DAMASCUS, SYRIA (7:15 PM) – Sayyid Abdul-Malik Badreddin al-Houthi, the leader of Yemeni political party and resistance movement Ansarullah (also known as the Houthi movement), has stated that the movement has thwarted a major threat to the security of Yemen by suppressing the military takeover attempt by former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The Ansarullah leader spoke to his followers on Monday, after news came out that Saleh had been shot and killed during an ambush. According to Houthi, Saleh betrayed the trust of Ansarullah by switching sides and turning against his former ally on Thursday. He continued by stating that even after the apparent switch of allegiance, there had been negotiations in which Ansarullah had asked Saleh to come back from his decision.
“However, they declined our request and continued with their wrong pro-Saudi approach and ended up with blocking the capital’s streets (…) They intended to do the same in other provinces and cities … but today, this plot was defeated very quickly,” Houthi said.
Abdul-Malik al-Houthi furthermore stated that Saleh had effectively sided with the Saudi-led coalition in the final days of his life, and that his sudden change of heart had taken Yemen by surprise, including many in Saleh’s own General People’s Congress (GPC) party. Furthermore, the Ansarullah leader claimed that Saleh’s militias had coordinated their attempted takeover of the capital city of Sana’a with Saudi airstrikes that rocked the Yemeni capital throughout the weekend.
Houthi concluded by warning against any retaliation attacks against individual members of the General People’s Congress, and forbade any form of violence against the party, claiming that the GPC itself was not responsible for Saleh’s actions.
Ali Abdullah Saleh was the president of North Yemen (officially the Yemen Arab Republic) from 1978 to 1990, and subsequently president of the united Republic of Yemen from 1990 until being forced out by a popular revolution in 2011. During his reign, Saleh was known as a military strongman who regularly resorted to violence to quell unrest, notably by killing Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, the founder of the Ansarullah movement and elder brother to Abdul-Malik al-Houthi.
After abdicating in 2011 in favour of Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, Saleh established closer ties to the Houthi movement, eventually declaring an alliance between his General People’s Congress and Ansarullah after the September 2014 revolution that brought the Houthis to power. However, after Thursday’s celebrations in honour of the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad in Sana’a, Saleh switched sides yet again and declared his opposition to Ansarullah, leading to fierce clashes between his militia forces and troops loyal to Ansarullah. On Monday, Saleh was killed in a shootout, with sources still disputing whether he died at home in Sana’a or on the way to the central Yemeni city of Ma’rib.