The Dictator Whose Hunger For Power Helped Tear Yemen Apart Is Dead

Yemen’s former authoritarian president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, was killed by political rivals on Monday outside the capital, Sanaa. Saleh’s unexpected death at age 75 puts an abrupt end to his decades-long run as the country’s wily power broker ― a legacy that has left Yemen in crisis and ruin.

Saleh’s rule over Yemen lasted for 33 years until he was forced to resign in 2012 amid a popular uprising. He never fully accepted losing the presidency, however, and in recent years became a central player in the country’s devastating civil war. 

As Yemen has sunk deeper into one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises since its civil war began in 2014, Saleh’s unrelenting dealmaking and desire for power never stopped. But Saleh, who famously described ruling Yemen as “dancing on the heads of snakes,” saw his longstanding ability to maneuver and manipulate the country’s fractious politics ultimately fail this week.

Just days before his death, he had shifted his allegiances and signaled he would turn against the Houthi rebels he had aligned with and instead link arms with Saudi Arabia. The decision sparked days of fighting in Sanaa between the Houthis and Saleh loyalists until Houthi rebels gained the upper hand. The Houthis, members of an Iran-supported rebel movement, claim they ambushed Saleh’s motorcade as he attempted to flee the capital. 

Now the civil war he stoked plunges into further uncertainty, and Yemenis face more suffering.

Houthi rebel fighters wait outside former President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s residence in Sanaa on Monday. (MOHAMMED HUWAIS via Getty Images)

Saleh’s Legacy Of Ruin

Even before Yemen fell into civil war and became the target of Saudi airstrikes, Saleh’s rule left the country in a fragile state. 

Yemen has long been one of the region’s most impoverished countries ― the year before Saleh was ousted, the annual income for the average Yemeni was around $1,000 U.S. dollars. As the country suffered from food shortages, falling oil production and economic mismanagement, Saleh amassed a fortune through corrupt dealings.

The United Nations alleges that Saleh managed to accumulate up to $60 billion during his time as president, most of which he shuffled out of the country and laundered. 

Saleh was also notorious for playing different political and sectarian groups in the country, using government funds to buy allegiances from local leaders and political groups. He also launched crackdowns on those who…

Read the full article from the Source…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *