The issue of the relatives of Ali Saleh seems to be the main obstacle to any solution for the current crisis in Yemen. These relatives will be the most affected by any change, with their massive privileges instantly disappearing.
The issue of the dismissal of the relatives of the Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who hold all the important sectors of the country, was one of the five points contained in the “road map” put forward by the opposition parties in Yemen to stop the popular protests more than a month ago.
The opposition says that President Saleh – who has ruled Yemen for 32 years – now holds the most important parts of the Republic, including the economic and military sectors, and through his associates and his family and in-laws.
In addition to the manner he appoints his relatives or in-laws into leadership and important positions, Yemeni opposition parties are opposed to President Saleh’s habit of appointing persons from the region he comes from, Sanhan, to managerial positions.
Since taking office in July 17 1978, most important positions of the armed forces and security went to the brothers and the sons of his tribe, and he exiled his competitors except those who showed extreme loyalty.
Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh, the president’s son, leads the Republican Guard, composed of about 30000 men as well as Special Forces teams, which controls all the entrances to the capital Sana’a.
Ali Mohsen Saleh Al-Ahmar, the president’s half brother, took control of the First Division of the Army, composed of several brigades which are well-armed, and controls the western section, a band that fought wars with the Houthis. It was said that the President wanted to drain their strength to reduce Ali Mohsen ambitions in power, however he joined the youth in their revolution.
Also, Yahya Mohammed Abdullah Saleh, the president’s nephew, commands the Central Security units, which controls all the Yemeni cities including the capital Sana’a, and Ali Saleh Al-Ahmar, the President’s half brother, is the office director of the Supreme Commander.
The Youth Movement which leads the protests in Yemen – along with opposition parties – published a list of names of more than 30 officials of the relatives and in-laws of the Yemeni president who they demanded to be removed from their positions.
This list included the names of the Special Guards commander, Tariq Mohammed Abdullah Saleh, and the deputy of the National Security Agency, Ammar Mohammed Abdullah Saleh, and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Tobacco and Sulphur Company, Tawfik Saleh Abdullah Saleh, and all the nephews of the President.
The list included a number of in-laws, like Omar Al-Arhabi, director of the Yemeni Oil Company, and Abdel Karim al-Arhabi, the Deputy Prime Minister, and the Minister of Planning and the director of the Social Fund for Development.
The list of in-laws extended to include the President’s son in law Khalid Al-Arhabi, director of the presidential palaces, and Abdulwahab Abdullah Al-Hajri, the brother of his second wife who serves as the Ambassador of Yemen to the United States, and Ahmed Al-Hajri the governor of Ibb.
Views expressed in articles are the author’s and do not represent Comment Middle East
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