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Yemen: Houthi Militias to Scapegoat Saleh in Barter for Settlement Privileges | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Yemeni men attend a gathering held to show support to Houthis, in Sana’a, Yemen December 6, 2016. (File photo: Reuters)

Aden- Houthi militias in Yemen have threatened to kill the ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh, stressing that he will be punished severely, reported the Saudi Press Agency SPA.

A broadcasting channel affiliated with Iran-aligned putschist leader Abdulmalik Al-Houthi made a loud and clear threat to Saleh when airing a documentary on the assassination of Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi.

Despite going hand in glove in their attempt at a power grab in Yemen, and to topple the internationally-recognized government led by Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, serious disputes surfaced between Saleh loyalists and Iran-backed Houthis.

Saleh was accused of being directly involved in the assassination of Hussein al-Houthi, and that his actions will be put to account.

This is the first ever direct accusation or conclusion made on the case of Hussein al-Houthi, thereby informing Saleh and his armed loyalists—partaking in the Houthi-led coup — that there is no escaping punishment. Hussein al-Houthi was instrumental in the insurgency against the Yemeni government, which began in 2004.

Threats and notices given to the ousted president have increased, incoming from several different parties– the most recent being the one posted by the Houthi leader on his “Facebook” page saying that operations for either arresting or killing Saleh are underway.

Third party observers said that this warning shows Houthi militias’ intentions on offering Saleh as a scapegoat to win some privileges in any upcoming settlement for the Yemeni crisis.

Cited by SPA, Dr. Najeeb Ghalab, a professor of political science at Sana’a University and head of Arabian Peninsula Center for Studies, said Houthis would not hesitate in killing Saleh, given the right moment.

In a retaliatory move, Saleh has directed intelligence services to carry out assassinations of Houthi leaders in Sana’a, their hub, and eliminate them before he is assassinated, press sources said.

Saleh’s orders came after Houthis having reportedly looted thousands of arms and ammunition from a store belonging to his loyalists in Sana’a. Clashes among insurgency ranks are yet to be reported, but with many tensions building up, a head-on clash is expected to take place soon.

Yemen is already reeling from the conflict between Houthi insurgents, aligned with Iran, against the constitutionally elected and internationally recognized government of Hadi. A Saudi-led Arab coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 to help the government retake the capital Sana’a.