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Ex-president of Yemen killed by rebels

05 December 2017
Ex-president of Yemen killed by rebels

Images of Saleh's lifeless body were broadcast around the world, with Houthi leader Abdel-Malek al-Houthi stating in an announcement later that day that Saleh had been killed for "treason".

Members of his political party claimed Saleh had been killed at point-blank range, after his three-vehicle convoy was stopped by Houthi militiamen. He is the former general manager of Al Arabiya news channel, and former editor in chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, where this article is also published. It could easily kick off new violence between Saleh's supporters and Houthi militants. He continued to be a leader despite being forced to resign as a result of the people's protests.Moreover, after an attempt to assassinate him in Al-Nahdeen Mosque, everyone thought Saleh was done, but he spent months receiving treatment for his burns at Riyadh Military Hospital and surprised everyone with his return to continue to rule Sanaa and lead political and military battles.

"This is after he and his men blockaded the roads and killed civilians in a clear collaboration with the enemy countries of the coalition".

The ministry also said its forces had "taken over all the positions and strongholds of the treacherous militia in the capital, Sanna, and the surrounding areas, as well as other provinces in order to impose security".

In a televised statement on Saturday, the former president expressed his openness to talks with a Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthi rebels, in what the fighters called "a coup" against their fragile alliance.

"It is not unusual or surprising that Saleh turns back on a partnership he never believed in", the group's political bureau said in a statement. He finally left power in early 2012, but retained a strong influence with many armed loyalists in the country.

The Houthis, who are believed to be backed by Iran, stormed Sanaa in September 2014. The new situation is critical and unsafe, and requires the interference of the Yemeni army and coalition forces in Sanaa, as well as working with Saleh's forces, which are still in shock.The people of Sanaa and the forces of the late Saleh have a great interest in fighting a war to reclaim their city from Houthis.

But the head of the Houthis' Ansarullah group warned that the biggest victor from what he described as Saleh's "sedition" was the Saudi-led coalition.

The future Saudi-Iran conflict in Yemen could be more complicated as both sides are expected to try to attract and lure tribes to fight on behalf of them.

"You can not say this is the end of his political movement, but it's a very big blow", he said. His death puts the exclamation point on the end of an era in Yemen that had, for all intents and purposes, already come to a close. "But this is far from over - Saleh was an icon in Yemen for millions, and so his death will not go slowly or unanswered". The Saudis had publicly welcomed Saleh's about-face, but any hope of a radical change in the balance of power in the conflict appears to have been terminated along with Saleh's life.

A proxy war in Yemen between the two regional powers will only deepen the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, such as starvation.