Saturday, April 14, 2012
Yemen: President faces internal division between pro and anti Saleh officials
Nasser Arrabyee is a Yemeni journalist based in Sanaa. He has a blog here and an article on the new president Abdu Mansour Hadi. He discusses some of the inner conflicts within the new administration.
Under a deal brokered by the GCC the former president yielded power to his vice president Hadi who eventually was elected president in a one horse race! This was applauded as a model transition to democracy by some in the West!
Opposition forces were given positions in the transitional government and just the other day Hadi relieved two Saleh relatives of their positions. Neither of the two have gone quietly.
One surrounded and closed down the airport at Sanaa for a day or so. Now it seems that an important opposition general is to be promoted according to Arrabyee. General Ali Muhsen who had earlier defected from the Saleh regime apparently will become deputy to the supreme commander of the armed forces.
The fired commander of the air force Mohammed Al Ahmar a half brother of Saleh set conditions for turning over the main base to the government. One of the conditions is that the former defected general Ali Muhsen be fired before him or simultaneously with his firing.
The general Ali Muhsen was the second most powerful person in Yemen before his defection according to Arrabyee. He and a tribal leader are doing their best to ease out their former close ally Saleh.
Arrabyee calls the tribal leader Hamid Al Ahmar a billionaire who orchestrated the anti-Saleh uprising. Surely part of that rising was a more pro-democracy movement that was part of the Arab Spring but was eventually sidelined by the sort of elite intrigues described by Arrabyee.
The Ahmar group is trying to have Hadi fire Ahmed Sali who is the son of Saleh and head of the elite Republican Guards. So far this has not happened. If it does there could be even more internal conflict.
Hadi is also being pressed to fire General Muhsen but as with Saleh's relatives he would not accept being fired unless Ahmed Sali head of the Republican guards is fired first. With all of this conflict perhaps some group will march on the presidential palace again as when Saleh was gravely wounded some time ago.
The U.S. and Saudi backed deal did not include firing Saleh relatives but General Muhsen and no doubt others want this along with his Islamist allies. The U.S. wants Muhsen fired for his links historically with militant Islamist groups. Many of his troops have Islamist leanings. This all sounds as if there is likely to be ongoing internal strife that could easily result in violence. For much more see this article.