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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More