Concerns over Hadi’s ability to reconstruct military and security services

Published on 23 February 2012 in News
Mohamed Bin Sallam (author)

Mohamed Bin Sallam


SANA’A — There are conflicting reports about t

he ability of President Abdu Rabu Hadi to reconstruct the military and put an end to the ten-month division of Yemen's military. At the present moment, former President Saleh's relatives continue to run key military and security forces.

The GCC-mediated power transfer deal and its implementation mechanism stressed the importance of a reconstruction of Yemen's military and security services. Many Yemenis believe however that nothing short of a miracle would enable Hadi to meet such opposition demands.

As reported, Hadi plans to sack some of Saleh’s relatives from their military and security positions - in particular, Saleh's half-brother and Air Force commander Mohammad Saleh Al-Ahmar, following an eruption of protests by officers and troops demanding his firing.

However, the fate of Saleh’s nephews - Yahya Mohammad Abdullah Saleh, Staff General for Central Security, Amar Mohammad Abdullah Saleh, Deputy Chief for National Security and Tariq Mohammad Abdullah Saleh, Commander of the Special Forces – remains unknown.  

Many sources expect that the resignations will include Ali Mohsen Saleh, Commander of the North-Western Region and the First Armored Division, who has frequently stated his willingness to resign in the event that Saleh exited power.

Another military source suggested that Hadi wouldn't dismiss Ali Mohsen Saleh from his position unless the Gulf States and US applied pressure to discharge the man who was among the most important of Saleh's aides for over 32 years.

The source pointed out that among the decisions to be taken by Hadi will be whether to fire Director of the Office of the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces Ali Saleh Al-Ahmar and whether to replace Tariq Mohammad Abdullah Saleh with a new commander.

With regard to Saleh's oldest son, Brigadier General Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh, who fills the post of commander of the Republican Guard, the most heavily-armed division in Yemen's military, military sources have ruled out Hadi's dismissal of him in the first months after the election, owing to pressure by Ahmed Saleh and the General People Congress party to maintain the Guard as a guarantee of protection for the former president.

Spokesman of the Military Commission Major General Ali Saeed Obaid told the media that the commission was preparing a plan to reconstruct the military, stressing that the commission – composed of pro and anti-Saleh officers - would begin to implement the plan after the early presidential elections were held, and stated that the reconstruction process would include all military divisions.

The Yemeni military suffers form a sharp division, since Major General Ali Mohsen Saleh defected in late March in the midst of protests demanding Saleh's ouster.

The military services protests extended to the Republican Guard – based in the south of Sana'a – when dozens from the Fourth Brigade closed down southern entrances to the capital city and demanded the firing of the brigade's commander, Mohammad Al-Arar, and his general staff.

Meanwhile, dozens of officers and soldiers demanded the firing of the chief of Political Security (Intelligence), a figure who played an important role in negotiating settlements between Saleh and his military, tribal and political opponents last year. 

In the coastal city of Hodeidah, hundreds of officers and soldiers demanded that Major General Rowais Abdullah Mujawar and his Staff General, Brigadier General Mohammad Farhan, be fired.

Defected military sources said that the protesting officers protested before the Marine Forces headquarters and prevented Mujawar from entering, and stressed that they would continue with their protests until he is fired.

Chairman of the state-run General Authority of Books, Publication and Distribution, Abdul-Bari Tahir said the matter of military reconstruction is no longer in the hands of  President Hadi - or Saleh or the General People's Congress, for that matter – as they lack the ability to apply sufficient pressure to maneuver and successfully reconstruct the military.

 “This is an international decision binding all parties, and it is more significant than any internal decision taken by any party” Tahir added. “It binds all parties who signed it, and on a national basis - not family or tribal - as UN envoy Jamal Benomar recently affirmed.”


Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi:  Profile

Hadi was born in 1945, in Thukain village in Abyan, a southern Yemeni governorate where armed men known as Ansar Al-Shariah have controlled the area since late May 2011.

In 1970, when he was 25 years old, he joined the army for the south’s People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen. He was promoted to general in 1991after the unification of Yemen.

He graduated in 1966 after receiving a military scholarship to study in Britain, where he also learned to speak English.

Then, in 1970, he received another military scholarship to study tanks in Egypt for six years. Hadi spent the following four years in Russia studying military commanding.

He occupied several military posts in the southern Yemen army until 1986, when he fled to Sana’a with Ali Nasser Mohamed, president of South Yemen at the time.  

 In May 1994, Saleh appointed Hadi as Minister of Defense; in October of the same year he was appointed Vice President by republican decree.

 On June 5, 2011, Saleh delegated presidential authority to Hadi while he received medical treatment after sustaining serious as a result of an assassination attempt on June 3.

 After a long struggle between the traditional opposition parties and with the backing of the international community, Saleh finally signed the Gulf Cooperation Council deal on November 23, 2011, which stipulated the transfer of power to his deputy, Hadi.

The election is in line with this GCC plan to make Hadi Yemen’s legal president for a transitional period of two years.

“This is just an exceptional task in a hard time in which the country must get itself out of a serious crisis… it is the only way for Yemen to avoid blooshed,” Hadi said during a meeting with political and socials leaders in Sana’a.