Does Ali Abdullah Saleh really have $60 billion?
Whether his fortune amounts to one billion or sixty billion dollars, what he is doing today should result in the freezing of his assets
International organizations stated that former President of Yemen Ali Abdullah Saleh has collected during the course of his term up to $60 billion. It is an unimaginable number, even when judged by the standard of wealthy nations. His actual wealth is less than a quarter of the declared amount, however, even in this case it is a huge sum for the president of such a poor country. It seems he is even richer than the richest people in the world!
Whether his fortune amounts to one billion or sixty billion dollars, what he is doing today to sabotage the political process should result in the freezing of his assets as authorized by the U.N. Security Council in 2014.
Because of Saleh’s continuous defiance of U.N. resolutions, his success in hindering the transitional government as well as his alliance with rebels aiming to conquer Sanaa, all parties are expected to seek the formation of a committee to investigate his wealth and return it to the Yemeni government. Thus, they will restrain his financial and moral capabilities and his influence inside and outside Yemen.
Saleh has been looting the Yemeni people for over 30 yearsAbdulrahman al-Rashed
Saleh has been looting the Yemeni people for over 30 years. He wants to deprive them of the possibility of overcoming his oppression and starting a new era. This is why they stay silent about him and his money; they forgave him and do not demand that he be held accountable. Yemenis treated their isolated president with a rare sense of decency when he left the country defeated and isolated and sought treatment in Saudi hospitals.
Yemeni political forces granted him immunity from being held accountable for what he did over the past three decades. They wanted to forgive him, leave the past behind, avoid feuds and build a new Yemen for everyone. However, recent events revealed that Saleh is corrupt and a key player in the sabotage of the new regime, with the help of the Houthi rebels. The situation in Yemen has become very serious. The government was forced to move to a temporary capital, while Saleh’s supporters and the Houthis keep on threatening to divide the country and ignite a civil war. After all this, international organizations are now expected to re-open the file of the overthrown president. He should be subject to prosecution and the confiscation of his fortune, and not just its freezing, in accordance with the Security Council resolution. All those cooperating with him should also be put on trial.
This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on February 27, 2015.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.
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