Thursday, 12 April 2012

New Bolder  Decrees Expected, Yemen's New  Leader Under Test

By Nasser Arrabyee, 12/04/2012

The defected general Ali Muhsen is to promote to deputy of the supreme commander of the armed forces during the coming 24 hours, said sources close to the Presidential Office on Thursday.

The general Ahmed Saeed Bin Braik will be appointed as the commander of the northern western  military region. 

 The first armored division will be merged into the 310 armored brigade. Then, the general Al Dhahri Al Shadadi will be appointed as the commander of 310 brigade. 

These decrees will enhance the last weeks's decrees  and reunite the army before the comprehensive national dialogue starts, the sources said.

The power of the  new President of Yemen Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi is now on a  real test. Earlier this week he took a number of bold decisions on the way of reforming army,security and local governments. 

The decisions fired senior officials loyal to the former President Ali Abdullah Saleh including some of his relatives. 

Mohammed Saleh Al Ahmar (half brother), commander of the  air forces, who was one of those officials changed by Hadi's decrees, set three conditions to be met before he hands the main base of the   air forces  which happened to be adjacent to the country's main airport of Sanaa, the capital. 

The commander Saleh's main condition as stated by his assistant, Abdullah Al Basha, was that the defected general Ali Muhsen, should  be fired before him or simultaneously with him. 

Before he defected to the Islamist opposition in March last year, the defected general Ali Muhsen was alwayse the second powerful man in the former regime. Now general Muhsen and the tribal leader Hamid Al Ahmar and their party, Islah, the Yemen brotherhood, are doing their best to replace their historic ally, Ali Abdullah Saleh. 

And now with Saleh already gone from power, general Muhsen, and tribal leader Hamid Al Ahmar, the billionaire who orchestrated the anti-Saleh uprising, are using all their power to have the new President Hadi fire the commander of the main army, Republican Guards, Ahmed Ali, son of Saleh, and keep general Muhsen in his position or even promote him because he supported the "revolution". 

Everybody in Yemen knows that the  most difficult decisions for the new President are not taken yet. All decisions taken so far, despite being bold, were only to pave the way for firing the defected general Ali Muhsen.

 Likewise, everybody knows that the 72-year old  defected general Ali Muhsen,would refuse any presidential  decision sacking him without firing the son, Ahmed, before him or simultaneously with him.

Although the US-backed and  Saudi-sponsored deal of peaceful  power transition did not put any condition that the new president should fire relatives of Saleh from army and security, general Muhsen and his tribal and Islamist allies insist on firing the son and nephews.

The President Hadi is facing a great pressure from  the former president Saleh's party, which forms 50% of the new  unity government on one hand, and from the international community especially the Americans, to fire general Ali Muhsen from his position as a commander of the first armored division. Internally, Saleh's supporters and party  consider  general Ali Muhsen the main part of the crisis, saying he should have been fired immediately after Saleh handed the power to the elected president Hadi in February 25,2012.

And US and the international community want  general Muhsen be fired for his historic links with extremist Islamist groups like Al Qaeda and Jihadists. 

General Muhsen is married to the sister of Tarek Al Fadhli, one of the Jihadist leaders , based in Abyan now, who worked for Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan for years in late 1980s.

 General Muhsen recruited more than 20,000 youngmen mostly from  the Sanaa-based Al Eman Islamic University during the period from  January 2011 to January 2012.  

Al Eman university is run by the extremist cleric Abdul Majid Al Zandani, who is officially accused by US and UN of supporting global terrorism.

The US spent millions and millions of dollars on training and equipping the Republican Guards, under the  38-year  Ahmed Ali (son) and Counter-terrorism Unit, under Yahya Saleh (nephew) and the National Security Agency, under Ammar Saleh (nephew). All these three professional commanders have been supposedly cooperating with US in the war against Al Qaeda.

Army of  Saleh's son, 'under command' of new President and former president     returns to sporting, socializing, and writing memoirs

This week, the  Republican Guards, the highly qualified and well-equipped army, said it would always be supportive to new elected President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi.

An official statemen said the RG would always be under the commands of the President Hadi to implement the whole deal of the transitional period.

The statement accused media loyal to defected military and tribal leaders of launching media campaigns to deform the image of the RG calling    the national unity government to review the media policy to serve the supreme national interests.

On his part, the former President, Ali Abdullah Saleh has turned to social ,cultural and sporting activities after he became a  normal citizen.

 In his modest house in the middle of the capital Sanaa, Saleh receives hundreds and sometimes thousands of his supporters and lovers and he happily goes to some important social occasions like weddings or paying tributes to those who lose dears.

On Thursday April 5,2012, for instance,Saleh attended a wedding ceremony that was held in his own village, Sanhan, where more than 40,000 tribesmen  were receiving him with traditional greeting  chants as a part of respecting the  honor guest.

In Wadi Jabara, in Sanahan, about 40 km to the east of the capital Sanaa,  thousands of gunmen were firing to the air when Saleh arrived to congratulate the three bridegrooms, sons of the tribal Sheikh Mohammed Ali Hunaish. Firing to air is a part of the traditional welcoming in such occasions.

In the cultural side, Saleh now is writing his memoirs under the title "My Story With Snakes" in a very obvious reference to his famous quotes " Ruling Yemen Is Like Dancing On The Heads Of Snakes."
In the book, Saleh will write the untold stories with the biggest " Snakes" who were with him all over his 33-year reign. 

The focus will be on the "Snakes" who tried to bite him but failed to kill him, according to some of those around Saleh,in a clear reference to those who were behind the assassination attempt on June 3,2011.

Saleh would tell the story he, as an orphan and son of a less than normal man, took power in 1978, and what was the role of his closest allies like general Ali Muhsen and tribal leader Abdullah Al Ahmar and his sons, who betrayed him at the end of the day by trying to ride the wave of the so-called Arab Spring. 

The book will be of two parts: the first part will end up with Saleh officially handing power and the flag of united Yemen to the new elected President in an unprecedented ceremony and with Saleh leaving the Presidential Palace while national anathem was being played.
The second part will be written only when Saleh quits as a head of his party,the People's General Congress, which was founded by Saleh in 24 of August, 1982.

For sporting activity, Saleh will return to his favorite club, Ahli Taiz Club, one of the largest and most important football clubs, which he was the honorary president in 1976 and 1977. Saleh would attend the important matches between Ahil Taiz and Shab Sanaa teams when he was the military commander of Taiz from 1975-1978. 


  1. Nasser, I appreciate your article. I think it is extemely informative, objective and factual. The battle from the begining was a power struggle between between Saleh and the extremesit( Islah, Ali Mohsin, Alzandani...>. The struggle has been there for decades.But, they have taken advantage of the Arabb Spring to portray it as a youth revolution. It is shameful if this group were to succeed.

  2. Nasser, your article is obviously pro saleh, please stop calling yourself balanced. Your as balanced as the leaning tower of Pisa.

    Anyone with even a 6th grade education can see what you are trying to get at.

  3. i can't believe that there are yemenis who can think as the author of this article .... the funnest thing is "modest house of the bigest thief"

  4. Nasser, I think your writing is as very objective and BALANCED. It is very difficult to find balance journalist within the arab community.