Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen’s former dictator, killed in Sana’a
Bill Van Auken
5 December 2017
Residents of the embattled Yemeni capital of Sana’a braced for a redoubling of air strikes following the killing Monday of the country’s former dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh and the apparent unraveling of a Saudi plot to depose the regime headed by the Houthi Ansarullah movement.
Saleh, 75, had ruled Yemen as a US-backed dictator for 30 years until being forced out by a popular uprising in 2011-2012. He was shot and killed by Houthi militiamen while fleeing heavy fighting in the capital between the Houthis and his own loyalists.
The two sides had maintained a tenuous alliance since 2014, when the Houthi rebel movement—which has its roots in the Zadi branch of Shia Islam to which Saleh himself belonged—swept down from the north and took control of Sana’a. Already in an advanced state of disintegration, that alliance broke down definitively over the past week, with armed clashes between the Houthis and Saleh’s loyalists that left over 125 dead.
On Saturday, Saleh made a televised speech renouncing his alliance with the Houthis and calling for the army and police to reject any orders coming from their regime. He also called for a dialogue with the Saudi-led “coalition,” which—with substantial logistical support and weapons provided by Washington—has been waging a near genocidal war against the Yemeni people for the past 33 months.
The Houthis charged Saleh with attempting a Saudi-backed coup. This assessment was substantiated in an analysis published by Al Jazeera based on interviews given by Yemeni officials on condition of anonymity.
These officials confirmed that Saleh’s break with the Houthis had been planned in Abu Dhabi earlier this year in…