Political Analysis

Gulf countries suggest that ten powerful figures leave Yemen

National Yemen

Ali Saleh and Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmer

By: NY Staff

As the preparations for the national dialogue continue, trustworthy sources revealed that sponsors of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative have suggested that ten military and political figures leave Yemen temporarily, for a period of two years. According to the sources, the suggestion aims to create a favorable atmosphere for President Hadi to prepare for the upcoming National Dialogue Conference.  Ali Abdullah Saleh, Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmar, Hamid Al-Ahmar and his elder brother Sadeq Al-Ahmer topped the list.

Despite the success that Hadi has achieved in navigating Yemen past the possibility of civil war, reinforcing state authority and stemming the expansion of Al-Qaeda militants, he continues to face many challenges, which are topped by the continued presence of ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh. Saleh and his relatives and partners represent the greatest obstacles to successfully conducting the National Dialogue Conference and reaching political settlement.

Saleh still controls half of the Reconciliation Government and a majority in the House of Representatives; meanwhile, 28 Republican Guard brigades are controlled by his son, and tens of thousands of Central Security Forces are under the command of Saleh’s nephew, Yahiya Mohammed Saleh. Saleh is also still supported by many tribal leaders and effectively controls a huge portion of Yemen’s political process by way of his loyal Minister of Foreign Affairs Abu Bakr Al-Kurib and those ambassadors who have yet to be replaced.

Influential Positions

These powerful and influential positions controlled by he and his relatives make Saleh capable of affecting Yemen’s political settlement process. He can do so through hindering the application of the Transitional Justice Law in the council of ministers and through rejecting or resisting a number of the appointments made by Hadi. A clear example of this is what is happening with the governor of Haja, who, because of a leader in Saleh’s party, is unable to carry out his official duties.

Saleh’s ability to confuse the general situation also extends to intelligence forces and the political security board, both of which are still led and controlled by people who were appointed by Saleh. Moreover, Saleh has a great influence on tribesmen, who continue to carry out sabotage attacks against public services, including electricity lines and oil pipelines.

Political Influence

On the political level, Saleh uses media outlets which he sponsors to appeal to Houthi elements using reports with claims that Houthis are “excluded from the political process by the Sunni Islah Party.” In addition, he uses such media outlets to highlight separatist activities in the south.

This negative role of the former president prompted GCC initiative sponsor countries to apply pressure for him to leave the country and to convince him to reside in another country until the end of the transitional period.

 

However, the difficult tasks facing Hadi aren’t limited just to the former president’s influence. Rather, it extends to the impact of tribal authority in the country, authority which was enlarged during Saleh’s period of rule. Sheikh Sadeq Al-Ahmar and his brother Hamid – who were both major parts of Saleh’s regime – came to represent another challenge for Hadi, especially after they joined the revolution which effectively overthrew Saleh’s regime.

Ali Mohsen represents the third challenge facing Hadi, as he was Saleh’s right hand and main assistant from the minute Saleh reached power. Ali Mohsen was classified by most and considered to be Yemen’s main ruler. Defecting from Saleh’s regime made it likely that he would receive a leading position in the new ruling regime, a notion which has been completely rejected by civil and youth groups, who consider such a move to be one towards recreating the former regime.