Monday, 21 March 2011

Looking for secured and honored exit for President Saleh despite fiery statements in Yemen

By Nasser Arrabyee/21/03/2011

The declared support of the second most powerful military commander for the “Yemen’s popular revolution” was likely coordinated to find out a solution for a peaceful transfer of power and a secured and honored exit for the President Saleh. And it does not necessarily mean confrontations between the republican guards and armored forces.

The Yemeni supreme council of defense said Monday it is against any coup or overthrow on the constitutional legitimacy represented by President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The foreign minister Abu Bakr Al Querbi flew late Monday to the Saudi king in Riyadh where Saudi-led regional mediation is going on.

Chaired by President Saleh, the council said it would be in a permanent meeting to follow up the military and security developments after important military commanders declared their support for what’s called the popular revolution against the President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s rule.
Before this meeting, a military statement published by the state-run media said, the armed forces would remain with the constitutional legitimacy and its president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Earlier in the day, the president Saleh addressed a gathering of tribesmen from Safan and Mankha west of the capital by saying “ We are as steadfast as the mountains of Nukum and Ayban and the majority of the people is with the security and stability.” Nukum and Ayban the highest two mountains around the capital Sana’a from the east and west respectively.

Troops with tanks and armored vehicles from the republican guards which are led by President Saleh’s son, Ahmed, were deployed late Monday, after the troops of the armored forces which are led by general Ali Muhsen were deployed around the anti-Saleh protesters earlier Monday and Sunday.

Earlier in the day, in an big turning point in the Yemeni crisis, the military commander of the northern region, Ali Muhsen, declared his support for the peaceful revolution against the 33-year rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The step came after the general Muhsen’s army (armored division1) was deployed around the sit-in camps nearby the university from Sunday 20 March 2011.

The troops of the armored division1 replaced the central security forces of the general Yahya Mohammed Abdullah Saleh, President’s Saleh’s nephew.

“On my behalf and on behalf of my colleagues in the armed forces, We are declaring our peaceful support for the peaceful revolution of the young people and their demands, and we will perform our duties fully in maintaining the security and stability in the capital and wherever our military units are, beside our brothers from the security forces,” The general said.

General Muhsen, one of the President Saleh's relatives (cousin not half brother) is considered the second most powerful military commander after Saleh. He was the main pillar of Saleh’s rule since Saleh took power in 1978.

General Muhsen has good reputation and good relations with most of Yemen’s tribal and religious leaders (he is religious himself).

His support to the popular revolution today, does not necessarily mean he has become an enemy of his longstanding commander and relative and does not mean armed confrontation between the two army divisions: armored forces of Ali Muhsen and republican guards of Saleh’s son Ahmed. At the same time, it does not mean conspiracy between the two powerful men against the protesters but it likely means, coordination for peaceful transfer of power and secure exist of Saleh.


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  2. Mr. Arrabyee - great insight as always. Western media reported on the entrance of tanks into the city, but did not comment on their mission. Is General Muhsen’s armored division the same division that was reported to be stationed by the Saleh Mosque?