Fundamental changes in the Yemeni army
General Mohamed Saleh Al-Ahmar, Ali Abdullah Saleh’s half brother, chief of the Air Forces and Air Defense was dismissed after over 22 years in the same position. His removal came after a three-month strike by the personnel of the air forces demanding his resignation.
General Rashed Naser Ali Al-Janad was appointed as the new chief of Yemen’s Air Forces and Air Defense.
Brigadier Tareq Mohamed Abdullah Saleh, Ali Abdullah Saleh’s nephew, was moved from commander of the Presidential Guards to head the 37th Armored Brigade in Hadramout.
General Mohamed Ali Mohsen, leader of the eastern military region who supported the popular uprising against Saleh was also replaced by General Ali Al-Jayfi.
Rowis Abdullah Mujawar, one of Ali Abdullah Saleh’s loyal military commanders, who was the head of Yemen’s Marine Forces, was replaced by Abdullah Salem Ali Abdullah.
The Governor of Abyan, Saleh Al-Zawari, who had been one of Ali Abdullah Saleh’s security allies was replaced by Jamal Al-Aqel. The two main cities in Abyan governorate were overrun by Ansar Al-Sharia, an armed group affiliated to Al-Qaeda, in May 2011.
Naji Al-Zaydi, the governor of Marib, who also stood with Ali Abdullah Saleh against the peaceful revolution, was replaced by Sultan Al-Arada, a tribal leader from the area.
Hamoud Al-Sofi, the governor of Taiz, was replaced by Shawqi Hayel Saeed, a prominent businessman in Yemen. Taiz was one of the starting points of the revolution against Saleh’s 33-year rule.
Sheikh Ali Al-Qaysi was appointed as the new governor of Hajja governorate, in north Yemen. Hajja has witnessed prolonged sectarian conflict between the Shiite Houthis and local Sunni tribesmen.
The GCC power transition deal that was signed by the then ruling General People’s Congress and the opposition late last November in Riyadh, stipulated the reorganizing of Yemen’s army according to professional and national standards.
In early March, President Hadi had replaced the commander of the Southern Military Region, General Mahdi Maqwala, who has been one of Saleh’s strongest supporters.