Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Will Saleh Abandon Houthi in Yemen? | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Women and men supporting the Houthi movement and Yemen’s former president Ali Abdullah Saleh attend a joint rally to mark two years of the military intervention by the Saudi-led coalition, in Sanaa, Yemen March 26, 2017. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

Media relations and publicity team of former President Ali Abdulalah Saleh party stated that they prepared for confronting Houthis in Sana’a as they had composed dozens of slogans and patriotic songs to be chanted all over Yemeni governorates, as well as writing over 1,600 poems celebrating the awaited event.

The grand event he is referring to is the protest Saleh is planning to organize to flex his muscles before Houthi, his ally in the coup and ruling partner.

Media outlets are reporting disputes erupting between the two allies because of Houthis’ domination and interventions reaching areas under Saleh forces’ control.

Saleh prides himself in his political skills enabling him to “dance with the wolves”. Yet, his disagreement with Houthi could be nothing more than one of his repeated routines.

That is why everyone highly doubts this charade and is awaiting to see what happens next. This doesn’t negate that there are indeed some discrepancies between the two allies.

Houthi militias are used to insulting Saleh’s commanders and occupied many areas under their control, not to forget the political and financial disputes.

How can we be sure that Saleh is really in disagreement with Houthi?

Surely not from protests and not from thousands of poems written; they are deceiving facade.

The real disagreement between the two insurgents can be detected not just through statements and quarrels but when their forces fight each other. Only then, we can be sure that the scenario has changed.

Saudi-led coalition, fighting to restore legitimacy in Yemen, was prepared in the past to do anything to see the Houthi-Saleh alliance broken. It no longer has to concede for any of them to witness this.

As the clashes continued, territories under the coalition control increased and war almost only happens now in areas under the control of the rivals.

One of the main reasons for this success is the training of thousands of Yemeni fighters of the legitimate government forces had received. With Qatar out of the coalition, the leadership is in agreement more now –
especially that Doha was behind many of the disputes.

This doesn’t make the task to liberate the remaining territories within the control of the insurgents any easier, as Yemen remains divided between three powers: the legitimacy, Houthi and Saleh until a political solution is reached.

Saleh is aware that a “political solution” is most likely for his best interest because if Iran accepts a regional reconciliation, it will ask Houthis to accept the solution.

Assuming that a solution is possible, but in the worst case scenario which is when everyone hides in their trenches, then the legitimate government is the least party to suffer of all three. The legitimacy is in control of half of Yemen and has enough resources to manage the areas.

The other half under the control of the militias is in a bad situation. Militias are not providing residents with any services and they won’t even let them manage their own affairs without collecting royalties.

If Saleh is honest, which a far shot, he should provide proof that he has deserted the Houthi camp and is ready for reconciliation to put an end to the tragedy he had begun.