Has Saleh turned against the Houthis?

Mashari Althaydi

Published: Updated:

Recent reports have claimed that a dispute erupted between ousted Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh and the Houthis. This is good news and was also expected for a while now.

Who will turn against the other first? This is the question when it comes to this “hybrid” alliance between a party – that claims to be nationalist and fights against the governance of the Imamate and whose “legitimacy” is as a result of revolting against the governance of Hamid ed-Dine imams – and a group that believes in the myths of the Imamate and the Zaidi Hashemi rule. What adds to these is the more dangerous and mythical Khomeini component of their practices.

According to the Saudi Press Agency and as quoted by the Russian agency, Ali Abdullah Saleh, the leader of the General People’s Congress, is angry at the Houthis because the latter seeks to marginalize the allies and undermine Saleh and his group so as to govern alone. This is the reason behind the recent escalated media criticism of the Houthis’ extremism.

In response to the insults which the Houthis have hurled against the General People’s Congress, Saleh said: “No one will twist the other’s arm. Twisting arms is rejected and its consequences are unhealthy.” He also voiced the importance of communicating with the leaders and members of the General People’s Congress to unite the ranks.

Saleh and his party are aware of the change in the US administration. Barack Obama’s leniency is gone and now there is Trump promising to efficiently contribute to the Arab coalition and operation Decisive Storm

Mashari Althayidi

Saleh also called for preparing for what is coming, adding that “they’ve been patient from 1962 until 1970” in reference to confronting the two imams in the wake of the September 26 revolution.

In all cases, we must not trust these reports a lot as it may just be disputes among the alliance especially that media outlets affiliated to Saleh, such as Yemen Today television channel, continues to heavily criticize Saudi Arabia and the Arab coalition.

Man of sudden transformations

However, we must also keep in mind that Saleh is the man of sudden transformations. Wasn’t Houthi his enemy? During the six wars they fought, hasn’t Saleh accused Houthi of being Iran’s agent and of belonging to the backward Imamate rule?

Saleh and his party are aware of the change in the American administration. Barack Obama’s leniency has ended and now there is Donald Trump’s strict approach. Trump has promised to efficiently contribute to the Arab coalition and Saudi Arabia in operation Decisive Storm.

The performance of the national army and popular resistance has become more competent. The war has prolonged and time is on the side of the coalition and not on the side of Houthi and Saleh, as Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in his interview last week. All these matters will impose themselves in the end.

In conclusion, we will wait to see who will turn against the other first. Time is on our side so we will wait and see.

The article was first published in Asharq Al-Awsat.
Saudi journalist Mashari Althaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Althaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists. He tweets under @MAlthaydy.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.