A powerful general who is the son of Yemen’s former president has agreed to give up his missiles after his elite Republican Guard was disbanded by the Arab nation’s new leader, sources at the presidency said Dec. 20.
Brig. Gen. Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh’s apparent compliance with an armed forces shake-up ordered by President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi on Wednesday eases fears of more turmoil in a country in the throes of a tense political transition.
The overhaul is widely seen as part of efforts to curb the still-considerable influence of Saleh’s father, ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh, loosen his family’s grip on the military and implement an internationally-backed plan to restore stability.
“Gen. Ahmed has started to transfer all the missiles under his command to President Hadi,” a source at the presidential palace told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
“The decree will be executed. I don’t think anyone can stand against the international community, which has threatened to impose sanctions against those who oppose Hadi’s decrees.”
Earlier this month Saleh had refused orders from Hadi to hand over long-range Scud missiles to the Defense Ministry.
Another presidential source confirmed the missile transfer and said the United States, once an ally of Saleh in combating al Qaeda, had told his relatives “that the international community supports the decisions made by President Hadi”.
Officials at Ahmed Saleh’s office were not available for comment. But his father’s press secretary said Hadi’s decisions to restructure the armed forces were “welcomed.”
After a year of protests against his rule, President Saleh made way for Hadi in February under a Gulf-brokered transition plan backed by Washington and its Western allies.