A prologue to reorganization
Although some deem President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi's decrees a wise step forward, others say these resolutions are beset with dangers.
The decisions come during a time rife with tumultuous and confusing security situations in the country. Last week, confrontations between reinforcement personnel and soldiers affiliated with Abdualkadir Kahtan, the interior minister, broke out at the Ministry of Interior in Sana’a. Similarly, there is an ever-present concern about the role of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Pensinsula (AQAP) militants in Abyan governorate. Some say AQAP is beginning to rebuild in Ja'ar as a result of a patent absence of security provided by the government.
Hatim Abu Hatim, a leading figure in the Nasserite Wahdawi party, said Hadi’s decisions are a step in the right direction. He said the integration of military forces in the days to come is a necessity, along with removing former President Ali Abdullah Saleh's family remnants, so that the army is fully under the control of the president and the Defense Ministry.
Abu Hatim said evacuating military forces from major cities is required; the forces should be positioned in strategic places where Al-Qaeda militants and saboteurs spark havoc.
Abu Hatim said he is concerned Hadi's decisions could be hindered by the former president’s family. He also said he anticipates Saleh's family will hide military equipment in Sanhan, the hometown of Saleh. Abu Hatim said Saleh would do his utmost to derail any stability in Yemen.
Brigadier Mohsen Khasroof opined identically to Abu Hatim. Khasroof said he considers Hadi's decrees a step along the right path and hoped for further changes.
“Rebuilding military forces is a big, complicated process that cannot be realized while the most equipped and qualified fighting forces are under the control of self-interested individuals,” Khasroof said. “This is the major reason behind hindering the development in Yemen.”
Since March of last year, the army has been divided. Some follow the First Armored Division; others are affiliated with the Central Security Forces and the Republican Guard. The army has been loyal to personalities instead of the nation, according to writer and political analyst Ahmed Saleh Al-Faqih.
Al-Faqih said the military decisions are a prologue toward the integration and restructure of military forces. These decrees will not be successful, he said, unless leading military figures—namely, Ali Mohsen, the commander of the First Armored Division, and Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh, the commander of the Republican Guard and the former president's son—are removed.
He said appointing military commanders in the First Armored Division and in the Republican Guard was not based on eligibility and integrity. The appointments were based on personal loyalties, he said, adding that those figures will remain loyal to their commanders even if the army is integrated.
The two presidential decrees aim at setting up the Presidential Protection, which embraces forces from the First Armored Division and the Republican Guard. The second decision intends to refer some brigades of the First Armored Division and the Republican Guard to the military regions in which these brigades function.
The decision stipulated that these brigades will be financially independent, and the Defense Ministry is in charge of issuing instructions that regulate the implementation of this decree.