Yemen fighting will lead to 'more tragedy'

Marie Harrington
December 5, 2017

Yemen's veteran former president Ali Abdullah Saleh has been killed in a roadside attack after switching sides in the country's civil war. His death came at the hand of Houthi militiamen who were pursuing him and a number of close aides as they attempted to flee fighting inside the capital Sanaa. Jamie McGoldrick, Yemen's Humanitarian Affairs Coordinator for the United Nations, warned that the death of Mr. Saleh would only lead to "more tragedy" in the country. Today the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh lies dead, killed in an ambush by his former allies, the Houthi rebels. The new situation is critical and risky, and requires the interference of the Yemeni army and coalition forces in Sanaa, as well as working with Saleh's forces, which are still in shock.The people of Sanaa and the forces of the late Saleh have a great interest in fighting a war to reclaim their city from Houthis.

"The problem is not with the General People's Congress as a party or with its members".

Analysts said Mr Saleh's death would be a huge moral boost for the Houthis and serious blow to the Saudi-led coalition that intervened in the conflict to try to restore the internationally recognised President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi's Government.

The fighting continued on Monday, with reports of heavy clashes and coalition strikes against Huthi-controlled government buildings and around Sanaa airport.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak to the press.

Saleh ruled Yemen for more than three decades until he was forced to resign following an Arab Spring uprising in 2011. He also called for the opening of the roads and crossings for relief boats to reach the city and for commercial traffic.

The Saudi-led coalition welcomed Saleh's change of stance.

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In a televised speech on Monday, Houthi leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi congratulated the Yemeni people for what he described as a victory against a "conspiracy of treason" engineered by the group's Gulf Arab enemies.

Speaking in a speech carried live on the Saudi-owned al-Arabiya television, Hadi also called for a new chapter in the fight against the Houthis, who were allied with Saleh before he turned on them and offered to back the Saudi-led coalition.

Any hope of the coalition that Mr Saleh could have been bought off to help turn the tables against the Houthis after a protracted stalemate, in which a Saudi-led blockade and internal fighting has exposed millions to hunger and epidemic, has been dashed.

The Yemeni war has already become one of the largest humanitarian catastrophes in the world, and the death of Saleh has the potential to make the conflict even worse.

Worldwide aid groups warned Monday they were losing the ability to reach civilians in Sanaa.

"Aid workers can't travel and implement critical life-saving programs".

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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