premier Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, who on February 21, 2012, won presidential elections.
At the same time Saleh, despite his public statements and the guarantees of immunity promised to him, did not intend to leave politics. In 2014 and early 2015, the Houthis insurgents took control in the country, including the capital of Yemen, Sanaa. President Hadi was forced to flee to Saudi Arabia. Saleh and his party “Universal National Congress” began to actively cooperate with Abdul-Malik al-Houthi and his movement. When in March 2015, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, and other Arab countries launched an armed intervention against Yemen in order to regain the power of Hadi, Saleh and his loyal forces joined the Houthis. This alliance lasted 2.5 years.
The Arab coalition received a hard rebuff in Yemen. Their biggest success was the seizure in July 2015 of Aden, which was relatively poorly controlled by the Houthis, and a number of southern and western provinces. The lack of major successes in ground battles led by Riyadh coalition compensated with air strikes against the cities controlled by the rebels Ansar Allah and the supporters of Saleh. So, during one of the bombings of Sanaa, Saleh’s house was destroyed. Then the former president of Yemen openly called upon all the inhabitants of the country to unite in the struggle against Saudi Arabia.
So what eventually led to the split between Saleh and Houthis? Supporters of al-Houthi accused Saleh of collusion with the Saudis. Confrontation in Sanaa between loyal to Saleh formations and Houthis started on November 29. In the areas of Yemen under the control of the Ansar Allah movement, a humanitarian catastrophe arose due to the air, sea and land blockade organized by Saudi Arabia. Therefore, the demonstrative break of Saleh with the Houthis, his accusations against the Houthis and the intention to seek a dialogue with the Saudis led to bloodshed in the Yemeni capital, which led to the death of more than 100 people, including President Saleh himself.
It is obvious that the death of the former president of Yemen will not lead to stabilization of the situation, but on the contrary, will serve as an impetus to its further aggravation. The Hadi, who is in Aden, has already called on the military formations under his control to unite with loyal forces of Saleh and to purify Sanaa from the Houthis. However, with the consolidation of a large part of the population of Northern Yemen who are opposed to foreign intervention, it will not be so easy. The Houthis, in alliance with a significant part of the Yemeni army, have repeatedly proved their ability to fight and inflict very sensitive defeats on the territory of Saudi Arabia.
In addition, the tactical SCUD missiles of Soviet Union production that are capable of reaching Riyadh are already a kind of deterrent that forces the Arab coalition to take very cautious actions against the enemy. So, even if a full-scale offensive on Sanaa is launched, there will not be a quick victory with little blood, and Yemen is expecting the aggravation of the humanitarian catastrophe, the many thousands of civilian casualties, the strengthening of radical Islamist groups and the war, which will accelerate and record the final disintegration of the country.
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