Ali Abdullah Saleh, former President of Yemen - obituary

06 December, 2017, 01:09 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • Pro-legitimacy forces in Yemen

Saleh was once allied with the rebel Houthis, a Shiite group linked with Iran.

He also called for a joint ceasefire between his supporters and Houthi rebels, and the Saudi-led coalition, which has been bombing the impoverished country since March 2015 to get rid of the Iranian-backed rebels.

The former president of Yemen and a main player in its long-running civil war has been killed after an enemy faction attacked his house, according to reports.

The rebel leader claimed many ordinary Yemenis were shocked by (Saleh's) calls for strife, combat, upsetting peace and security, and he says he tried in a fraternal and peaceful way to avoid the current conflict by talking (with Saleh).

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Yemen's former President Ali Abdullah Saleh addresses a rally held to mark the 35th anniversary of the establishment of his General People's Congress party.

A video circulating online purported to show Saleh's body, his eyes open but glassy, motionless with a gaping head wound, as he was being carried in a blanket by rebel fighters.

Circumstances for the alleged death of Saleh, who was the leader of Yemen and its precursor Yemen Arab Republic for decades and cooperated with the US, were not immediately clear.

Ali Abdullah Saleh, the deposed president of Yemen who ruled for more than three decades, has died in the latest outbreak of violence in the country's civil war, members of Saleh's political party said Monday. He remained in the country, however, and continued to wield political power from behind the scenes.

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Without mentioning Saleh by name, he said that he knew about the ex-President's communication with the Saudis and his efforts to turn against the Houthis.

"Saleh's actions in Yemen, in working with his former opponents the Houthis, were complicating numerous efforts at resolving the conflict", Harrison Akins, a researcher with the Howard Baker Center, told Newsweek.

"In addition, the fault lines of the conflict pre-date Saleh's involvement with the Houthis and numerous foreign powers involved in the Yemeni conflict are driven by their own strategic interests in the region", he added. This week's fighting reportedly left aid workers trapped inside a building and unable to administer support to civilians. The Houthis have now declared victory over Saleh's forces in the Yemeni capital, adding that they had "cleansed" the city of Saleh's presence. The rivalry between Riyadh and Tehran, which has increased significantly in recent months, has exacerbated the conflict in Yemen.

"Fighting is restricting the movement of people and life-saving services within Sana'a city".

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The war-torn nation, which is also plagued by a severe cholera epidemic, is now coping with the world's largest humanitarian catastrophe as more than two thirds of the population need humanitarian assistance, UN said.

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