Former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Saturday called on the Saudi-led coalition to pave the way for an end to nearly three years of war by ceasing attacks and allowing goods and supplies to enter the country.
Yemen rebel alliance teeters as strongman turns to Saudis
Sana'a: The rebel alliance controlling Yemen's capital appeared to be crumbling Saturday as a strongman opposed to the internationally recognised government reached out to the Saudi-led coalition fighting the insurgents.
Yemen’s ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh cashed in on growing popular discontent against Al Houthis to revolt against his former allies. The deadly clashes on Saturday have officially put an end to the uneasy three-year alliance that enabled the Iran-backed militia to take control of Sana’a in late 2014, political and military analysts said.
With astonishing speed, Saleh’s forces tightened their grip on many key government and military institutions in Sana’a, and killed and arrested hundreds of Al Houthis. “Saleh has exploited public resentment against Al Houthis to lobby people against them,” Yasser Al Yafae, a political analyst based in Aden, told Gulf News. Read more
Timeline of events
September, 2014: Al Houthi militia takes control of the most of capital Sanaa.
January, 2015: Al Houthis reject draft constitution proposed by government.
February, 2015: Al Houthis appoint “presidential council” to replace President Ab Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who flees to Aden.
March, 2015: Al Houthis start to advance towards southern Yemen; Hadi leaves Aden. Saudi-led coalition launches air strikes against Al Houthi targets.
September, 2015: Hadi returns to Aden after Saudi-backed government forces recapture the port city from Al Houthi militia and launch advance on Aden.
April, 2016: Start of UN-sponsored talks between the government on one side and Al Houthis and former President Saleh’s General People’s Congress (GPC) on the other.
November, 2016: Al Houthis form a new “government” in Yemen. Abdul Aziz Habtoor, who defected from Hadi’s government and joined the Al Houthi coalition in 2016, is its leader.
January, 2017: Pro-Hadi forces seize the port of Mokha from the Houthis. Mokha had been under Houthi control since November 2014.
May, 2017: Al Houthis continue firing missiles into Saudi Arabia, claiming to have fired one at the capital Riyadh.
November, 2017: Al Houthis launch ballistic missile towards Riyadh, which is intercepted by the Saudis
Saudi, allies hail Saleh for 'taking the lead' in Yemen
Aden: Former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said on Saturday he was ready for a "new page" in relations with the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen if it stopped attacks on his country.
The call came as his supporters battled Houthi fighters for a fourth day in the capital Sana'a as the two sides traded blame for a rift between allies that could affect the course of the civil war.
Together they have fought the Saudi-led coalition which intervened in Yemen in 2015 aiming to restore the internationally recognised government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after the Houthis forced him into exile.
Meanwhile, a Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen's Houthi rebels praised Saleh for "taking the lead" after he announced he was open to talks with the coalition.
"The decision by (Saleh's) General People's Congress to take the lead and their choice to side with their people will free Yemen of... militias loyal to Iran," the coalition said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency. Read more
Coalition confident about Saleh's to return to Arab fold
DUBAI: The Saudi-led coalition fighting to uphold legitimacy in Yemen said on Saturday it was confident that leaders of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh's General People's Congress Party would return to the Arab fold.
The comments, carried by the Saudi-owned Al-Hadath news channel, came after Saleh said he was ready to turn a new page with the coalition if it halted its intervention in Yemen and lifted restrictions on transportation.
The coalition accuses Saleh of having betrayed his Arab neighbours by joining Iran-backed Al Houthi.
Saleh says ‘citizens revolting against Al Houthis’
Sana’a: Yemen's former President Ali Abdallah Saleh spoke on Saturday in a live TV address to slam Al Houthi militia amid fierce battles between Saleh loyalists and the Iran-backed militia in the capital Sanaa, Al Arabiya English reported.
Saleh called for a joint ceasefire to be agreed on by his loyalists and the militia, after clashes entered their fourth day and have resulted in the deaths of dozens.
"The people have revolted against Houthi aggression," he said.
Saleh urged an end to "militia rule on Yemeni land," adding that Houthis had continued their "provocative acts against Yemeni citizens."
He also demanded that armed Yemeni forces refrain from taking any orders from the Houthi militia, and called for "opening a new page with neighboring countries."
Earlier, Saleh's General People's Congress (GPC) party, accused the Houthis of failing to honor the truce and said in a statement on its website that Al Houthis bear responsibility for dragging the country into a civil war, Al Arabiya English.
It also called on supporters, including tribal fighters, to "defend themselves, their country, their revolution and their republic..."
Tribesmen loyal to the Houthi movement hold up their rifles as they attend a pro-Houthi rally in Sanaa, Yemen, in this undated. - Gulf News File
The GPC appealed to the army and security forces to remain neutral in the conflict.
The fighting began on Wednesday when Saleh's GPC party accused the Houthis of breaking into the city's main mosque complex and firing RPGs and grenades.
40 killed in Yemen in Al Houthi-Saleh clashes
At least 40 persons, including civilians, died and dozens were wounded on Saturday in the fighting between Al Houthis and forces loyal to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Ousted president of Yemen Ali Abdullah Saleh. - Gulf News File
Fighting started overnight when the Houthis tried to access the houses of several commanders of the Republican Guard, which is loyal to Saleh, and leaders of the General People's Congress party, run by the former President, reports Efe news agency that cited sources from both camps and eyewitnesses.
The clashes took place in the neighbourhoods of Haddad, Baghdad and Al Jazair and in the political district where Saleh's residence is located.
Several residents said the Al Houthi militants used tanks and armored vehicles to try to attack the regions, in which Saleh's supporters are present.
Explosions were heard in the Yemeni capital until dawn and the neighbourhoods are closed to passersby on Saturday.
Saleh's troops gain control of key embassies
Sky News Arabia is reporting that Saleh’s troops have gained back control of Saudi Arabia, UAE and Sudan embassies from Houthi militia.
Saleh 'ready to turn new page' if Saudi-led campaign ends
Saleh, whose call came as his supporters fought allied Al Houthi militants in the capital Sana'a, said on television that he was ready to turn a new page if the coalition agreed to his demands.
Clashes between Saleh's forces and Al Houthis in the capital have continued for the fourth day.
Yemeni soldiers killed more than 25 Al Houthis on the Nehim front in two days of intensefighting just outside the capital Sana’a. - Supplied
Street war reported
Local residents say it's been like a "street war" as tensions peak between the two sides. They say ambulances have been ferrying the wounded to hospitals. There has been no official word on casualties but up to 40 are said to have been killed
The residents say loud explosions were heard overnight across the city and into Saturday morning. They spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing reprisals.
UAE-backed Yemeni forces celebrate liberation of Mahfad, a key Al Qaida bastion in Abyan. - Source: Facebook
Yemen fell into chaos following a 2011 uprising that deposed longtime President Ali Abdullah Saleh. He later joined the Houthis to drive his successor out of Sanaa.
A Saudi-led coalition has been battling Al Houthi-Saleh allies since March 2015.
Saleh’s General People’s Congress recently threatened to review its alliance with Al Houthis following a string of attacks against the party's supporters in Sana’a, and accusations about Al Houthi domination of top posts.
Analysts believe Saleh will not move to dissolve the alliance until he signs a deal with another force, like the Yemeni government or the Saudi-led coalition.
“At the moment, Saleh cannot terminate his alliance with Al Houthis before signing a deal with the Gulf [states] as an alternative to the legitimate government. He is weak and can’t confront Al Houthis on his own,” Abdul Sallam Mohammad, a political analyst and the director of Abbad Centre for Strategic Studies told Gulf News.
At least four Al Houthi field commanders have been killed in clashes with government forces and in bombardment by fighter jets from the Saudi-led coalition. Al Houthis recently mourned the death of Major General Naji Mohammad Al Arashi, the commander of Brigade 201 in the southern province of Taiz, and the commander of Lahj’s Karash front.
Al Arashi, another senior military officer and several militants were killed in fierce clashes with government forces in Salo region in Taiz. Several other commanders have been killed in the northern city of Medi, another important frontline.
Since the Saudi-led coalition intervened militarily in Yemen in March 2015, dozens of field commanders loyal to Al Houthis and ousted president Ali Abdullah have been killed or captured on many fronts, in addition to the deaths of thousands of their fighters.
The kingdom of Saudi Arabia unveiled a list of 40 names of leaders and elements responsible for planning, executing and supporting various terrorist activities by the Al Houthi militant group, as well as financial rewards, for information leading to their arrest or whereabouts.
A list of 40 names of leaders and elements responsible for planning, executing and supporting various terrorist activities by the Houthi terrorist group, as well as financial rewards (shown against each name) for information leading to their arrest or whereabouts. The list was published by the kingdom of Saudi Arabia on November 6, 2017. - Saudi Press Agency
Yemen’s Ministry of Defence has said that as many as 145 Al Houthi militants have been killed in fierce fighting with government forces or by air strikes since the beginning of this month.