Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Yemen tries to restructure army

    Yemen's president Hadi has issued decrees that transfer the command of some Republican Guard units to a newly formed force that will be under his own command.  Most of the elite Republican Guards are under the command of  Brigadier General Ahmed Saleh a son of  ex-president Saleh. Saleh's family retains considerable power within the government and armed forces. Hadi was himself a Saleh loyalist in the past having been vice-president under Saleh. However, now he is trying to neutralize factions within the army. Hadi ran unopposed for president after Saleh stepped down from the presidency with immunity from trial for his crimes. The deal was brokered by the GCC with the support of the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.
    At the same time Hadi has issued decrees that place some of rival General Al Mohsen al-Ahmar units into the presidential force or under new regional commanders. Rival Saleh and Ahmar army factions have actually had clashes. Ahmar said he welcomed the decision and said that the move could restore unity in the forces. That remains to be seen! Some earlier decrees have not been carried out or were carried out only after great pressure was exerted. In April however Hadi did remove about 20 commanders including several  Saleh relatives. Hadi seems to be trying to remove commanders from both factions.
   In the streets of Sanaa the capital there is a common saying that those who rule them in the past rule them now. There are reports that Hadi the president has still been unable to enter the presidential palace since the area around it is guarded by Republican Guards loyal to Saleh and his relatives. No wonder Hadi is forming a new presidential force. A recent offensive has ousted Islamic militants who had ruled in many areas since last August. However tribal chiefs who helped Yemeni forces under U.S. guidance in the offensive will now be off to Sanaa to collect payment for their loyalty. If the central government does not come up with funds and also help rebuild cities such as Jaar and Zinjibar there will be more trouble. There will no doubt be trouble anyway as Islamic militants are resorting to guerrilla warfare and terrorist actions in the areas in which they had ruled. Much more needs to be done for the vaunted transition to democracy. First a transition to some stability and security is needed. For more see this article.

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