Hadi calls on Yemenis to rise up against Houthis after Saleh's death

Glen Mclaughlin
December 5, 2017

The Houthi-run Masirah TV announced the death of the "leader of the traitors" on Monday, referring to Saleh, who until last week was in a fragile alliance with the rebels. He was forced to resign after months of protests against him during an Arab Spring uprsing in 2011.

Yet, by all accounts, the proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia taking place inside the country looks set to intensify.

The staement read "Saleh and his supporters have been killed by Houthis rebels". Armed men could be seen loading the body into the back of a pickup truck in an empty, sandy lot. Yasser al-Awadi, the assistant secretary-general of Saleh's political party, the General People's Congress (GPC), was also killed in the attack. He also succeeded in playing rivals off against one another and positioning himself as a counterterrorism ally of the United States, while also aligning with Iran and other parties when necessary. Saleh then denounced Houthi missile strikes targeting Saudi Arabia.

A military source said the Houthis stopped their four-car convoy about 40 km (25 miles) south of Sanaa and shot dead Saleh and two other senior GPC officials.

It was a bitter end for the former president who had ruled the north of Yemen and then a united north and south for almost 34 years.

Earlier on Monday, a Sanaa-based activist said that the Houthis had gained control of most of Sanaa from Saleh's forces.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak to the press.

Military and government sources said the army would advance on Sanaa from the east and northeast, with at least seven battalions ordered to move forward.

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The Saleh-Houthi alliance had been fraught since its inception in 2014, when the two ended decades of enmity and joined ranks to capture Sanaa from Hadi's government.

Saudi Arabia has lost a card which could help it eradicate the Iranian threat in Yemen. The Saudis had publicly welcomed Saleh's about-face, but any hope of a radical change in the balance of power in the conflict appears to have been terminated along with Saleh's life.

Saleh's death complicates this, though control of the his fighters may shift to his son, Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh, or his nephew, Tariq.

In a televised speech on Monday, Houthi leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi congratulated the Yemeni people for what he described as a victory against a "conspiracy of treason" engineered by the group's Gulf Arab enemies.

The fresh violence has increased fears for civilian victims of Yemen's war, which has claimed more than 8,750 lives since the Saudi-led coalition intervened. It will be recorded in history books that the Saleh era in Yemen was torn down in a bloody civil war, amid a catastrophic humanitarian crisis the likes of which should never come to pass in the 21st century.

Worldwide aid groups warned Monday they were losing the ability to reach civilians in Sanaa.

"Aid workers can't travel and implement critical life-saving programs".

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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