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Exclusive: Saleh offered Saudi Arabia anti-Houthi coup for immunity

Two days before Operation ‘Decisive Storm,’ Ali Abdullah Saleh approached Saudi authorities offering to turn against the Houthi militia

Published: Updated:

The son of Ali Abdullah Saleh approached Saudi authorities two days before Operation “Decisive Storm” but his proposals were rejected

Two days before Operation “Decisive Storm,” the son of former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh approached Saudi authorities offering to turn against the Houthi militia in return for immunity for him and his father, Al Arabiya News Channel has learned.

Ahmad Ali Abdullah Saleh, the son of Ali Abdullah Saleh, initially met in Riyadh Gen. Yousuf Al-Idris, the deputy head of Saudi intelligence, before heading to the office of the country’s defense minister, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also the son of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz.

During the talks, the son requested protection for him and his father and the lifting of U.N. sanctions placed on the former Yemeni president who stepped down in 2012 after ruling for 33 years.

The son had offered in return to launch a coup against the Houthis, using some 5,000 special security forces loyal to Saleh and 100,000 members of the Republican Guards.

But the Saudi reply was a flat out rejection, according to the information.

In the talks, Prince Salman stressed that the kingdom was committed to the Gulf initiative that saw the exit of Saleh from power that was agreed upon by all Yemeni sides.

Prince Salman also stressed that Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi was the legitimate president of Yemen and warned that any maneuvers targeting the temporary capital Aden would be considered a red line.

Saleh, widely believed to be the mastermind behind the unrest in Yemen, is a staunch critic of Hadi.