Saleh Out of Hospital, No Word on Return to Yemen

Dictator Described in 'Good Condition'

Medical sources are reporting that Yemeni dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh was released today from a hospital in Saudi Arabia, after spending two months and undergoing multiple surgeries recovering from an assassination attempt. He is described as being in “good condition.”

His hold on power in Yemen, however, is another matter entirely. Though the government has been keeping his seat warm (despite US objections that they would prefer Major General Hadi take over) the protest movement is still active nationwide, and his military has lost more and more of the nation in his absence.

And indeed, whereas the government was at one point touting Saleh’s return as “imminent,” now that he is actually out of hospital they are notably silent on the possibility, perhaps seeing such an announcement as fueling even bigger protests, and bigger clashes with the tribesmen supporting the pro-democracy demonstrations.

Saleh is reportedly staying at a government residence in Saudi Arabia, and will likely remain there for the foreseeable future, barring a good opportunity to sneak him back into Yemen under cover of darkness. In many ways the only thing keeping his rule even nominally tenable is his absence, and he may well remain a president in exile in everything but name.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.