Army Remains Saleh’s Vanguard

By Saddam Alashmory

Many count on the Yemeni army and hold fat to their institutional duty to safeguard the country, whether they play a similar role to the Tunisian and Egyptian army.

Yet it is unlikely that the position of the Yemeni army is similar to the Egyptian army’s situation, which protected government facilities and refused to suppress of the millions massed to call for the end of the regime there.

After the Tunisian revolution last January, president Saleh held a conference of the supreme military leadership.

Among its resolutions were the establishment of supreme military council, that President Saleh is the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, his son Ahmed is the Republican Guard and Special Forces leader, his brother Ali Al-ahmar is the Supreme Commander Office Director and his brother Mohammed Al-Ahmar is Commander of the Air Force and Air Defense.

It is notable that the commanders of four main military regions are from the same tribe, Sanhan – which is a subdivision of the greater Hashed confederacy.

Last but not least, it was resolved that the central security leader is the president’s nephew Yahya Mohammed Abdullah Saleh and his other brother Ammar is national security leader, and Ghaleb Alqamash also from the same tribe, is the head of political security.

In addition to the standard structure, the council affirmed the prerogative of  military and security commanders in appointing brigade and security leadership positions, which has traditionally gone to loyal sheikhs of the tribes and their relatives, usually from the same region of the president’s tribe.

The military institution counts on its existence in two articles from the Yemeni constitution.

These are article number 36, by which the state is named as the authority to establish the armed forces, the police, the security forces and any such bodies. It affirms that such forces belong to all the people and their function is to protect the republic and safeguard its territories and security.

No organization, individual, group, political party or organization may establish forces or paramilitary groups for whatever purpose or under any name, it continues.

The law stipulates the conditions for military service, promotion and disciplinary procedures in the military, police and security forces.

As well as article 111, which states that The President of the Republic is the Supreme Commander of the armed forces, along with a section from article 119, which discusses the presidents’ responsibilities, and section 9 which treats the appointing and dismissing of senior government officials and military/police officers according to the law.

All of these points clarify that the Yemeni military cannot play a similar role as the Tunisian and Egyptian military, because the Yemeni military doesn’t enjoy the institutional and national framework on which the military can stand instead of by the side of the president.

In other words, its difficult if not impossible for the army to lead after his stepping down.