The end of the unholy alliance as Yemen's Saleh dumps the Houthis

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The end of the unholy alliance as Yemen's Saleh dumps the Houthis
by Ali Mahmood Mohamed and Mohammed Al Qalisi

December 2, 2017. Updated: December 3, 2017 09:56 AM

Former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh says he is open to talks with the Saudi-led coalition fighting on behalf of the internationally-recognised government as fierce clashes continued for a fourth day in Sanaa between fighters loyal to him and Houthi rebels.

Mr Saleh and his supporters formed an alliance with the Iran-backed Houthis against the Yemeni government in 2014. But in recent months tensions have increased between the two sides.

Things came to a head earlier this week with fighting breaking out between the two sides on the streets of the rebel-held capital, with an official telling The National on Saturday that Saleh loyalists were now in control of most of the city.


"I call on our brothers in neighbouring countries … to stop their aggression and lift the blockade … and we will turn the page," Mr Saleh said in a televised speech on Saturday. He called for a joint ceasefire and urged an end to "militia rule on Yemeni land."

Earlier, Mr Saleh's General People's Congress (GPC) party said the Houthis were to blame for dragging the country and appealed to all security and military forces and all public employees not to implement Houthi directives in any of Yemen's provinces and to adopt neutrality.

The Saudi-led coalition, in which the UAE plays a leading role, has fought Saleh loyalists and the Iran-backed Houthis rebels on behalf of the government of president Abdrabu Mansur Hadi since March 2015. The coalition closed Yemen's borders and shut access to its sea and air ports on November 6 in response to a missile attack launched by the Houthis that targeted Riyadh's international airport, but has since begun lifting some restrictions.

The coalition welcomed Mr Saleh's comments, releasing a statement via the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) which said: "The decision by (Mr Saleh's) General People's Congress (party) to take the lead and their choice to side with their people will free Yemen of … militias loyal to Iran."

Meanwhile, Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, tweeted that Qatari mediation "which aims to rescue the sectarian militia of Al Houthi … is not going to succeed".

Dr Gargash followed up with another tweet some hours later, saying, " Sanaa and Yemen's revolution is awakening from the nightmare of following the deceiving calls for sectarianism, which are against the interest of the Yemeni people."

The Houthis, who have repeatedly refused to take part in UN-brokered peace talks, slammed Mr Saleh's speech.
"Saleh's speech is a coup against our alliance and partnership … and exposed the deception of those who claim to stand against aggression," a Houthi spokesman said in a statement carried by the rebels' Al Masirah TV.

It came as a source in Sanaa told The National that residents were beginning to flee their homes on Saturday amid "fierce confrontations" between forces loyal to Mr Saleh and Houthi rebels. In Nahm directorate, north-east of Sanaa, more than than 20 Houthi fighters were killed and dozens wounded in a battle with the Yemeni national Army. Colonel Abdullah Al Shindqi, spokesman for the 7th military district, said the remainder of the Houthis were fleeing towards Sanaa, leaving behind vehicles and medium and light weapons.

The clashes between the former allies began on Wednesday when Houthi fighters tried to enter Al Saleh Mosque in Sanaa, which is under the control of Saleh loyalists.
They fought with the mosque guards and then moved on to the guards protecting the home nearby of Tareq Saleh, nephew of the former president. The rebels also besieged the residence of Ibrahim Sharaf, foreign minister in the Sanaa government. Three guards were killed and three more wounded.

Fighting escalated with the two sides using heavy weaponry, including mortars, rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and anti-aircraft cannons, the source said. The number of fatalities is unknown but images on social media showed many dead.

Another witness, Ashraf Mamoon, who lives in Sanaa and works in a tool shop in Algeria Street, one of Saturday's conflict areas,told The National, "All public institutions, including schools and University went on holiday today because of the clashes. Many residents have run away to save their families and many dare not leave their houses at all. The violence is ongoing."

Mr Mamoon also said both sides were using Kalashnikovs and mortars.

A senior official in the rebel-run moral guidance department said elite renegade soldiers loyal to Mr Saleh had made major advances against the Houthis, seizing key rebel positions in the city and surrounding areas at rapid speed.
"Republican Guard forces control Sanaa airport, Al Sawad (military) camp, the ministry of finance, and the television area" in addition to the moral guidance department, the official told The National.

Most of the capital is now controlled by either Republican Guard forces or tribesmen loyal to Mr Saleh, the official said, adding that Saleh loyalists north of Sanaa were preventing any Houthi reinforcements from entering the city from the rebels' northern stronghold of Saada.

The official said Mr Saleh had called on his forces to return to their headquarters to keep the city safe, however, though political analysts expected the city to fall completely to his loyalists within hours.

The Houthis seized Sanaa in September 2014 and later advanced south, capturing much of the country and forcing the Yemeni government to relocate to the second city of Aden. Following its intervention in the conflict in March 2015, the Saudi-led coalition helped pro-government forces to reverse some of the rebels' gains, though the now crumbling Houthi-Saleh alliance still controls large swathes of territory.

Cracks first surfaced between the Saleh and Houthi camps in August of this year when the rebels accused the former president of treason after he publicly dismissed the Houthis as "militias". Relations between the two sides deteriorated rapidly, with Houthi fighters killing one of Mr Saleh's top military commanders and reportedly injuring his son.

Tensions eventually seemed to ease, however, and the outbreak of widespread violence was averted — until this week.

https://www.thenational.ae/world/me...as-yemen-s-saleh-dumps-the-houthis-1.680702#1
 
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The end of the unholy alliance as Yemen's Saleh dumps the Houthis
by Ali Mahmood Mohamed and Mohammed Al Qalisi

December 2, 2017. Updated: December 3, 2017 09:56 AM

Former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh says he is open to talks with the Saudi-led coalition fighting on behalf of the internationally-recognised government as fierce clashes continued for a fourth day in Sanaa between fighters loyal to him and Houthi rebels.

Mr Saleh and his supporters formed an alliance with the Iran-backed Houthis against the Yemeni government in 2014. But in recent months tensions have increased between the two sides.

Things came to a head earlier this week with fighting breaking out between the two sides on the streets of the rebel-held capital, with an official telling The National on Saturday that Saleh loyalists were now in control of most of the city.


"I call on our brothers in neighbouring countries … to stop their aggression and lift the blockade … and we will turn the page," Mr Saleh said in a televised speech on Saturday. He called for a joint ceasefire and urged an end to "militia rule on Yemeni land."

Earlier, Mr Saleh's General People's Congress (GPC) party said the Houthis were to blame for dragging the country and appealed to all security and military forces and all public employees not to implement Houthi directives in any of Yemen's provinces and to adopt neutrality.

The Saudi-led coalition, in which the UAE plays a leading role, has fought Saleh loyalists and the Iran-backed Houthis rebels on behalf of the government of president Abdrabu Mansur Hadi since March 2015. The coalition closed Yemen's borders and shut access to its sea and air ports on November 6 in response to a missile attack launched by the Houthis that targeted Riyadh's international airport, but has since begun lifting some restrictions.

The coalition welcomed Mr Saleh's comments, releasing a statement via the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) which said: "The decision by (Mr Saleh's) General People's Congress (party) to take the lead and their choice to side with their people will free Yemen of … militias loyal to Iran."

Meanwhile, Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, tweeted that Qatari mediation "which aims to rescue the sectarian militia of Al Houthi … is not going to succeed".

Dr Gargash followed up with another tweet some hours later, saying, " Sanaa and Yemen's revolution is awakening from the nightmare of following the deceiving calls for sectarianism, which are against the interest of the Yemeni people."

The Houthis, who have repeatedly refused to take part in UN-brokered peace talks, slammed Mr Saleh's speech.
"Saleh's speech is a coup against our alliance and partnership … and exposed the deception of those who claim to stand against aggression," a Houthi spokesman said in a statement carried by the rebels' Al Masirah TV.

It came as a source in Sanaa told The National that residents were beginning to flee their homes on Saturday amid "fierce confrontations" between forces loyal to Mr Saleh and Houthi rebels. In Nahm directorate, north-east of Sanaa, more than than 20 Houthi fighters were killed and dozens wounded in a battle with the Yemeni national Army. Colonel Abdullah Al Shindqi, spokesman for the 7th military district, said the remainder of the Houthis were fleeing towards Sanaa, leaving behind vehicles and medium and light weapons.

The clashes between the former allies began on Wednesday when Houthi fighters tried to enter Al Saleh Mosque in Sanaa, which is under the control of Saleh loyalists.
They fought with the mosque guards and then moved on to the guards protecting the home nearby of Tareq Saleh, nephew of the former president. The rebels also besieged the residence of Ibrahim Sharaf, foreign minister in the Sanaa government. Three guards were killed and three more wounded.

Fighting escalated with the two sides using heavy weaponry, including mortars, rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and anti-aircraft cannons, the source said. The number of fatalities is unknown but images on social media showed many dead.

Another witness, Ashraf Mamoon, who lives in Sanaa and works in a tool shop in Algeria Street, one of Saturday's conflict areas,told The National, "All public institutions, including schools and University went on holiday today because of the clashes. Many residents have run away to save their families and many dare not leave their houses at all. The violence is ongoing."

Mr Mamoon also said both sides were using Kalashnikovs and mortars.

A senior official in the rebel-run moral guidance department said elite renegade soldiers loyal to Mr Saleh had made major advances against the Houthis, seizing key rebel positions in the city and surrounding areas at rapid speed.
"Republican Guard forces control Sanaa airport, Al Sawad (military) camp, the ministry of finance, and the television area" in addition to the moral guidance department, the official told The National.

Most of the capital is now controlled by either Republican Guard forces or tribesmen loyal to Mr Saleh, the official said, adding that Saleh loyalists north of Sanaa were preventing any Houthi reinforcements from entering the city from the rebels' northern stronghold of Saada.

The official said Mr Saleh had called on his forces to return to their headquarters to keep the city safe, however, though political analysts expected the city to fall completely to his loyalists within hours.

The Houthis seized Sanaa in September 2014 and later advanced south, capturing much of the country and forcing the Yemeni government to relocate to the second city of Aden. Following its intervention in the conflict in March 2015, the Saudi-led coalition helped pro-government forces to reverse some of the rebels' gains, though the now crumbling Houthi-Saleh alliance still controls large swathes of territory.

Cracks first surfaced between the Saleh and Houthi camps in August of this year when the rebels accused the former president of treason after he publicly dismissed the Houthis as "militias". Relations between the two sides deteriorated rapidly, with Houthi fighters killing one of Mr Saleh's top military commanders and reportedly injuring his son.

Tensions eventually seemed to ease, however, and the outbreak of widespread violence was averted — until this week.

https://www.thenational.ae/world/me...as-yemen-s-saleh-dumps-the-houthis-1.680702#1
Interesting Development. Lets see what comes next.
 
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See the items I underlined, Saleh is ready to surrender.
I read them That's why I said Let's see what comes next.
 
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See the items I underlined, Saleh is ready to surrender.
I believe he is offering the bargain to take-on houthis himself along with support..But question is what triggered this sudden in fighting ?Some internal rift or something has been agreed behind the scene..
 
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I believe he is offering the bargain to take-on houthis himself along with support..But question is what triggered this sudden in fighting ?Some internal rift or something has been agreed behind the scene..
The pounding by the coalition, has made him realize, that wilayat al-faqih mullah rhetoric, in the real world, is just that - Rhetoric. Time to cut his losses and get out.
 
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The pounding by the coalition, has made him realize, that wilayat al-faqih mullah rhetoric, in the real world, is just that - Rhetoric. Time to cut his losses and get out.
Seems though as you described it was a fragile alliance between them ..I think this will end soon then if it materialize and people of yemen will be get back to there normal life..
 
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Seems though as you described it was a fragile alliance between them ..I think this will end soon then if it materialize and people of yemen will be get back to there normal life..
The humanitarian crisis, and Cholera outbreak - is in Houthi / Saleh areas. Without peoples support how long were they going to last.


yemen cholera.jpg


_95276004_yemen_displaced_people_624_210317_v2.png.jpg
_98834322_who_controls_yemen_640_20112017-nc.png
 
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LOL Yemen Sana is now under Saleh control. Im sure he will try to work out a deal with Saudi Arabia to get the hell out of Yemen without being held accountable for what he did.
 
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LOL Yemen Sana is now under Saleh control. Im sure he will try to work out a deal with Saudi Arabia to get the hell out of Yemen without being held accountable for what he did.
Houthis without Saleh, is like them without a back bone.

Saleh might eventually quit, but will try to broker a deal, that leaves him with a bit of dignity.
 
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Sanaa 'paralysed' in rebel-alliance clashes
by Naser Al Wasmi and Ali Mahmood
Updated: December 4, 2017

The alliance between Iran-backed Houthi rebels and Ali Abdullah Saleh, the former president of Yemen, is fast unravelling amid increasing violence as clashes intensified in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa and the northern provinces.

Both territories have been under the control of Houthi fighters and Saleh loyalists for two years but have now become the arena for a bitter internal war within a war which has already killed about 100 people in five days, injured many more and terrorised the civilian population caught in the middle.

Fighting broke out over the weekend when the former Yemeni president split from the Houthis — an alliance that has often been termed a marriage of convenience - and offered to talk peace with his adversaries, the Saudi-led coalition, which includes the UAE.

The conflict spilled over Yemen's borders as the Houthis claimed they had fired a cruise missile at the UAE’s nuclear power plant on Sunday.

The UAE denied there had been any such attack and a source from the Barakah power plant — which is set to begin operating in 2018 — said there were no signs of an attack to the structure located next to Ruwais, 280 kilometres west of Abu Dhabi.

The National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) sought to assure the populace that there was no danger.

"The UAE's air defence system is capable of dealing with any threat of any kind. The Barakah nuclear power plant has all the necessary safety and security measures in place to avert crises," said the NCEMA statement.

It was not the first time the Houthis claimed they had fired a missile at the UAE. The last occasion was in August. The UAE issued firm denials then, too.

Reports of the missile attack come after the Saudi-led coalition, which has been fighting on behalf of the internationally-recognised government of president Abdrabu Mansur Hadi, bombed Houthi positions in Sanaa. Though there is no official confirmation of developments in the capital, reports from witnesses say forces loyal to Mr Saleh took control of the ministry of defence, the ministry of finance and other key government buildings only to lose it again after a Houthi counter-offensive on Sunday morning.

“The two sides are fighting guerrilla-style and clashes are erupting in different parts of the south of Sanaa,” said Adnan Al Batool, who lives in Bab Al Yemen. “Many injured Houthi fighters were transported to Thawra Hospital in the morning. One man was already dead by the time he arrived.”

Healthcare facilities managed by Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) were caught up in the fighting. A spokesman for the NGO told The National that none of their Yemeni staff had been injured but said they could not work because they felt too threatened.

"The capital is paralysed. It is vital that those injured in the fighting are able to safely access medical care, and that medical personnel can carry out their work without fear of attack," MSF said.

“It is too early to say what this fight means for potentially ending to the war. Certainly it is a turning point, but to where is not clear,” said April Longley Alley, a project director at International Crisis Group.

If Mr Saleh, the coalition and Yemen's President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi are considering an alliance against the Houthis — and by extension their Iranian backers — the fighting is likely to get worse, she added.

“This could be a very bloody fight. The outcome depends on a number of intertwined factors including the position of the tribes around the city, the ability of the Republican Guards to regroup under Saleh's leadership,” she said.

As well as retaking the finance and defence ministries, the Houthis also stormed the headquarters of Yemen Today TV, which is owned by Mr Saleh. The indications on Sunday evening were that they were re-grouping in Sanaa to take back control from Saleh loyalists. One resident said Saleh loyalists held areas around Algeria Street and Sakher Street — both main thoroughfares — while Bab Al Yemen and Al Tahreer districts were in Houthi hands.

Meanwhile residents in the capital were living in fear of all-out war breaking out at any moment, said Essam, a doctor who declined to give his last name.

“Public establishments are closed and transportation is suspended. The city is paralysed,” he said.

The fighting calmed late in the day as both sides appeared to take a break, as if by mutual agreement. But residents in other parts of the city reported Houthi deployment with explosions and gunfire.

The first signs of a rift between Saleh forces emerged in August. Ex-president Saleh fell out with rebel leader Abdul Malik Al Houthi, leading to clashes on the streets of Sanaa and the first overtures by Mr Saleh towards the Arab coalition and a possible peace deal.

The Houthis responded by trying to lay siege to Mr Saleh and his son in their respective homes. Colonel Khaled Al Radi, a senior member of Mr Saleh’s General People’s Congress party, was killed only days after the party celebrated its 35th anniversary.

Mr Saleh has famously likened Yemeni politics to "dancing on the heads of snakes, and his shifting alliances have made Riyadh and Abu Dhabi wary of him. During his 34 years in power, he had cracked down on the Shiite Houthis. After a rocket attack on the presidential compound in 2011 he spent months in Saudi Arabia recovering and agreed to step down.

But on his return he struck a deal with the very rebels he had once fought, leading to political instability which in turn provoked civil war and one of the worst humanitarian disasters of recent times.

Until last week, Mr Saleh had been looking to bolster his position in the country by claiming he was willing to strike a “strategic alliance with Iran” — Saudi Arabia’s regional arch rival.

Yemen descended into violence in late 2014 when the Houthis, a group hailing from the Zaidi branch of Shiite Islam, marched on Sanaa and seized control of the government. The Saudi-led coalition, in which the UAE plays a key role, intervened to help reinstate order.

The war that ensued has killed more than 10,000 people since 2015, displaced more than two million, caused a cholera epidemic infecting nearly one million people and brought the Arab world’s poorest country to the brink of famine.

https://www.thenational.ae/world/sanaa-paralysed-in-rebel-alliance-clashes-1.680970
 

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