Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 04, 2017

Yemen Without Saleh

Updated below

The former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has been killed today. He was 75 years old but still very active in Yemeni politics. Video of his dead body being thrown onto the back of a pickup is making the rounds. One hears Houthi slogans shouted in the background. The pictures show a gun wound on the chest and at the side of the head. The face is easily recognizable. There are also pictures of his ID card.

Though several media report his death there is no confirmation yet from his GPC party or his family.

Over the last few days Houthi media had announced several times that Saleh had been killed. This morning Saleh's house was blown up. This time the Houthi news proved right. The circumstances of Saleh's death are not yet known, but it was said that he was fleeing Sanaa when fate caught up with him.

As we wrote in our recap on Saturday, Saleh had suddenly made peace with the Saudis and asked his followers to take up arms against his former allies. For more than two years he had allied with the Houthi against the U.S. and UK supported Saudi invasion and proxy forces. On Friday, after several days of local clashes with the Houthi, he had called for his followers to throw the Houthi out of the Yemeni capital Sanaa.

For a day his fighters, led by some 1,000 soldiers of Saleh's personal guards, were successful and the Houthi were kicked out of many of their positions. But they were not defeated. They called up more of their troops and on Sunday regained the lost ground and buildings. They occupied Saleh's media. His TV station started to transmit his enemies chants. Over the last night and throughout today they defeated Saleh's troops.

It is yet a mystery why not more of Saleh's supporters came to his help. Sanaa is his home turf and whenever he had called for demonstrations in the city, hundreds of thousands attended. For much of his 34 years of rule as president and even after his forced resignation Saleh could call on the seven "collar tribes" who's territory surround the capital. This time they did not come to his aid. Saleh also continued to command significant parts of the former Yemeni army. These currently hold positions far outside of Sanaa against Saudi proxy forces who try to conquer the mountainous territory of northwest Yemen. One wonders why he had not called them back in time. 

It may be that his unexpected turn-on-a-dime towards a new alliance with the eternal enemies of Yemen, the Saudis, has alienated his followers.

The Saleh family and clan is quite big and resourceful. Many of his relatives have held high military positions in the Yemeni army and keep enough money to pay for their troops loyalty. Some nephew of his may take up his banner. It is unsure though if such a replacement could gain the following of the former army units Ali Abdullah could call on.

The Saudis had recently bet on Saleh to end the stalemate in their war on Yemen. Had he won out, it could have meant a pause in the war and probably its end. With the Houthi now having the upper hand in Sanaa, the war, the permanent Saudi bombing and the blockade of Yemen are likely to continue. The Houthi will continue to attack within Saudi Arabia and the fight against the Saudi proxy forces on the ground will go on.

It will need another breakthrough event for the war to stop.


In previous pieces on Yemen MoA had quoted Haykal Bafana and Iona Craig. Both live in Yemen. Here are their first thoughts on Ali Abdullah Saleh's death:

@BaFana3 - 6:49 AM - 4 Dec 2017

I cannot describe the deep grief I feel. Ali Abdullah Saleh was the greatest leader #Yemen ever had. He never surrendered: He died a martyr in his homeland Yemen, as a Yemeni fighting for Yemen's cause. I salute Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, both in life and in death.


@ionacraig - 6:13 AM - 4 Dec 2017

I was 1st foreign journalist to interview Saleh after he stepped down. He said his memoirs wouldn't be published until after his death as they contained secrets about many people. I responded "So a lot of people should be afraid the day that you die?" He laughed & said "InshAllah"

Followers of Saleh and his family will now consider revenge against the Houthi for Saleh's death as their highest priority:

@SaadAbedine - 2:21 PM - 4 Dec 2017

Unconfirmed reports that Ahmed, #Saleh’s eldest son & former commander of #Yemen’s Republican Guard, will be addressing the nation tonight at 9 PM local & that he was released from his house arrest in #UAE, en route to Marib to lead the fight & seek revenge from #Houthi rebels

Posted by b on December 4, 2017 at 13:23 UTC | Permalink

next page »

I don't think Russia won this time, since Saleh is dead, but the rest of your assessment is now obvious: everyone in Yemen loses yet again. And, as has been the norm in 2017, the Saudis lose big time once again, with their brilliant plan backfiring.
As many observers, I guess, I'm curious to see if it's Saleh's usual supporters (locals and military) who abandoned him when he wanted to play nice with the Saudis, or if he just miscalculated and moved before his own military assets in position to defend him and to get rid of the Houthis around Sanaa (or even without planning for it). That might be a big hint as to which side - Houthis / Saudis-Hadi - the bulk of Saleh supporters and Yemeni (former) military will back from now on - or if there will be a big split among these troops. Unless the Saudis manage to get on board the majority of pro-Saleh fighters, though, their odds of "victory" are quite thin, or in a distant future.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Dec 4 2017 13:33 utc | 1

I am surprised the article suggest Saleh had popular support, I have not heard of any non-paid or government sponsored support for Saleh among his people since three years before the yemeni ran Saleh out of Yemen before the war started. Saleh was a Saudi Puppeteer. Some how in recent years the Saudi have made themselves unpopular among the middle eastern nations

Posted by: fudmier | Dec 4 2017 13:48 utc | 2

Amazing to see this site reporting Saleh switching sides as either a good thing or as a sustainable solution. If Russia wants to help bring about a sustainable solution that would have to involve leading international pressure on the US and Saudi Arabia to stop their brutal and cruel war and maybe setting up talks between the parties independently. But that wonderful good guy Putin is so busy making deals with the most evil people in the world that he doesn't have time or concern for actual justice and fairness based solutions for anything. Another day is another opportunity to sell weapons to whomever will buy them!!! Whoah, except to Russian's long term allies - they get jack

Posted by: paul | Dec 4 2017 14:09 utc | 3

There is some confirmation.

"Sources from Yemen's General People's Congress confirmed their leader and ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh was killed on Monday during fierce clashes in the capital Sanaa with Houthi militias."

Posted by: Partisan | Dec 4 2017 14:15 utc | 4

'Saleh was a Saudi Puppeteer."

I believe he was the UAE puppet. The airport and that area where he lived is/was under the UAE control (thus if you will than under the KSA) and protection. His son long time UAE, Yemeni's ambassador and one who supposed to succeed Saleh at the throne is living in UAE.

Now an Iranian news agency have an interesting article.

Media Advisor to the Yemeni Supreme Political Council, Ahmed al-Habishi, announced Monday that former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has been killed in the area controlled by UAE air force.

Reports quote him as saying that UAE fighter jets, which belong to the Saudi coalition, carried out airstrikes on Ali Abdullah Saleh's positions last night.

I do not believe in this but...

Posted by: Partisan | Dec 4 2017 14:24 utc | 5

Rouhani calls for solving regional disputes by dialogue

This obviously will be the solution.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 4 2017 14:24 utc | 6

add to 6

and there will have to be a solution

Did American Missile
Defense Fail in Saudi Arabia?

The findings show that the Iranian-backed Houthis, once a ragtag group of rebels, have grown powerful enough to strike major targets in Saudi Arabia, possibly shifting the balance of their years-long war. And they underscore longstanding doubts about missile defense technology, a centerpiece of American and allied national defense strategies, particularly against Iran and North Korea.

“Governments lie about the effectiveness of these systems. Or they’re misinformed,” said Jeffrey Lewis, an analyst who led the research team, which shared its findings with The New York Times. “And that should worry the hell out of us.”

Is Israeli missile defence any better?

Posted by: somebody | Dec 4 2017 14:28 utc | 7

Saleh's party confirms his death

Posted by: Partisan | Dec 4 2017 14:29 utc | 8

Dear B., your analyze of the situation on the ground was wrong. You have simply to admit that. Instead you are wondering why the allegedly existing huge support for Saleh was not mobilized. You underestimate the fury of a population being bombed by Saudis for a long time. You claimed the turn of Saleh to Saudis camp will pave the way for a sustainable solution. That was wrong. Saleh was isolated through this maneuver and it was just a matter of time to be defeated. Also Russians wouldn't play such a game. I think they are aware that the situation in Yemen cannot be simply solved through an appeasement with Saudis.

Posted by: bs | Dec 4 2017 14:36 utc | 9

Iran will be blamed

Posted by: @Madderhatter67 | Dec 4 2017 14:45 utc | 10

Yemen's former president, who once said that governing the Arabian Peninsula country was like "dancing on the heads of snakes".

That the Houthis were watching him carefully and in minute confirm events and his killing in matter of hours since he switched allegiance once again to the KSA.

Posted by: Partisan | Dec 4 2017 14:52 utc | 11

Now that Saudi Arabia and its allies have lost the last chance for a flip in the Yemen military situation and that their own land is been threatened by Houthis missiles, they have the following choices:
1)double down and totally destroy Sanaa indifferent to the civilian casualties, hoping that this would eliminate the Houthis. This is a fantasy similar to 2006 Israel's fantasy of eliminating Hezbollah in Lebanon.

2) Accept to negotiate a face saving deal directly with the Houthis using a neutral mediator such as Oman. That has little chance to work unless the big power present in the region are involved (Iran, Turkey, Russia)

3) Accept Rouhani's invitation to negotiate a global solution involving Syria and Yemen. This is ambitious but seems to be the most effective solution. Saudi Arabia will have to give up something in Syria to regain some control over Yemen.

Posted by: Virgile | Dec 4 2017 15:13 utc | 12

Saudi warplanes unleash massive bombing campaign in Yemen's capital

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 4 2017 15:16 utc | 13

Thanks for your thoughts. I enjoy your unique perspective and assessments.
Keep working that big brain of yours and keep your analyses coming. Voices like yours are those that make a difference in this world.
Keep up the great work!

Posted by: Avalon | Dec 4 2017 15:18 utc | 14

He sold his soul to the Saudi regime, the same regime whos bombing his people, no sympathies for this traitor.

Posted by: cisotagori | Dec 4 2017 15:20 utc | 15

In the last thread about Yemen and Saleh, I went back to read b's post a couple of times. It was filled with nuances regarding possibilities and unknowns that largely seemed to be ignored in the discussion thread. Before anyone wants to claim that b'a original report was wrong, I urge them to go back and read it.

What is clear is that the Russians saved Saleh's life. It was a Russian medical team that flew into Sanaa to perform the life-saving operation. And the Saudis let them in. But it's clear that Saleh was never anyone's puppet, even now. What we don't know yet is the Russian thinking in all this. Did they miscalculate? Or were they, once again, striving not to win wars but create peace, in a move that kept one of the potential players alive?

I don't see that that Russian prestige is in any way diminished in the region. No one ever said this was a Russian-brokered peace agreement. And it remains true that the region can only turn to Russia for help, not to the US.

As to local support for Saleh, I certainly saw it in some of the sources I looked at while the battle for the city was ongoing. Consider these two conflicting attitudes:

From Haykal Bafan, lawyer living in Sanaa, whom I often referred to for sound perspective and truth:

I cannot describe the deep grief I feel. Ali Abdullah Saleh was the greatest leader #Yemen ever had. He never surrendered: He died a martyr in his homeland Yemen, as a Yemeni fighting for Yemen's cause. I salute Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, both in life and in death.

And this from @Brasco_Aad, 2 days ago:

#Salah turning on the #Houthis all of a sudden comes after the geniuses Jared Kushner and Mohammed bin Salman made him a offer he couldn't refuse. This shows how desperate Salah really is, because the Kusnher-MbS combo is losing big time in the ME (Qatar, Lebanon, Syria)


From Nadwa Dawsari, Yemen tribal expert (and not a friend of the Houthis), some interesting comments:

Houthis who killed Saleh were saying "your revenge Sayyidi Hussein." Hussein Al-Houthis was the founder of the rebel group and was killed by orders from Saleh in 2004. #Yemen

Sources confirm Saleh was killed after all. The man who danced his whole life on the heads of snakes was killed today by one of his pet snakes. #Yemen -
The next few days will be hell. Either Houthis will take full control of Sanaa or coalition & Hadi forces will push into city with full force in coordination with GPC. Both scenarios will likely involve many civilian casualties. Hearts and minds with Sanaa. #Yemen -

Posted by: Grieved | Dec 4 2017 15:41 utc | 16

I've never set foot in Yemen but it seems to me that the Houthi did more than anyone to defend their country against the Saudi invaders and then Saleh tried to throw the Houthi under the bus.

What kind of peace throws half the population under the bus?

Posted by: Dan Lynch | Dec 4 2017 16:03 utc | 17

Iran calls on Yemeni groups to hold dialogue
TEHRAN - Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Sunday that the Yemeni groups should hold dialogue and prevent foreign interference. -- Tehran Times

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 4 2017 16:13 utc | 18

I'm pretty sure this was an attempt by MbS in Riyadh to get Saleh to defect, and thus weaken the regime in San'a at a blow. And it went wrong. Not as successful as Abbadi's coup with the Talebani Kurds over Kirkuk, but inspired by it, I would say. Is the loss of his supporters going to damage the Houthis? He didn't seem to have a lot left at the end, 1000 round his house.

Posted by: Laguerre | Dec 4 2017 16:19 utc | 19

In the end every war is fueled and self-perpetuate by revenge for immediate suffering which has transformative power in political, ethical and cultural dimension. And this overshadows all rational politics especially in tribal societies as in Yemen. Hence all predictions based on rationality or Freudian psychological profiling are always off.
Our moral biases also lead us astray from cold objective assessment of madness of war.
Hence one must recognize that Houties transformed politically into extreme Islamic radicals by war itself which promotes extremism as long as it hurts enemies.

Now Yemeni quite developed civil society has been eradicated as in Iraq, it could take decades before some of it is rebuilt when will and capacity to war subsides helped by ruins and tens of thousands dead.

The only winners of any war are those who do not wage it but exploit those who do.

Posted by: Kalen | Dec 4 2017 16:24 utc | 20

Interesting article about Saleh. Take it with a grain of salt as it is Al Jazeera.

Posted by: Alaric | Dec 4 2017 16:26 utc | 21

Saleh made an alliance with the devil. One that not only starves millions into submission and bombs civilians and funerals in the most horrific ways but is also the number 1 terrorist support world wide. Good riddence. Let's hope this "hickup" hasn't weakened the Houthis too much.

Posted by: xor | Dec 4 2017 16:37 utc | 22

@ Laguerre #19
Saleh did defect which is why is was killed.
"to forsake one cause, party, or nation for another often because of a change in ideology"

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 4 2017 16:39 utc | 23

@ Laguerre #19

9 hours ago - Saleh issued the following as per this tweeter a/c:

Four hours later, he was dead.

Posted by: Yul | Dec 4 2017 16:48 utc | 24

thanks b and thanks grieved for articulating some of my own thoughts.. even in this thread - folks speak from some position of knowing just what saleh did.. it is amazing how they know so much! i am saddened that the ordinary people of yemen are back to square one with the freaks mbs, mbz...those 2 need to go to prison asap..

Posted by: james | Dec 4 2017 16:52 utc | 25

Well, the Yemen war has now taken center stage. No more second-class side-show for the suffering in the Sanaa. As a christian a revenge killing is abhorrent and smacks of the perils of the MENA in general, but perhaps the Houthis were justified as other posters have laid out. Just another reason why us westerners have no fucking clue about the ME when we attempt regime change and the like. The Houthis are the living embodiment of that refusal to be tamed.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Dec 4 2017 17:14 utc | 26

re Don 24

The attempt was by MbS to carry out a coup, which did indeed get Saleh to defect, but the coup failed, as the Houthis are now left in control of San'a.

As I say, I was interested by the parallelism between this coup, and the coup carried out by Abbadi in Kirkuk, when Baghdad convinced the Peshmerga of the Talebani faction to abandon their positions and retreat back to the KRG border. The KRG subsequently agreed to accept the supreme court's decision on the unity of Iraq, and accepted autonomy instead of independence. That was a brilliantly successful coup, and I suspect convinced MbS in Riyadh to try something similar. But he didn't get it right, as he frequently doesn't.

Posted by: Laguerre | Dec 4 2017 17:15 utc | 27

The war on Yemen will be continued thanks to its geographic location until NATO ceases trying to capture it via its Saudi proxy. I fear the only move remaining for Houthis is to target Saudi oil infrastructure with their missiles, which they will certainly do since they tried to hit a UAE nuclear reactor. Twitter somewhat quiet at the moment. But here's one:

jeremy scahill‏Verified account @jeremyscahill · 3h3 hours ago

"Ali Abdullah Saleh danced on the heads of snakes, played all sides, backed the Houthis, waged war on the Houthis, worked for US interests, worked for Iran interests. Worked against US interests, helped al Qaeda, killed al Qaeda. Killed a lot of Yemenis. Quite a life."

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 4 2017 17:22 utc | 28

What is real motivation of Saleh to hand an olive branch to the Saudis? Was it a temporary trick to prevent the total destruction of Sanaa? Was it because of a hefty offer from Saudi Arabia to save his life,retire in the UAE and let Hadi back?
In any case the Houthis saw him as a traitor or a coward. It seems that many of Saleh's followers thought that too.

Posted by: Virgile | Dec 4 2017 17:25 utc | 29

When Saudis lost Syria they and their shia hating proxies in Yemen now plan invasion? of Yemen instead. With the support of the west obviously.

Posted by: Anon | Dec 4 2017 17:26 utc | 30

the fact that (imho) bernhard got this so wrong is confirmation of this sites' bona fides. I'm happy to see that (imho) once in a while bernhard displays some pretty clear biases and (imho) gets things wrong to varying degrees.
This site is a great information resource, as always though it's up to the individual to gather info and make up their own mind.
This one was pretty easy to see coming.

Posted by: alapaka | Dec 4 2017 17:27 utc | 31

@12 Virgile
"3) Accept Rouhani's invitation to negotiate a global solution involving Syria and Yemen. This is ambitious but seems to be the most effective solution. "
It took 30 years for Europe to understand this, way back in 1648. Not sure the Middle-East is at this point already, so I fear a few more wars, a couple more destroyed countries and a few more million dead will be required before they're ready to admit no one can totally dominate the area...

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Dec 4 2017 17:34 utc | 32

Re Paul
George Bernard Shaw once said that Lenin was "the only really interesting statesman in Europe". Looking at today's lot, Putin seems the only one around that would merit such a description.

Posted by: Shakesvshav | Dec 4 2017 17:35 utc | 33

Regarding b getting this wrong:

He could not get the future right every time. He got an analysis correct. Assumption was Saleh, the snake, was devious enough to know Timing and Logistics matter. Saleh's internal conflicts were unknowable.

So, b got little wrong, except doing what all of us get wrong is projecting the next flow of events.
Saleh got it wrong. That's who got things wrong.

b is excellent at analysis based on facts. It's an art form, not a science.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Dec 4 2017 17:52 utc | 34

Saleh's flip-flop had nothing to do with the people of Yemen, only to re- install himself at the top. This is why so few answered his call and came out to support him. Save for some big new information, I don't see how other explanations are possible.

If Saleh legitimately had wanted to end the fighting he would have gone to the Houthis first, then presented a unified offer to Saudi. By calling for "brotherly love" from Riyadh after falling out with the Houthis, he was simply trying to salvage his position. Many of his supporters saw it such.

As far as the Bafana tweet goes, anyone calling Saleh "the greatest leader Yemen ever had" is hardly a nuanced or neutral observer and should be taken with a grain of salt. Giving credit where credit is due, he was - at times - a force for stabilization and unity. However, at many times he was the opposite, killing Hussein al-Houthi, playing one tribe against another, or region against another. Moreover, he siphoned billions from a starving country and presided over levels of corruption hardly rivaled anywhere else in earth. Hardly a "great leader" in my opinion.

Posted by: Don Wiscacho | Dec 4 2017 17:54 utc | 35

It looks like more fighting is in store for the people in Yemen. That is sad.

The Houthi were able to kill Saleh and take Sanna back quite quickly. That suggests little support for Saleh and hopefully little support amongst Saleh’s former supporters to attack the Houthi in retaliation for his death. It could be that making a deal with the Saudi’s alienated his followers or maybe 34 years of Saleh was enough for most. Plus a system based on bribes cannot be maintained when people know you’ve run out of money.

Posted by: Alaric | Dec 4 2017 18:00 utc | 36

Lesson of history: nothing aligns a population against outside forces like persistent aerial bombardment that targets civilians. That's the simplest explanation as to why Saleh lost popular support after throwing in with the House of Saud and the UAE. What are the Saudis going to do now, parachute Hadi into Sanaa where the cheering crowds will, ah, hang him high?

It's hard to see what motivated the Saudis and the UAE to try this Yemen intervention at all, or why the U.S. didn't tell them it was an idiotic idea in 2015. There are only two plausible motivations for the assault on Yemen:

First, the Houthis were pushing for what amounts to parliamentary representation in government. In a largely tribal society like Yemen, this seems the only stable long-term option - every tribe gets seats in parliament and shares power with the de facto leader, Saleh or whoever. The Sauds and UAE's despots are absolutely opposed to granting any such concessions in their own countries to populist rule.

Second, the Sauds, led by MbS, and UAE's MbZ are endlessly paranoid about Iran, and have been for years. They see themselves in the downfallen Shah of Iran, for obvious reasons. Regardless, Iranian involvement in Yemen has been pretty minimal by all accounts (see State Department cables). Iran's big economic play is coordination with Iraq, Syria and Lebanon to open a trading route to the Mediterranean and Europe. Yemen doesn't help that at all, though anything that upsets the Saudis makes Iran happy. MbS and MbZ come off looking like paranoid megalomaniacs, yet the idiots in Washington keep propping them up. Outlaw US Empire indeed. They probably did it as some quid pro for another bloated arms deal, with plenty of dirty cash greasing boths sides of the bargain.

Nice article @7 somebody, by the way. Those missile defense systems were always tested under optimal conditions, and suspicions about their effectiveness (and rigged tests, too) date back decades - and better technology doesn't really help. They just can't deal with real world conditions, multiple targets, weather complications, etc. T. Postol (MIT) explained this well.

Posted by: nonsense factory | Dec 4 2017 18:02 utc | 37

@ Virgile @12 and 30.
It would be interesting to know what did happened between Dec 2nd, 3rd and today if we go by this:

Saleh has asked Hizb'allah and Iran to mediate and then UAE interceded on the other side to get MBS to accept him to end the war.

Posted by: Yul | Dec 4 2017 18:03 utc | 38

paul | Dec 4, 2017 9:09:28 AM | 3

Your use of the word 'evil' is superfluous. There are enough attributes that fir that shoe without tying any behavior to the religious delusion.

Secondly, you are absolutely pathetic in your judgement of Vladimir Putin. Who are you that you dare to judge this most integer states man on Earth at this moment? A person that is responsible only for the well being of his people and he takes that responsibility serious. He works for Russia not for you or any other clown.

Putin has averted WW III several times already and little twats are still spewing their ignorant propaganda at him. Grow up, or be truly ignored. Nobody has the mental capacity to look through the dynamics of the present global disaster. You of all, the least.

Posted by: notheonly1 | Dec 4 2017 18:27 utc | 39

@Red Ryder

Regarding b getting this wrong:

He could not get the future right every time. He got an analysis correct. Assumption was Saleh, the snake, was devious enough to know Timing and Logistics matter. Saleh's internal conflicts were unknowable.

No way. The matter was not he didn't have enough information. B's analyze was based on his viewpoint and not on the facts. I agree that this site is a very good source with brilliant analysis. But this time I'm afraid B got the things wrong and he is continuing that. See the update with the quotation of two pro Saleh Yemenis who are cited very favorable. B's assumption was the turn of from Saleh would bring peace to Yemen. The desire for peace let him forget to which price. Saleh was using the fate of millions Yemenis as bargaining chips. The result of such a peace would be an even more assertive KSA with a stronger position in the region. I hope B revises his analysis.

Posted by: bs | Dec 4 2017 18:34 utc | 40

Get real folks. Saleh or no Saleh, this war has been fought against the Houthi,the "Shia".

The war against the Houthi was never going to end with Saleh switching allegiance to the House of Saud and the UAE. Saleh was irrelevant. His power was limited.

Nothing has changed nor would have changed in the fighting. And nothing will change until the Houthis are given their due and the House of Saud sues for peace, negotiating directly with the "Shia", and paying reparations for the war crimes they have commited.

Posted by: Blue | Dec 4 2017 18:39 utc | 41

What I was able to read from b's assessment about the Yemeni situation did no exclude this self-dynamic presently and now even more so unfolding. People generally believe that they call the shots. Saleh was no difference. He played everybody, in the delusions of grandeur that he would succeed with it.

That in turn could have been the case, if there wouldn't be a genocide perpetrated on the Yemeni people. He played his cards from a deck we can't know. We might know the obvious, but certainly not the deeper machinations at play. In the end he overestimated his possibilities and influence to bring about an end to the genocide. That he aligned with the clown prince might have been his fatal mistake.

Syria only continues to exist because of Russia and its leadership. Saleh could - looking at the successful extermination of ISIS, in spite of ISIS getting re-prepped, re-armed and pampered by the US and NATO - have asked Putin to help the COUNTRY YEMEN. Not himself, as it now looks like. He ended up the way he did, because the Yemeni population was sacrificed for personal reassurances. Saleh did ultimately abandon his country for whatever deal there might have been.

But there was only one deal possible and it is hopefully now in the making. Complete withdrawal of all foreign fighters/forces. Installing a NO-FLY zone for SA, US, UAE, NATO fighter jets. With S-400, there would have not been this massacre with impunity. If the world community does not stand up to the SA/US/UK/FR/DE/NATO terror, the genocide will continue.

Howe about some crowd funding to get the Yemeni people proper air defense?

It is appalling that some (likely paid stooges) completely ignore the facts on the ground in all these countries. It is innocent people, women, children and the elderly that re butchered, bombed, tortured,starved and pushed around from one refugee camp to the next.

Never would I have thought in my deepest concerns that the 21st century would be nothing but the continuation of 20th century Fascism with new technologies and manipulative capabilities, bringing more destruction, suffering and pain about than Nazi Germany ever did. People need to wake the fuck up and reject their own leaders' Fascism instead of catering to it.

Posted by: notheonly1 | Dec 4 2017 18:49 utc | 42

@39 Yul

If the (Jazeera) report is true, her point seems valid, that this shows the importance of the Houthis, that Saleh would ask for help against them. If true, it seems immensely devious that Saleh would cut a deal with Saudi and then turn to Iran/Hizbullah to counter it. The way of the snake, presumably. It would be good to get some commentary from Nasrallah on this one day.

To guess the forthcoming "flow of events" as Red Ryder puts it nicely, it looks like seeing what kind of support Hadi now commands against the Houthi. After the outcome of that test, we can guess how the future war will proceed.

If what actually transpires is that this move by Saleh and Saudi/UAE has acted to make the Houthi the acknowledged defenders of Yemen, then we could expect them to consolidate military force and take the war to Saudi Arabia in a very serious way.

Posted by: Grieved | Dec 4 2017 18:53 utc | 43

One thing is clear: Saleh overture to KSA was not consulted with Huthis, and MbS position in respect to Yemen is roughly the same as in the case of Lebanon: the only solution that he accepts is disarming Shia militias (Hezbollah, Huthis) AND elimination of Shia from the political power. That gives Huthis and Hezbollah no choice at all: live and prosper (the the meager extend available in Yemen) or die and/or be send to a garbage can.

It is interesting how Saleh, a very wily operator throughout his life, made such a huge blunder. Possibly, he was misled by people that were supposed to support him -- I assume that he tried to check the situation in advance.

Concerning MbS, I found a very interesting article in Al-Jazeera:

Muhammad bin Kushner, Jared bin Salman, Daffy Duck & Co, by Hamid Dabashi

After a series of blunders, the position of Muhammad, Jared and their fathers (father-in-laws) seems somewhat shaky within the West. Only tangentially, that relates to "cretin paradox": you cannot trust a cretin, because cretins never tell the truth, said a cretin.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 4 2017 18:54 utc | 44

The western press, after a delayed start, are now reporting on Saleh's death. Here is the sub-headline in the Guardian: Iran-backed militia says it killed Saleh, who sought peace with Saudi Arabia, as he fled the Yemeni capital, Sana’a. The NY Times refer to "Iran backed Houthis" killed Saleh because of his efforts to end the Yeman war.

Except to see a full fledged propaganda campaign from the US praising Saleh as peace-maker who was assassinated by the evil Iranians.

Posted by: ToivoS | Dec 4 2017 19:05 utc | 45

Saleh allied with the Houthis and then betrayed them and now we are to view him as a martyr?!!!

Posted by: paul | Dec 4 2017 19:05 utc | 46

Agree=> Hardly a "great leader" excellent comments at 7, 37, 38.. and
My summary from link below Abdul-Malik Al-Houthi, president- Ansarullah Yemen, has removed the armed forces led by Ali Jabudullah Saleh, former Yemen President in his plot against Yemen. The missile hit at Barakah nuclear reactor at Abu Dhabi, UAE on Sunday shows long-range “ballistic missile power” capable to hit targets in Saudi Arabia or UAE. investments in Oman, Kuwait, or Yemen capital are safer for foreign companies than those doing business in either Saudi Arabia or UAE.

Posted by: fudmier | Dec 4 2017 19:13 utc | 47

Interesting to note the UAE's increasing ME influence in the shadows of the KSA. The UAE played a significant role in the MBS coup/purge, guaranteeing the safety and protection for MBS inside KSA with UAE SF-types. They also supposedly suppplied the Erik Prince, UAE-based R2 (Blackwater) mercs to MBS for 'enhanced encouragement sessions' on the imprisoned royals to divulge where their gold was hidden and maybe rat out a few other royals as well. Jared Kushner is supposedly in daily contact with the UAE's ambassador to the US. Now there's reports that dumping Hadi for Saleh and Saleh's decision to marginalize the Houthis was concocted between the UAE and KSA(MBS?) in Abu Dhabi last June!

In a new Al Jazeera article, How did Yemen's Houthi-Saleh alliance collapse? - speaking about Saleh's son Ahmed:

"The UAE has been keeping ahold of Ahmed should anything happen to his father. In that event, they plan to immediately dispatch him to Yemen to take over his [Saleh's] role," Alazzany said.

"The UAE has always had plans for him. He's a tool, just like how former Afghan President Hamid Karzai was used by the US. When the time is right, they'll use him to do whatever they want."

The Saudis/UAE apparently never saw the elder Saleh as a long-term leader. He was to cut off the Houthi and unify/stabilize the country long enough (a year or two?) before his son took over.

The UAE having their boy Ahmed in charge would clearly be a win for the Saudi coalition in Yemen. This would also free up the Saudi coalition to focus entirely on exterminating the Houthis - or rather 'support Ahmed Saleh-led Yemeni military forces' (with air power, arms, mercs) to do the same.

Not sure how that would work out now - Saleh was proven to have little military support in the north, and one wonders how much success he would have in the south even with KSA/UAE blessings. It might not really matter to the Saudi coalition at this point. They could walk away from Yemen with their stooge in power, and leave the Houthi 'problem' to Ahmed. He would be the one that failed against the Houthis, not the Saudi coalition.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Dec 4 2017 19:14 utc | 48

B, you would be well advised to explicitly admit that you were wrong in your last analysis, which was filled with too much confidence in Saleh's military strength.

Posted by: Pnyx | Dec 4 2017 19:15 utc | 49

Let's remember that some reports said Mansour Hadi was taken in custody during or soon after the saoudi "night of the long knives", that strange decision (at the time) make sense now if that was a move toward Saleh meaning that he or his son could now be sustained by western-zionists to be the next president of Yemen (if he fight against the houthi.)

I don't know the position of the russians on Saleh, maybe Saleh could be seen as some yemeni equivalent of Haftar in Lybia but note that Haftar has not yet brought peace to lybia and probably never will. Western-zionists imperialists don't want peace,they want permanent war and chaos. The Yemen war is not a local war its part of a global war.

If the only arab nationalists that remain are snakes who don't hesitate to ally with zionists we are he deep trouble.

For the author of this blog, it seems you have a negative opinion of houthis, thats not a problem we all know by reading you that you are a honest and trustworthy person and we all know that history is not black and white so i personnally would like to hear your arguments.

Posted by: zeze | Dec 4 2017 19:39 utc | 50

Pnyx@50 - b's analysis was only wrong in the sense that nobody could have possibly known that Saleh had already rolled for the Saudis/UAE six months ago. The terms were hashed out between the Saudis, the UAE and Saleh's son in Abu Dhabi and passed along to the Saleh in Yemen.

This was all a charade to make Saleh look like a legitimate leader fighting for the 'little people' in Yemen against the evil Saudi coalition, but magnanimously willing to make peace with them. He wasn't really asking anything from the Saudis all along - it was all scripted. Part of the job his Saudi/UAE masters tasked him with was demonizing the Houthis and isolating them from a unified Yemen, facilitating their eventual pacification or extermination. Saleh's - Yemen's - reconciliation with Saudi Arabia was already negotiated and in the bag. That particular act of the play just hadn't occurred yet.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Dec 4 2017 19:39 utc | 51

Hi, B. It seems Salah launched a surprise attack on his allies, having switched sides, and then lost. Death is often the result of a too clever by half betrayal followed by defeat. And while I'm sure his son is upset about his father's death, I'm not sure that many others will be. To what degree the UAE and KSA can use Salah's death as a propaganda piece remains to be seen, but I'm dubious.

Posted by: lysander | Dec 4 2017 19:41 utc | 52

Get over it folks. B offers impressive analysis for free. I appreciate it and attacking the man for not having a fortune telling crystal ball is pointless and kind of rude really. Move on already.

Saleh seemed to lack expected support. Let's see what happens next. Better yet call your representative and complain about supporting Saudi/UAE.

Posted by: Alaric | Dec 4 2017 19:48 utc | 53

Completely agree with Alaric. B has had an accuracy rate of about 99% in the 11 years I have been reading MofA. Unless you have a better rate, keep you comments modest.

Posted by: lysander | Dec 4 2017 19:58 utc | 54

It looks like Saleh was killed because troops that he considered loyal were troops that were no longer willing to risk their lives for him. One might conclude that their hatred of the Saudis exceeded their loyalty to Saleh. Maybe after the Saudis dropped all of those bombs and blockaded their country many Yemenese changed their priorities. If that is what happened it is naive in the extreme for the Saudis or UAE to believe that Saleh's son will have any kind of following that would allow him to return to Yemen.

Posted by: ToivoS | Dec 4 2017 20:19 utc | 55

@54 and @55

Completely agree, this site is one of the best resources available in my opinion.

Posted by: spudski | Dec 4 2017 20:19 utc | 56

My impression is that If Russia was involved in negotiations, some deal would have been made to bring peace to Yemen, rather than a total win, allowing the Saudi's to pull out without losing face. From what I have read of tribal culture in Yemen, this would be unacceptable for many. Then again Saleh may have simply got a good deal from the Saudi's for himself.
The Houthi's seem like they will fight to the last man, woman and child to win, rather than accept a negotiated solution. With US support, SA can keep up the bombing and blockade for a long time, so a lot of men, women and children in Yemen will die.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 4 2017 20:27 utc | 57

@ 54 - 55

Absolutely.Even with being a contributing element, that does not give one the right to complain about whatever it is that turns out differently than alleged. 'B' does an excellent service to those who care to get a valuable assessment over the situations we are confronted with. There is no flaw, there might be a 'leaning out' of the proverbial window and that will invariably be subjected to the unfolding of events.

Remember all the wonderful stories about Adolf Hitler? The Western press couldn't write enough praise about him...

This website is a beacon of understanding in a completely blacked out media Universe. Moments ago I listened to Nazi Propaganda Radio and to no surprise, everything was more important than this news. Wasting time talking about the NFL, about Netflix and the new offerings for FB users that are below the legal age to participate in it (which is actually no small matter, considering the degree of brainwashing to be had there), and then of course more about sexual allegations.

Not one single word about Yemen, or Saleh at that. Not the briefest notion about Syria and the dangerous double game the US is playing there. Nothing. It shows once more, that the omission of important developments in these (proxy) wars amounts also to propaganda.

While not directly related to Yemen, this news at Strategic Culture shows how quickly things change in a highly dynamic political and Geo-strategic environment: Russia, Egypt: Agreement to Allow Respective Air Forces to Use Each Other's Airspace and Bases.

Ponder about the differences of building bases all over the planet, and to be able to operate on and opening up each others military bases. The first is costly and only works via corruption and blackmailing of the countries that have to accept US bases, or else, and the latter a next to cost free alternative based on the mutual goals the cooperating countries have in common.

Putin is not wasting precious resources while the Fascist empire drains its population from essential public services to shoe these monies into the gaping hole called MI-Surveillance-Complex.

There is only gratefulness on this side for 'b's analytical outlet. Comes the time, I will make that clear.

Posted by: notheonly1 | Dec 4 2017 20:33 utc | 58

Back in 2003 I worked for the QSI International School in Shenzhen, PRC.

At that time they headquartered in Sanaa, Yemen.

The following year they moved to Astana.

Reason?? Oil production in Yemen peaked, and the oil majors moved out. The CIA moved out.

Both provided students to QSI.

Others mentioned Saleh's corruption. Likely he skimmed oil revenues. Then production peaked, and Yemen shifted from net exporter to net importer, and there was nothing to skim without impacting basic services.

So, deprived of basic services, the Houthi demanded representation, to audit use of state
revenues.......... which would kill Saleh's/Hadi's gravy train...

Can't have that...... so they went to war..........

Now Saleh is dead and Hadi is dead meat should he return.


Posted by: Dr. George W. Oprisko | Dec 4 2017 20:39 utc | 59

Admitting that you were wrong is not something "bad" as some people here seems to believe and want to bury.

Posted by: Anon | Dec 4 2017 20:45 utc | 60

Well that strong-arm-twisting of Saleh by MbS backfired. What will it take for MbS to come to the realization that this Yemeni campaign of his is doomed to fail? One would be inclined to think that these latest events will lead to yet more bloodshed, displacement of the locals, and an escalating humanitarian crisis; it will only get worse before it gets better. Perhaps the "international forces" advising MbS are stubborn and are desperate to save face at any cost.

Here are some pictures purportedly of the gunmen that ambushed and killed Saleh.

@b RE: "It is yet a mystery why not more of Saleh's supporters came to his help."

This piece may fill the void to your question, in part at least.

Posted by: Tacitus | Dec 4 2017 20:54 utc | 61

I think one should not be hesitant to say that the emperor wears no clothes. I recall a similar situation when Rump attacked Syria despite his promises and impressions he had given during his election campaign. And that citation of @BaFana3 with that ludicrous "greatest leader" and "martyr" nonsense almost makes one think the website got hacked. Sometimes I see signs of what appears to be cognitive dissonance. But when you do nothing, you can't do nothing wrong. Nobody is perfect and I have a high regard for the owner of MoA, his precise analyses, his knowledge, thoroughness and steadfastness. It's hard to name a better website.

Posted by: xor | Dec 4 2017 20:55 utc | 62

This is one big EAT ME to those buttfaces who are now jumping up like chimpanzees because B got a post supposedly "wrong". Get the hell out of here. B wrote the fact's according to the information he had at hand. He can't control all the moving pieces after he presses "send". Saleh might have taken a different course, the Houthia might have chosen an alternate outcome. Wake up you delusional apes, B has never said he's a prophet either, he does the best he can and at quite a sacrifice to himself, which I greatly appreciate, I will still be contributing on my pay day on Friday out of appreciation as promised.

Posted by: Fernando Arauxo | Dec 4 2017 20:57 utc | 63

Had to smile when I think of Bernard Shaw spruiking Lenin, as a blogger did today . He also took long Fascist government payed holiadays in Mussollini's Italy .

His friends always used to ask '' which side are you on George ? None of this stopped him calling himself a 'communist ' in his personal journals .
Goes to show how complex things became - late 1920's through to late 30's - after Lenin's death .
No doubt Putin and Shaw would be great mates !

Posted by: ashley albanese | Dec 4 2017 21:02 utc | 64

I believe that the reason why the US has been mostly silent on Yemen, and has been encouraging KSA, relates (as with Syria) to the Houthis being "Iran backed." Even if it's not entirely true, the US relishes the appearance of a good proxy war so it can claim it's "doing something" against an Israel enemy (Iran). The MSM has picked up the policy, with "Iran-backed Houthis" being the accepted phrase. Also, any appearance of order and conflict resolution is antithetical to US policy, which includes divide and conquer, the profits which come from it and the opportunity to try out new bomb designs etc.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 4 2017 21:13 utc | 65

Posted by: lysander | Dec 4, 2017 2:41:17 PM | 53

I don't think it was surprise. I am not even sure who started it.

From November 30

The rift between Saleh and the Houthis goes back months, with the former president slamming the Houthis as 'militias' and the rebels threatening Saleh loyalists after armed violence left two dead in Sanaa in August.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 4 2017 21:19 utc | 66

That and the fact the Houthi's will never be controlled by anyone. I remember news of the CIA/US getting out a day or two before Houthi's moved on Aden. US leaving it up to China and Russia to get US civilians out after CIA had left.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 4 2017 21:25 utc | 67

Thank you b for another informative post. May peace come to Yemen as soon as possible.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 4 2017 21:25 utc | 68

From wikipedia...
The Zaydi madhab emerged in reverence of Zayd’s failed uprising against the Ummayad Caliph, Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik (ruling 724-743 AD), which set a precedent for revolution against corrupt rulers. It might be said that Zaydis find it difficult to remain passive in an unjust world, or in the words of a modern influential Zaydi leader, Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, to ‘sit in their houses’.[5]

Zaydis were the oldest branch of the Shia and are currently the second largest group after Twelvers . Zaidis do not believe in the infallibility of Imāms, but promote their leadership and divine inspiration.[6] Zaydis believe that Zayd ibn Ali in his last hour was betrayed by the people in Kufa. Zaydis as of 2014 constitute roughly 0.5% of the world's Muslim population.

The way Saleh was taken down so quickly, with so little support, makes me think the Zaydis of Yemen are pretty much united, rather than just the Houthi's acting on their own.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 4 2017 21:37 utc | 69

@ Peter AU 1 | 58

The Houthi's seem like they will fight to the last man, woman and child to win, rather than accept a negotiated solution. With US support, SA can keep up the bombing and blockade for a long time, so a lot of men, women and children in Yemen will die.

What negotiations? Megalomaniac MbS is absolutely against any negotiations, he demands unconditional surrender and handing over of power to his assigned puppet. All Houthis want is for the war to end, and reasonable representation in ruling of the country. Saudis wont have that, hence the war and genocide will continue. What would you suggest Houthis do, roll over and die? Not going to happen, as 'b' said, they might not have shoes, but they have huge balls.

Posted by: Harry | Dec 4 2017 21:44 utc | 70

Oh the little trolls out to score their little points trying to smear one of the few outstanding geopolitical websites on the planet. As with the Wicked Witch of the East: Your magic won't work here; so, buzz-off to masturbate in your porn-filled boiler rooms.

As I said above, it's Yemen's misfortune to have a geopolitically important geographical location the Outlaw US Empire deems it must keep under its control. Please first look at the regional map, and recall the intense amounts of destabilization wrought by the Outlaw US Empire and its vassals over the past 50 years--yes, 50 years, it's been ongoing that long if not longer. Such a state of affairs will continue until fossil fuels are depleted and no longer fuel economies, although the conflict need not.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 4 2017 21:50 utc | 71

What will happen is many men women and children of north Yemen will die before this is over. As I said in myt post, ""IF IF IF Russia was involved in negotiations"" some deal may have been nutted out that allowed Saudi to pull ot without losing face and thus prevent a lot of the deaths that will now occur, both through starvation, disease and fighting.
The current Russia seem to have a habit of winding down or freezing a war until conditions are right for a good political outcome to be obtained.
Russia may not have been involved as mediators or negotiators, but if they were, this would be their modus operandi.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 4 2017 21:54 utc | 72

"... It is yet a mystery why not more of Saleh's supporters came to his help. Sanaa is his home turf and whenever he had called for demonstrations in the city, hundreds of thousands attended. For much of his 34 years of rule as president and even after his forced resignation Saleh could call on the seven "collar tribes" who's territory surround the capital. This time they did not come to his aid. Saleh also continued to command significant parts of the former Yemeni army. These currently hold positions far outside of Sanaa against Saudi proxy forces who try to conquer the mountainous territory of northwest Yemen. One wonders why he had not called them back in time ..."

News as reported in The Independent (UK) is that at the time of his killing, Saleh was fleeing Sanaa for Ma'rib, a town loyal to Saudi Arabia (for its financial support) and known as al Qa'ida's capital in Yemen.

No wonder so few of his supporters came to his help. His support must have been vanishing faster than water evaporating. I would not be surprised if some of Saleh's former supporters were involved in ambushing his convoy.

Posted by: Jen | Dec 4 2017 21:56 utc | 73

Karlof1 @ 72: Don't forget, Socotra is the real gem that the US wants. Control Socotra, put a naval and airforce base there and you can control the entry and egress points between the Gulf of Aden (leading to the Red Sea, the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea) and the Indian Ocean.

China and Russia probably can't build their Silk Road train and road project fast enough.

Posted by: Jen | Dec 4 2017 22:00 utc | 74

Grieved@44 "It would be good to get some commentary from Nasrallah on this one day."

Here you go....

Posted by: Tacitus | Dec 4 2017 22:14 utc | 75

I agree with Alaric @ 54 and Lysander @ 55. B is usually on the ball but he and his sources are not infallible and they can't be expected to know all of whatever backdoor deals Saleh cut with Saudi Arabia and the UAE to return to power.

The Houthis, if they ever come to power, could prove just as ruthless and repressive towards Yemenis as the KSA and Iran to their own people. The longer the war continues, the more likely this could happen when the war eventually ends and the KSA is forced to retreat. The US and its allies would never leave Yemen alone and a Houthi-led government would be paranoid about being overthrown and would beat down, whack-a-mole style, on anything and anyone seen to be opposing its rule. That and the Houthis' origins and religious affiliations would be why B treats them with suspicion.

Posted by: Jen | Dec 4 2017 22:36 utc | 76

@all the guys saying that the Houthies hitted a nuclear reactor:

Please, stop spreading that lie!

Inform yourself a bit (in case you are not willingly disinforming here and infiltrating in your posts the typical sentence you are responsible of leaking today/ this week..., as I have witnessed is the custom in all the so called "US alt-media" by "commenters" and "analysts" ) to know that the nuclear central that was hitted in UAE is still under construction and so there was no nuclear reactor there. The attack was made as a warning to the UAE for them to avoid meddling to provoke divisions and seditions amongst Yemeni resistance, since most probably the Houthis saw the move by Saleh, trying to turn the military against them, as a plot coming from his former companion of cabinet Hadi ( who is supported by UAE ) from Aden. The blockade was planned to preapare the field debilitating the Houthies for the following coup by Saleh in Sana´a, to which would follow the offensive coming from Aden by Hadi and his proxies to take over Sana´a and the North.

Leader of Ansarolah, Abdul Malik Al-Houthi, explains all that happened here ( In Spanish, I must have dinner now and go to bed soon, since I must work tomorrow, thus I most probably will not be able to translate muhc of this today...May be tomorrow, since after tomorrow is a holiday here...)

Related to the guy who have doubts about B´s analyses, I can not but agree. First, on what facts/ sources he bases his statements on that Saleh was operated by the Russians?... Is it not a way to connect the Russians with Saleh and try to bring them into the Yemeni conflict, where they are not taking part in any way? The same way they are tried to be brought into every conflict in the world so that having them well inside the mud? Fortunately, they have avoided it in Ukraine, Syria and so on. From my point of view that fact that the Russians could mantain their embassy at Sana´a could well be for the more trust they have from all the Yemeni people based on their hisotry of not meddling in the country and support received from the USSR. Just they are not so hated as the Us Americans and full stop.

Second, we have this insistence on Saleh as an "agent of peace", which today fits prefectly with the MSM tune,in spite of him being such "snake"....

Third for two or three days I have passed here, I have met at least one article prising Flynn, who was of the same ideology of all the alt-righters and nazis who conformed the Trump initial administration. He was at the head of Breitbart Journalism and co-authored a book with a certain Ledeen promoting war on Iran and Islam, the same Ledeen who also wrote another book about spreading International Fascism to achieve a New Fascist World Order...

Last, but not least, I am finding amongst this charming commentariat the same flatterers I have met at The Saker, Fort Russ, The Duran, and so on...Curiously, or not so, they never disagree with anything the "analysts" at every one of those sites could wrote, what leads me to think that they are not but staff. Curiously, or not so, they are expanding here more than usual, this time by linking Twitter comments by supposed Yemenis who are all pro-Saleh.... Well, yesterday, I took the trouble to read a bit along one of the Twitters linked here, that of "Ammar Aulaqi", offered here as a reliable source on events in Yemen, and got to understand that the guy has double US and Yemeni citizenship...Despite seeming to love very much his country by publishing beautiful photos and worrynig a lot about the children, he was in support of Saleh all the way, to the extent that, in front of a photo of a table full of bottles of vodka which was taken at Saleh´s hideout after it was taken over by the Houthies, he found such habit "cool"...It is beyond me why a double nationalized US citizen could anytime consider anything good could come for the so loved by him Yemeni people from a traitor who left its people languish amonst poverty for decades and besides swallow about 10 or more bottles of vodka daily with his peers.... Of course, seeing his photo of profile, disguised as prince of KSA and the kind of Yemeni "diwans" he post as a sample of Yemeni homes ( huge, ugly and extravagant westernized diwans out of hand, and mainly of the taste, of most of the Yemeni people ) one can not but conclude that, in any case, he is must probably one of the few who benefitted from Saleh´s long rule and so had the opportunity to go studying ot the US, if not because of, besides, sharing the same ideology and plans for the future of Yemen....
Of course, all this Twitter accounts could well also be fake....

As a final note, so far, I found the most accurate comment, the fairest and nearest the truth that of "nonsense factory", at 38, without meaning that the rest below could not well be as well accurate, only have not yet read all of them.

Posted by: elsi | Dec 4 2017 22:40 utc | 77

I doubt russia had anything to do with Saleh's rise. It's possible but it seems more likely that MBS reached out to Saleh'. Now that could have been an attempt to work out a peace but Saleh's dissolution of his alliance with the houthi and his alleged requests for his followers to attack the Houthi suggest otherwise.

It looks like Saleh simply made a Saudi backed power grab to elevate himself back into power. He looks like he was prepared to do Saudi Arabia's bidding to wage war on the Houthi. Perhaps MBS sought a new army because the Sudanese might soon leave.

Posted by: Alaric | Dec 4 2017 22:49 utc | 78

"I cannot describe the deep grief I feel. Ali Abdullah Saleh was the greatest leader #Yemen ever had. He never surrendered: He died a martyr in his homeland Yemen, as a Yemeni fighting for Yemen's cause. I salute Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, both in life and in death."

If Saleh was Yemen's greatest leader, I'd hate to think of who was the worst. Not that I am particularly familiar with Yemeni politics for my opinion to matter much to be perfectly fair. He just always struck me as a snake and opportunist, despite his place in the alliance. The news about his nephew's release doesn't look particularly promising.

Hard to see where this turn of events will lead the country. My hopes are that the army and the Houthis will not be at each other's throats now - now THAT would be very depressing to me (if I wasn't depressed enough already at all this maddness). The fact that demonstrators did not shown up en masse in response to Saleh's previous calls (as they had in the past) is probably a good sign, however small.

Anybody know who is representing the army? Or is it now (or already) so factionalized that this is a silly question?

Could be this new Saudi blunder might pay off by way of new/renewed inter-Yemeni conflict? I sincerely hope this will not be the case.

In any case - the blockade, the cholera, the famine, the hopelessness, the poverty, the aggression will all continue in any case. The rivers of blood won't be dammed anytime soon that is for damn sure.

Posted by: George Smiley | Dec 4 2017 22:57 utc | 79

Main points of Abdel Malik Al-Houthi´s communique published by Al Manar:

Also, Al Manar is reporting in live news that "Head of Yemen’s Supreme Political Council Saleh Al-Sammad thanks all who contribute to defusing the sedition in Sanaa".

Posted by: elsi | Dec 4 2017 23:00 utc | 80

Something more to think about.
Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2342 (2017), Security Council Grants One-Year Renewal of Sanctions on Yemen, Extends Expert Panel’s Mandate
...By today’s resolution, the Council also reaffirmed the provisions of paragraphs 14 to 17 of resolution 2216 (2015) — through which it had decided to prohibit the supply, sale or transfer of arms to individuals and entities designated by the Committee as engaging in or providing support for acts that threatened the peace, security or stability of Yemen — as well as to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and Houthi commanders Abdullah Yahya al Hakim and Abd al-Khaliq al-Huthi....

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 4 2017 23:05 utc | 81

@356 Don Wiscacho

Houthis killed a man whom Bafana refers to as a brother, and he grieves deeply for this. I was surprised to see his feelings about Saleh because it hadn't occurred to me that there could be divided opinion about such a person, and if there were, I would not have expected him to take that side.

My only question is, how great is the divide, and how much pro-Saleh sentiment exists in the country? From lots of incidental evidence and anecdote in this thread, it becomes more likely by the hour that there's not much, but I haven't seen any definitive answer on this yet, and I haven't had time to check other news feeds - MoA is my sole source for now.


I haven't seen any news here yet of Hadi's call for all Yemenis to rise up against the Houthis, this would be the test we all wait for. Anybody want to call it? Or shall we let the trolls wait to see which end is up and then say they called it all along?

Posted by: Grieved | Dec 4 2017 23:09 utc | 82

elsi @78--

I posted the link to his Twitter feed without examining his Twitter history beyond the past several days. He was being cited by a respected Twitter source, and such sources are difficult to find. I expect Houthis to escalate their missile attacks on UAE and Saudi, but instead of targeting major cities the targets will now be major infrastructure like UAE's nuke plants, which I know they didn't manage to hit--fortunately for all of us.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 4 2017 23:19 utc | 83

Grieved 84

I also read that tweet from Bafana sometime ago. Prior to that, as far as I recall he fully supported the Houthi's and what was a united resistance to Saudi/US/UAE attack.

Made me wonder if the prolonged siege is causing internal divisions to arise. Access to, and arguments over scarce goods - weapons food fuel ect?

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 4 2017 23:19 utc | 84

Thinking on that UNSC resolution a bit more, Russia has consistently voted for resolutions that disadvantage the Houthi/Yemen resistance, yet remain on good enough terms to keep their embassy in Sanaa open.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 4 2017 23:28 utc | 85

The Spanish analyst Francisco Javier Martinez is linking the latest events in Yemen with the coup given by MBS and requisition of money in order to buy wills in Yemen to undermine the unity of Yemeni resistance.
He is telling that former President Saleh, fell in an ambush as he fled towards Ma'areb current fief of KSA mercenaries from AQAP (Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) with two of his advisors. The analyst is also remembering that this area was already in the hands of AQAP terrorists in 2007, precisely when these terrorists murdered 7 Spanish tourists there....

Posted by: elsi | Dec 4 2017 23:28 utc | 86

Re: elsi | Dec 4, 2017 5:40:18 PM | 78\
you write "Last, but not least, I am finding amongst this charming commentariat the same flatterers I have met at The Saker, Fort Russ, The Duran, and so on...Curiously, or not so, they never disagree with anything the "analysts" at every one of those sites could wrote, what leads me to think that they are not but staff."

Go troll someplace else

Posted by: Perimetr | Dec 4 2017 23:41 utc | 87

@86 Peter AU 1

I wondered about the derangement of grief, but I don't think so. I suspect what it really points to is a long-held aversion to the Houthis, from whatever reason. This was all put aside of course when everyone fought together against the invading threat. It suggested to me - it still suggests to me - that although I deeply admire the way the Houthi fight, and would love to see them take KSA, etc, etc... still, these are tribal differences, and it's really easy to see how one faction holds distaste for another.

And as suggested here, we don't know what the Houthi would be like running Yemen. I only really looked at Yemen when the Houthi and national Yemen forces were fighting together against the Saudis. I never knew them in their divided condition. I suspect this is true for many people commenting here.

I'm really interested to know more about the complex cultural interrelations of the country, because it's going to affect outcomes. I actually look to people like b to give me the succinct breakdown on this in his own good time. And I'm grateful for comments here that know something about this.

I'm still waiting for someone in this thread to call whether the Houthi will reign dominant over Yemen - in which case KSA better look to its ass - or whether Hadi commands enough of the national force to take Sanaa back and to check the Houthi. Or what.

Eventually, b will explain.

Posted by: Grieved | Dec 5 2017 0:06 utc | 88

The Yinon Plan for Greater Israel precisely prescribes the balkanization of Israel's neighbor states.

The US, UK and Israel fully support the genocide of Yemenis perpetrated by SA which uses aircraft and weapons purchased from the USA. In fact, the USA and the contractors which control its government can't wait to sell SA more weapons and technology.

There are no mainstream media reports of this genocide, because the C aye A controls the MSM.

Posted by: fast freddy | Dec 5 2017 0:09 utc | 89

Grieved @84--

Initially, I took Saleh's doublecross as a necessary evil to put an end to the larger evil--the genocide--but didn't know this was actually his second attempt or the fine print's sordid details. Clearly, Saleh thought he had more, wider support than what materialized, which wasn't even enough to allow for his personal safety. IMO, if all foreign fighters and their support was removed, Houthi and allies would be able to establish control and reconstitute the government. Unfortunately, these victors would have a very legitimate axe to grind with the West, GCC, and UN, all of which teamed up to destroy them all through genocide, and they might take it upon themselves to exact passage tribute through the Red Sea, which is why their antagonists want to kill them off to begin with.

The upshot is the war will continue as will the genocidal weapon being deployed by West, GCC and UN. Saudi/GCC proxy intervention failed. Which nation will be next, and on which side will it enter?

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 5 2017 0:21 utc | 90

Grieved 90

The way I see it b puts up the best analysis anywhere of Yemen but picking the future in something that complicated is a hard ask.
My view. The Houthi/Saleh factions have received no support in the UN from Russia or China. They are up against the US and its proxies.
Back when the Houthi's took over Sanaa they placed Hadi under house arrest rather than kill him. They wanted to be a part of government rather than control it. They were willing to go ahead with UN mediated negotiations, until the US backed Saudi's attacked. They have to be admired for their balls in fighting the US proxies, but the huge balls may be to the detriment of geo-political skills which they surely need to pull out opf this without thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands dying in the next months and years through starvation, disease and bombing.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 5 2017 0:23 utc | 91

Bemused by the fact that some are prattling on about how "b got it wrong." If anyone got it wrong, it was -- in the first instance -- Saleh.

Posted by: zakukommander | Dec 5 2017 0:29 utc | 92

This tweet from Bafana..
"I cannot describe the deep grief I feel. Ali Abdullah Saleh was the greatest leader #Yemen ever had. He never surrendered: He died a martyr in his homeland Yemen, as a Yemeni fighting for Yemen's cause. I salute Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, both in life and in death."

Saleh was born to the south of Sanaa. Reports that he was killed fleeing to Saudi/UAE occupied territory, but I also wondered if he was heading for home territory hoping to get more support. He was killed not far south of Sanna, so not far from where he was born.

The report from Guardian? "Houthi military officials said Saleh was killed as he was travelling with other top party leaders from Sana’a to his hometown of Sanhan. Houthi fighters followed him in 20 armoured vehicles, then attacked and killed him and almost all those with him. Gruesome video footage of his blood-spattered body were distributed on social media." fighting

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 5 2017 0:41 utc | 93

from @82 elsi's link - the houthi leaders comments make clear it is ksa and uae are wanting to tear yemen apart...uae is on record wanting to control more ports.. i guess mbz and mbs need al qaeda, or isis to be the mercenary force to install there sick ideology, not to mention there desire to covet the ports of yemen..

reading the comments and following the events requires the mind of a poker player.. if you haven't played it, then you can't know the games that get played.. you certainly can't make an easy read of what is going on here...

@86 peter au... last statement - no doubt the longer this goes on, the more challenging it is for the internal players... mbs and mbz can continue to receive royal treatment from the usa/uk/israel in spite of the war crimes they continue to commit, but the houthi and those in yemen seeking peace and the removal of these foreign players - might have to wait a good while.. the war machine has a lot of money to continue to pour into this.. meanwhile the west, UN and etc sit on their hands while starvation ensures.. it is a pretty sick set up and one that we are watching in real time..

i agree with george smileys @81 last statement - In any case - the blockade, the cholera, the famine, the hopelessness, the poverty, the aggression will all continue in any case. The rivers of blood won't be dammed anytime soon that is for damn sure.

the fact uae has held salehs son tells one all they need to know about how effective he is going to be.. uae and ksa are hoping for an internal war with yemen.. it would be better for the world if an internal war broke out in ksa/uae/usa and those kinds of countries first..

Posted by: james | Dec 5 2017 0:59 utc | 94

@ elsi
Break your links or link a part of your text. Long links bugger up the page.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 5 2017 1:05 utc | 95

Quad cards burned in the last few months:

KSA Tried to F... Qatar but failed.

KSA Tried to F... Iraq but failed, Masoud Barzani was burned.

KSA Tried to F... Lebanon but failed,
Hariri son was saved.

KSA Tried to F... Yemen but failed,
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has been killed today.

KSA must try to F... KSA to win?

How could a loser ever win?

Posted by: dbell | Dec 5 2017 1:09 utc | 96

Elsi, you have linked google maps but nowhere have I found a location described other than that he was killed south of Sanaa?
The road marked in gray that shows on your map, is also the road that would be taken from Sanaa to Saleh's home town Bait Alahmar

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 5 2017 1:20 utc | 97

I guess this site does not allow to edit posts after posting, so reading of this thread is partially disabled by elsi. Dear elsi, do you know how to use < a href="...">blah< /a> tags?
It really improves coexistence among the posters.

With high regards -- PB

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 5 2017 1:24 utc | 98

I do not know what quad cards are, but I love the quip about Muhammad bin Kushner and Jared bin Salman. Apart from legality and morality, it seems that sending Flynn on (politically) suicidal mission to convince the Russian Federation to change the vote and/or procedural behavior on a matter that concerned Israel was quite stupid. Typical analysis "cui bono" yields slim picking. Given that Obama planned to abstain on the UNSC resolution in question, one can bet his dear life that it was totally toothless. GoI would kvetch, but this is what they need to do to maintain mental balance. Given that the effort was secret, it would not provide Trump with cred points with anyone.

However, according to my (TM) theory of The Lobby, there is one exception. In this theory, The Lobby is a way Jewish tycoons compete with each other. Some people may display mansions, trophy wives, private jets etc, but to feel truly superior in respect to your peers, you must match it in a mutually recognizable manner. So what if Mrs. Adelson is totally lacking in good looks if her husband simply does not care, AND he is a personal "owner" of Mr. Netanyahu, PM of Israel, not to mention a tasteful collection of US Senators etc. It is hard to match Mr. Adelson tit for tat, but the senior Mr. Kushner could get a boasting right for fixing something after Mr. Netanyahu whined to him over the phone. Take that!

So his dutiful son took the baton from his father, after all, the boasting right glamor would also affect himself, and Mr. Trump carried it further. Alas, the chain of idiots also included Gen. Flynn who conveyed the request over the phone, while he could simply pay visit to the Russian embassy to discuss issues of future relationship, per campaign promises of Mr. Trump.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 5 2017 1:56 utc | 99

b said: "It may be that his unexpected turn-on-a-dime towards a new alliance with the eternal enemies of Yemen, the Saudis, has alienated his followers."

Gee b, ya' think? I wish the Houthis well..

Posted by: ben | Dec 5 2017 2:01 utc | 100

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