Will Saleh loyalists have a role during Yemen’s next phase?

Mashari Althaydi
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As expected, the Houthis’ act of “preying” on their main ally, the General People’s Congress led by Ali Abdullah Saleh, led to a deep rift in the rebels’ governing structure.

Saleh is not like anyone in Yemen. Whether you like him or not, you must acknowledge that he succeeded in governing Yemen throughout the past decades. He mastered the political game, and was violent when he needed to and soft when he wanted to. He also developed a network of interests. Saleh was hence viewed as a “leader” by many of the General People’s Congress supporters.


The Houthis recently killed Saleh and took photos of his body while their leader Abdulmalik al-Houthi hailed the barbaric act. Saleh’s murder, however, will fuel the fire of revenge and rebellion which Saleh ignited during the last ten days of his life.

Supporting legtimacy

Saleh’s reservations over the Yemeni legitimacy, particularly his hatred of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, came to an end. Recently, many Saleh loyalists who are members of the General People’s Congress have frankly announced that they are with the camp of Yemeni legitimacy. Some have made public appearances from Marib, the closest legitimate Yemeni area to Sanaa.

I am not exaggerating expectations but there is definitely a rift between the coup partners – a deep rift of grudge and fury. How long will anger continue to fuel it?

Mashari Althaydi

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In an exclusive interview with Al Arabiya News Channel, former undersecretary of the Houthi Ministry of Youth and Sports Noura al-Jarwi called for revolting against the Houthis via all means possible. She also said that she now stands by the Yemeni army and by the Yemeni legitimacy led by Hadi and called for avenging for Saleh and the General People’s Congress members who were killed by the Houthis.

Fadl al-Qawsi, the former commander of the Yemeni police special forces and a prominent leader of Al-Hada tribe in Yemen, also made a public appearance from Marib and spoke via Al-Arabiya television channel to announce that he now supports the Yemeni legitimate forces.

A deep rift

I am not exaggerating expectations but there is definitely a rift between the coup partners – a deep rift of grudge and fury. How long will anger continue to fuel it? It all depends on how the entire situation will be employed and on how a new alliance that consists of Saleh’s supporters will be formed now that Saleh, who used to veto all decisions, is gone. Saleh’s status among his followers can be benefitted from in the major battle of defeating Iran by defeating its local proxy, the Houthis.

ALSO READ: Yemeni army liberates key areas in Sanaa, 53 Houthis dead

This is the substantial battle. As for Saleh’s supporters, it does not matter how critical they were of the alliance and legitimacy as no matter how energized they were by the death of the alliance’s forces, the dispute with them remains political and irrelevant to beliefs, unlike the case with men like Abdulmalik and Hussein al-Houthi.

Where do al-Islah party and its backbone the Brotherhood stand from all this? I will highlight this in a separate article.

This article is also available in Arabic.
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.
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