Saleh’s Son Leads Military Attack on Yemen’s Defense Ministry

Attack Comes Hours After President Left Nation

For months Yemen has been a government divided. Loyalists to the former US-backed dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh have fought to retain key positions of power over new US-backed dictator Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, with mixed results.

At no time was this clearer than today, when hundreds of members of Yemen’s Republican Guard, under the command of Saleh’s son Brig. Gen. Ahmed Saleh attacked the nation’s Defense Ministry, just hours after Maj. Gen. Hadi left the nation for a visit to an OIC summit.

Defense Ministry officials say that supports of Saleh have launched several attacks against them in recent months, but today’s was definitely the biggest, with troops attacking the ministry as well as the central bank, forcing several nearby banks to close amid panic in the capital.

Saleh’s ouster wasn’t easy to secure. He agreed in principle several times last year, during huge protests, to leave office and then refused. Finally Hadi was installed in a “single-candidate election” and even after Saleh repeatedly refused to leave the country.

Hadi has been trying to limit Brig. Gen. Saleh’s (and other relatives’) control over the military, but each time it provokes a violent backlash. The installation of Hadi may have taken the wind out of pro-democracy protesters’ sails, but the fight between Hadi backers and Saleh backers looks to continue, potentially for years.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.