News / Middle East

Report: Yemen President Removes Key Officer in Army Shakeup

Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi (2012 photo)
Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi (2012 photo)
Reuters
Yemen's president removed the commander of the elite Republican Guard, a powerful political foe, from the military on Wednesday, state television reported, in an apparent move to unify the divided armed forces under his own control.
       
The television read out orders by President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi appointing Brigadier General Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is the son of Hadi's predecessor, former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, as ambassador to the United Arab Emirates.
       
Hadi has vowed to unify the army, which is divided between allies and opponents of Ali Abdullah Saleh, who stepped down in a Gulf-brokered deal in 2012 after a year of protests against his rule, but still looms large in Yemen.
       
Gulf neighbors and Western nations fear the wily leader's continuing influence, not least through his powerful son, could tip a delicate political transition into chaos.
       
Dozens of youths gathered outside Hadi's home in the capital Sanaa to show support for the decisions. "March, O Hadi, we are behind you until we achieve change,'' they chanted.
       
"The orders effectively ended the divisions in the army and made all these forces under president Hadi's control,'' retired General Mohammed Sarei Shaye told Reuters.
       
"It is a strike by a master. It uprooted all centres of power in the army,'' he added.
       
Political commentator Abdel-Bari Taher said the orders made Hadi "truly the president and sole decision maker of the army''.

Yemen Stability Priority for US, Allies

Restoring stability in Yemen has become a priority for the United States and its Gulf allies, concerned about al Qaeda militants operating in a country that adjoins top oil exporter Saudi Arabia and overlooks major global shipping lanes.
       
The television said Hadi also had appointed General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, commander of the First Armoured Division, as a presidential adviser for military affairs.
       
Ahmar is a rival of Ahmed Saleh and sided with his father's opponents in the political crisis of 2011, backing activists who took to the streets demanding that President Saleh step down.
       
Ahmar's forces and the Republican Guard occasionally had traded fire during the nearly year-long protests against Saleh's rule. There was no immediate reaction from either man.
       
State television said Hadi's orders also included appointing two of Saleh's nephews, who had served in the Presidential Guard and the intelligence service, as military charges d'affaires in Ethiopia and Germany, in what appeared an attempt to remove any influence they might still wield despite having been removed from their posts last year.
       
The orders are the second main step in Hadi's overhaul of the military, part of an internationally backed plan to restore stability to Yemen and widely seen as part of efforts to loosen the Saleh family's grip on the armed forces.
       
In a first move, Hadi in December issued decrees that restructured the armed forces into four major units and abolished the Republican Guard and the First Armoured Division.  The December decrees said nothing about the roles of Ahmed Saleh and Mohsen.
       
In his December orders, Hadi gave himself direct control over some units separate from the Republican Guard that had also been under Ahmed's command, including special forces and anti-terrorism units.
       
Hadi last month launched a conference of national reconciliation to try to prepare a new blueprint for what he called "right-guided governance''.
       
The conference, comprising all of Yemen's main political forces, is expected to produce a draft of a new constitution and put proposals for addressing demands by southern leaders to restore the state which merged with North Yemen in 1990.
       
The power transfer deal, signed in Saudi Arabia, aims to hold the country together in the face of internal divisions and separatist movements as well as the challenge from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which is based in Yemen.

You May Like

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid