Saudis Offered Former Yemeni President Saleh Millions to Fight Houthis

Former Dictator Insists He Wants to See Unity

In an interview with a Beirut-based television channel, former Yemeni dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh reported that the Saudi government had offered him “millions of dollars” to ally with them during their ongoing war against Yemen’s Shi’ite Houthis, but that he turned them down.

“I told them I support national unity for all political forces in Yemen,” Saleh insisted. He had fought the Houthis repeatedly during his own 30+ year reign, but insisted his difference was “administrative, not ideological.”

The Saudi government has repeatedly accused Saleh of being in league with the Houthis, and blew up his home in the capital city of Sanaa during one of their airstrikes. After that, Saleh publicly urged his supporters, which includes most of Yemen’s military, to resist any Saudi invasion.

Saleh ruling Yemen from the 1970s through 2011, when he was replaced by a military aid, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, in a single-candidate election. Hadi resigned in January, and the Saudis declared war in March, vowing to reinstall him.

Saleh doubted that would happen, saying the era of “AbdRabbu Mansour is over,” and that he didn’t see any chance of him returning to power.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of