Former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh Killed in Sanaa—two takes

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Video footage of a body resembling Ali Abdullah Saleh has been circulating on social media


Former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has been killed near the country’s capital of Sanaa. His death was confirmed by his political party, the General People’s Congress, according to Al-Jazeera.

Video footage of a body resembling Saleh has been circulating on social media. One image depicted how armed men used blankets to transport his corpse from the back of a pickup truck, Al-Jazeera reported.

Earlier media reports indicated that Houthi rebels, Saleh’s former allies-turned-rivals, blew up his residence in Sanaa. Houthi sources also announced that Saleh was killed during an attack on his car.

Houthi TV announced the “killing of the treacherous leader Ali Abdullah Saleh and his supporters. This is after he and his men blockaded the roads and killed civilians in a clear collaboration with the enemy countries of the coalition.”

It went on to state that the country’s ministry of interior released a statement announcing the takeover of “all the positions and strongholds of the treacherous militia in the capital Sanaa and the surrounding areas, as well as other provinces in order to impose security.”

Saleh’s rule over Yemen extended for more than three decades. Though he was deposed in 2012, he remained a key factor in the country’s ongoing resistance to the Saudi-led, U.S. and British-backed war against the country, allying his forces with Houthi rebels.

However, Saleh’s death comes two days after he expressed willingness to discuss issues with the Saudi-led coalition, a move that was deemed “a coup” against the alliance of Houthi rebels.

Hussain Albukhaiti, a Sanaa-based activist, informed Al Jazeera that Houthi forces had wrestled control of most areas in Sanaa patrolled by Saleh’s forces early Monday morning. “Only small pockets remain.”

He noted that the “very strategic” Al-Mesbahi residential area, approximately 200 meters from Saleh’s residence, had also been secured by Houthi rebels. “The area around his home is completely surrounded and may be taken over by the Houthis within the next few hours.”

Since the bombing campaign against Yemen began in 2015, the U.K. has licensed roughly US$4.2 billion dollars in weapons to Saudi Arabia, according to PressTV.

In early June, the U.S. Department of Defense also confirmed a US$750 million military sale to Saudi Arabia. It included U.S. made missiles, bombs, armored personnel carriers, warships, munitions, and a “blanket order training program” for the Saudi security forces receiving the military equipment both inside and outside the kingdom, Reuters reported.

Amid the bombing and devastation, which has killed over 33,000 people and forced more than a million to flee their homes, Yemen also faces a severe cholera outbreak that has claimed the lives of at least 2,119 people according to Alexandre Faite, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Wolfgang Jamann, head of the Cooperative for Assistance and Relief, a non-governmental humanitarian agency, described the ongoing crisis in Yemen as being an absolute “shame on humanity.”

Top photo | In this Sept. 3, 2012 file photo, former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh speaks during a ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of his General People’s Congress party in Sanaa. (AP/Hani Mohammed)


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By Stephen Lendman

Former Yemeni President Killed: The Price of Betrayal

Ali Abdullah Saleh ruled Yemen despotically from May 1990 until ousted in February 2012 – earlier ruling North Yemen from 1978 to 1990.  He sided with Houthi fighters against Saudi Arabia until betraying them – shifting his allegiance to the kingdom, saying:

“I call upon the brothers in neighboring states and the alliance to stop their aggression, lift the siege, open the airports and allow food aid and the saving of the wounded and we will turn a new page by virtue of our neighborliness.”

The Houthi controlled interior ministry accused him of “creating chaos by working with militias of aggression, helping extremist militants,” the group’s political bureau adding:  “It is not strange or surprising that Saleh turns back on a partnership he never believed in. The priority has been and still is to confront the forces of aggression.”

On December 4, Houthi fighters blew up his home in Sanaa, media reports saying he was killed en route to Marib, his death confirmed by a senior aide, a video of his alleged body posted online by the Houthis, showing a severe head wound. On Monday, Houthi al-Masriah television said “(t)he leader of treason has been killed.” Its media official Abdel-Rahman al-Ahnomi said he was killed, trying to flee to Saudi Arabia through Marib. Heavy fighting has been ongoing in Sanaa for days, Saudi terror-bombing striking Houthi positions. Their fighters now control the city, according to reports, many Saleh loyalists defecting to their forces.

The UN called for a humanitarian halt in fighting to let civilians get out of harm’s way, enabling aid workers to reach them, the wounded able to get medical treatment.  UN humanitarian coordinator in Yemen Jamie McGoldrick said streets in Sanaa are “battlegrounds.” Aid workers “remain in lockdown.” Sanaa-based Norwegian Refugee Council protection and advocacy advisor Suze van Meegen said fighting in the city “completely paralyz(ed) humanitarian operations,” adding:

“No one is safe in Sanaa at the moment. I can hear heavy shelling outside now and know it is too imprecise and too pervasive to guarantee that any of us are safe.”

Regional ICRC director Robert Mardini tweeted: “The night was tough. Massive urban clashes with heavy artillery and airstrikes. Yemenis stuck in their homes, too scared to go out. Reduced access to water, health care, food and fuel.”

An unnamed woman said “(i)t’s like horror movies. I have lived through many wars but nothing like this.”

Explosions rock the city, defenseless civilians at risk of death or severe injuries. Bodies of dead and wounded lie in streets unattended, fighting too fierce for anyone to venture out, hundreds killed or wounded since last Wednesday. Defection of loyalist Saleh forces to the Houthis marks a significant turn in the war, ongoing for nearly three years, causing the world’s gravest humanitarian crisis. On Monday, Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul Salam claimed significant gains in the battle for Sanaa, saying:

“With the aid and approval of God, the security forces backed up by wide popular support were able last night to cleanse the areas in which the militias of treason and betrayal were deployed.”

Will Trump order aerial attacks on Houthi fighters in Sanaa, aiding Saudi terror-bombing? Will US-orchestrated aggression escalate, intensifying the humanitarian crisis?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Contributing Editor Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly.

Earlier media reports indicated that Houthi rebels, Saleh’s former allies-turned-rivals, blew up his residence in Sanaa. Houthi sources also announced that Saleh was killed during an attack on his car. Houthi TV announced the “killing of the treacherous leader Ali Abdullah Saleh and his supporters. This is after he and his men blockaded the roads and killed civilians in a clear collaboration with the enemy countries of the coalition.”

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

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