by Karl Spain
I only think one man in the entire country of Yemen completely knows, I mean even remotely close to completely knows, what is going on.
And that man of course, is 72 year old “retired’ former leader for life Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The Houthi’s are a crazy Islamic army that hates the U.S. and also Al-Quadi, and at the moment anyway, they have Sana, the capital of Yemen. The Iranians have huge influence over the Houthi’s (same sect), Saleh has influence over them somehow, no one knows how much or how he got this leverage, but it’s apparent, so he got it. I also think he has the loyalty of at least half the Yemeni regular army and at least two separate small battalions of his own, outside Houthi control and Yemeni Army control.
Saleh’s compound in Sana is the safest and most well guarded spot in the city, it’s a small thing, but it’s telling, while the entire city is in chaos and fear, he’s still sitting in his private courtyard, a peaceful oasis, sipping tea, thinking, meeting visitors and putting something together. Just what he’s got planned, will send ripples through Yemen for years.
I think the U.S. is making overtures to Saleh but I also think, for reasons only he must know, he is resisting them. The real question then becomes; is Saleh playing hard to get or does he really intend to build a new jigsaw puzzle of power in Yemen without U.S. (read CIA) and State Department, and White House, and Pentagon (pursuit of AGAP in the peninsula) support?
Saleh of course is Islah, and Islah (the old political party in power under both Saleh and Hadi) was the reason the recent conference to form a unity government fell apart, leaving the Houthi to organize a new governing council, supposedly to be made up of 500 or so (very manageable number!) delegates, who will then create a smaller nominating group to pick the new president.
I can’t see what Saleh has at the bottom of his teacup but whatever it is, we’ll know when the nominating committee for the presidency is formed. The composition of that committee will tell all. If Saleh himself or a surrogate is going to emerge there, Saleh’s influence over them will be a requirement for membership. If not, who knows, maybe that new organ will fail also.