Daily Management Review

Former Yemeni President refuses to leave country


Yemen's former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is believed to be currently behind the scenes of the Houthi militia uprising in the country, has announced that he has no intentions to leave his country.
The announcement from the former political heavyweight comes even as the Houthi militants in the country are mired in conflict with Saudi government. The Saudi-led coalition began the campaign on March 25 to oust the Houthi militants and many countries are airlifting their citizens from the nation while the country’s current President, Abd-Rabbu Mansour, has fled to Riyadh.  According to a United Nations report, 150,000 people had been driven from their homes by three weeks of air strikes and ground fighting and more than 750 people killed.

“I'm not the type who goes looking for a place to live in Jeddah, Paris or Europe. My country is my birthplace. The person who can say to Ali Abdullah Saleh 'leave your country' has not been and will not be born”, Saleh has written on his Facebook page.

The steadfastness of the former President will lead to the turmoil to deepen in the conflict zone. It is believed that the Iran-allied Houthis which is a Shi'ite Muslim movement from northern Yemen have formed an alliance of convenience with Saleh. The former president was once backed by Saudi Arabia but was eventually forced to step down in 2012 under a Gulf-brokered transition plan when protests intensified against his 22-year rule.

The condition in Yemen will act as a catalyst for Shiite and Sunni rivalries in the Gulf zone and is considered now as a proxy war between Sunni-dominant Saudi and Shiite-backed Iran. Hezbollah, the military movement based in Lebanon which is backed by Iran, has called on Saudi Arabia and its allies to halt the strikes. The United States has given aid and personnel as part of its wide strategy to uproot Islamic militants but has now evacuated its military team last month.

 Meanwhile life conditions in Yemen, Middles East’s poorest country, is worsening. According to reports, public water services were on the verge of collapse and hospitals were overwhelmed with casualties. Many schools and hospitals have been damaged in the war. The United nations has sent out an appeal for $274 million to meet Yemen's humanitarian needs over the next three months. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has also called for an immediate halt to the fighting on Thursday. Meanwhile, according to a Reuters report, the military units protecting the Masila oil fields, which are Yemen's largest, has withdrawn from the area, leaving its security to armed local tribes, the tribesmen and oil company employees. Companies that run the fields include state-owned PetroMasila, Canada's Nexen Energy and France's Total.