Is Castro’s funeral Saleh’s last chance at escaping Yemen?

Saleh has requested special permission to lift a UN global travel ban on him in order to attend Castro's funeral next week. (AP)

As soon as the news of Cuba’s former strongman Fidel Castro’s death was announced, Yemen’s ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh submitted a request from the United Nations Security Council to allow him to travel to Cuba “to pay respects”.

The United Nations Security Council in 2014 imposed targeted sanctions on Saleh for threatening peace and obstructing Yemen’s political process that subject him to a global travel ban and asset freeze.

The request by Saleh, who was ousted by a popular uprising against his rule in 2011, would need to be accepted by the 15-member UN Security Council Yemen sanctions committee which makes decisions by full consensus.

But Yemen observers are viewing his request as a last-ditch effort of escaping Yemen following massive losses of his forces and Houthi militias after coalition forces supporting the legitimate president of Yemen Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi in several areas.

Saleh was quoted as saying that his forces “have destroyed everything that was good in Yemen” recently, leading some to suggest the former president is losing confidence.

Tensions have been escalating between Saleh and Houthi militia leadership in recent weeks, with the former leader at odds with the interim Supreme Revolutionary Committee established by the Houthis.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 13:59 - GMT 10:59