Ali Abdullah Saleh
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|Ali Abdullah Saleh|
|1st President of Yemen|
22 May 1990 – 27 February 2012*
|Prime Minister||Haidar Abu Bakr al-Attas
Muhammad Said Al-Attar
Abdul Aziz Abdul Ghani
Faraj Said Bin Ghanem
Abd Al-Karim Al-Iryani
Abdul Qadir Bajamal
Ali Muhammad Mujawar
|Vice President||Ali Salim Al-Beidh (Deputy Chairman of the Presidential Council)
Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi
|Preceded by||Himself as President of North Yemen
Haidar Abu Bakr al-Attas as President of South Yemen
|Succeeded by||Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi|
|President of North Yemen|
18 July 1978 – 22 May 1990
|Prime Minister||Abdul Aziz Abdul Ghani
Abd al-Karim al-Iryani
Abdul Aziz Abdul Ghani
|Preceded by||Abdul Karim Abdullah Al-Arashi|
|Succeeded by||Himself as President of Yemen|
|Vice President of North Yemen|
24 June 1978 – 18 July 1978
|President||Abdul Karim Abdullah al-Arashi|
|Preceded by||Abdul Karim Abdullah al-Arashi|
|Succeeded by||Position abolished|
21 March 1942 |
|Political party||General People's Congress 1982–present)|
|Religion||Shia Islam (Zaidiyyah)|
|Years of service||1958–1978|
|Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi served as Acting President from 4 June 2011 – 23 September 2011 and again from 23 November 2011 – 27 February 2012.|
Ali Abdullah Saleh Al-Sanhani Al-Humairi (Arabic: علي عبدالله صالح السنحاني الحميري, ʿAlī ʿAbdullāh Ṣāliḥ; born 21 March 1942) is a Yemeni politician who was President of Yemen from 1990 to 2012. Saleh previously served as President of North Yemen from 1978 until unification with South Yemen in 1990.
After more than 23 years in power, Saleh signed the Gulf Cooperation Council agreement in November 2011, paving the way for his vice president to become acting president until 21 February 2012; at that point the vice president would be elected to the presidency. On 22 January 2012, the Yemeni parliament passed a law that granted Saleh immunity from being prosecuted, and he left Yemen for treatment in the United States. Saleh stepped down and formally ceded power to his deputy Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi at the Presidential Palace on 27 February 2012.
More recently, Saleh has openly allied with Houthis (Ansar Allah), a "revivalist Zaydi [Shia] group" leading to the Yemeni Civil War, where an insurgency succeeded in capturing Yemen's capital Sana'a and causing Hadi to flee the country.
Saleh's cousin, Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar from Al Ahmar family of Sanhan is often wrongly conflated with the same-named leading family of the Hashid tribe, which the Sanhan tribe allied with. The Sanhan tribe belongs to the Himyar tribe. Sanhan also related to with the large Yemeni Khawlan tribe.
Rise to power
Saleh joined the North Yemeni Armed Forces in 1958, as an infantry soldier, and was admitted to the North Yemen Military Academy in 1960. Three years later, in 1963, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Armoured Corps. He participated in the (Nasserist-inspired) Army Coup of 1962, which was instrumental in the removal of King Muhammad al-Badr and the establishment of the Yemen Arab Republic. During the North Yemen Civil War he served in the Tank Corps, attaining the rank of Major by 1969. He received further training as a staff officer in the Higher Command and Staff Course in Iraq between 1970 and 1971, receiving promotion to Lieutenant Colonel. He became a full Colonel in 1976, and was given command of a Mechanised Brigade. In 1977, the President of North Yemen, Ahmed bin Hussein al-Ghashmi, appointed him as military governor of Ta'izz.
After al-Ghashmi was assassinated on 24 June 1978, Colonel Saleh was appointed to be a member of the four-man provisional presidency council and deputy to the general staff commander. On 17 July 1978, Saleh was elected by the Parliament to be the President of the Yemen Arab Republic, while simultaneously holding the positions of chief of staff and commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
Governance in the Middle East and North Africa: A Handbook describes Saleh as being neither from a "sheikhly family" nor a "large or important tribe", but rising to power through "his own means", and creating a patronage system with his family at the top. His seven brothers were placed "in key positions" and more recently he has relied on "sons, daughters, sons-in-law and nephews". Beneath the positions occupied by his extended family the president has "relied heavily on the loyalty" of two tribes, his own Sanhan tribe and the Hamdan San'a tribe of his mentor the late president Ahmad al-Ghashmi. New York Times Middle Eastern correspondent Robert F. Worth describes Saleh as reaching an understanding with powerful feudal "big sheikhs" to become "part of a Mafia-style spoils system that substituted for governance". Worth accuses Saleh of exceeding the aggrandizement of other Middle Eastern strongmen by managing to "rake off tens of billions of dollars in public funds for himself and his family" despite the extreme poverty of his country.
On 10 August 1978, Saleh ordered the execution of 30 officers charged to be part of a conspiracy against his rule. Saleh was promoted to Major General in 1980, elected the secretary-general of the General People's Congress party on 30 August 1982, and re-elected president of the Yemen Arab Republic in 1983.
The decline of the Soviet Union severely weakened the status of South Yemen, and, in 1990 the North and South agreed to unify after years of negotiations. The South accepted Saleh as President of the unified country, while Ali Salim al-Beidh served as the Vice President and a member of the Presidential Council.[page needed]
Ali Abdullah Saleh was a long-time ally of Iraq's Saddam Hussein and supported Hussein's invasion of Kuwait in 1990. After Iraq lost the Gulf War, Yemeni workers were deported from Kuwait by the restored government.
On 24 December 1997, Parliament approved Saleh's promotion to the rank of field marshal. He is currently the highest-ranking military officer in Yemen. He became Yemen's first directly-elected president in the 1999 presidential election, winning 96.2% of the vote.:310 The only other candidate, Najeeb Qahtan Al-Sha'abi, was the son of Qahtan Muhammad al-Shaabi, a former President of South Yemen. Though a member of Saleh's General People's Congress (GPC) party, Najeeb ran as an independent.
After the 1999 elections the Parliament passed a law extending presidential terms from five to seven years, extending parliamentary terms from four to six years, and creating a 111-member, presidentially-appointed council of advisors with legislative power. This move prompted Freedom House to downgrade their rating of political freedom in Yemen from 5 to 6.
In July 2005, during the 27th anniversary celebrations of his presidency, Saleh announced that he would "not contest the [presidential] elections" in September 2006. He expressed hope that "all political parties – including the opposition and the General People's Congress – find young leaders to compete in the elections because we have to train ourselves in the practice of peaceful succession." However, in June 2006, Saleh changed his mind and accepted his party's nomination as the presidential candidate of the GPC, saying that when he initially decided not to contest the elections his aim was "to establish ground for a peaceful transfer of power", but that he was now bowing to the "popular pressure and appeals of the Yemeni people." Political analyst Ali Saif Hasan said he had been "sure [President Saleh] would run as a presidential candidate. His announcement in July 2005 – that he would not run – was exceptional and unusual." Mohammed al-Rubai, head of the opposition supreme council, said the president's decision "show[ed] that the president wasn't serious in his earlier decision. I wish he hadn't initially announced that he would step down. There was no need for such farce."
In the 2006 presidential election, held on 20 September Saleh won with 77.2% of the vote. His main rival, Faisal bin Shamlan, received 21.8%. Saleh was sworn in for another term on 27 September.
In December 2005, Saleh stated in a nationally-televised broadcast that only his personal intervention had preempted a U.S. occupation of the southern port of Aden after the 2000 USS Cole bombing, stating "By chance, I happened to be down there. If I hadn't been, Aden would have been occupied as there were eight U.S. warships at the entrance to the port." However, transcripts from the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee state that no other warships were in the vicinity at the time.[page needed]
Consequences of Yemeni Revolution
In early 2011, following the Tunisian revolution that resulted in the overthrow of the long-time Tunisian president, opposition parties attempted to do the same in Yemen. Opposition started leading protesters and demanding Saleh to end his three-decade-long rule because of his perceived lack of democratic reform, widespread corruption and the claimed human rights abuses carried out by him and his allies.
On 2 February 2011, facing a major national uprising, Saleh announced that he would not seek re-election in 2013, but would serve out the remainder of his term. In response to government violence against unarmed protesters, eleven MPs of Saleh's party resigned on 23 February. By 5 March, this number had increased to 13, as well as the addition of two deputy ministers.
On 10 March 2011, Saleh announced a referendum on a new constitution, separating the executive and legislative powers. On 18 March, at least 52 people were killed and over 200 injured by government forces when unarmed demonstrators were fired upon in the university square in Sana'a. The president claimed that his security forces weren't at the location, and blamed local residents for the massacre.
Saleh fired his entire Cabinet on 20 March 2011, but asked them to remain as a caretaker cabinet until he could form a new government. On 22 March, Saleh warned that any attempt at overthrowing him would result in civil war.
On 7 April 2011, a U.S. state department cable obtained by WikiLeaks reported plans of Hamid al-Ahmar, Islah Party leader, prominent businessman, and de facto leader of Yemen's largest tribal confederation, claimed that he would organize popular demonstrations throughout Yemen aimed at removing President Saleh from power.
On 23 April 2011, facing massive nationwide protests, Saleh agreed to step down under a 30-day transition plan in which he would receive immunity from criminal prosecution. He stated that he planned to hand power over to his Vice President, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi as part of the deal.
On 18 May 2011, he agreed to sign a deal with opposition groups, stipulating that he would resign within a month; On 23 May, Saleh refused to sign the agreement, leading to renewed protests and the withdrawal of the Gulf Cooperation Council from mediation efforts in Yemen.
Assassination attempt, aftermath and return
On 3 June 2011, Saleh was injured in a bomb attack on his presidential compound, multiple C4 charges were planted inside the mosque and one exploded when the president and major members of his regime were praying. The explosion killed four bodyguards and injured the prime minister, deputy prime ministers, head of the Parliament, governor of Sanaa and many more. The man responsible for speaking at Saleh's public events was reported killed. Saleh suffered burns and shrapnel injuries, but survived, a result that was confirmed by an audio message he sent to state media in which he condemned the attack, but his voice clearly revealed that he was having difficulty in speaking. Government officials tried to downplay the attack by saying he was lightly wounded. The next day he was taken to a military hospital in Saudi Arabia for treatment. According to U.S. government officials, Saleh suffered a collapsed lung and burns on about 40 percent of his body. A Saudi official said that Saleh has undergone two operations: one to remove the shrapnel and a neurosurgery on his neck.
On 4 June 2011, Vice President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi was appointed as acting President, while Saleh remained the President of Yemen.
On 7 July 2011, Saleh appeared for the first live television appearance since his injury. He appeared badly burned and his arms were both bandaged. In his speech, he welcomed power-sharing but stressed it should be "within the framework of the constitution and in the framework of the law". On 19 September 2011, he was pictured without bandages, meeting King Abdullah.
On 23 September 2011, Yemeni state-television announced that Saleh had returned to the country after three months amid increasing turmoil in a week that saw increased gun battles on the streets of Sana'a and more than 100 deaths.
Saleh said on 8 October 2011, in comments broadcast on Yemeni state television, that he would step down "in the coming days". The opposition expressed skepticism, however, and a government minister said Saleh meant that he would leave power under the framework of a Gulf Cooperation Council initiative to transition toward democracy.
On 23 November 2011, Saleh flew to Riyadh in neighbouring Saudi Arabia to sign the Gulf Co-operation Council plan for political transition, which he had previously spurned. Upon signing the document, he agreed to legally transfer the office and powers of the presidency to his deputy, Vice President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. The agreement also led to the formation of a government divided by Saleh's political party (GPC) and the JMP.
Departure to United States
Saleh departed the United States for Ethiopia on 24 February 2012 after receiving medical treatment. He returned to Yemen the next day. He arrived at the military airport in Sana'a hours before the oath-taking of his successor Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi which resulted in protests against his return and the inability of the new government to prevent his entry into Yemen. On 27 February 2012, Saleh formally ceded power to his deputy Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and stepped down as the President of Yemen, pledging to support efforts to "rebuild" the country still reeling from months of violence.
In February 2013, Saleh opened a museum documenting his 33 years in power, located in a wing of the Saleh mosque in Sanaa. One of the museum's central display cases exhibits a pair of burnt trousers that Saleh was wearing at the time of his assassination attempt in June 2011. Other displays include fragments of shrapnel that were taken out of his body during his hospital treatment in Saudi Arabia, as well as various gifts given to Saleh by kings, presidents and world leaders over the course of his rule.
Later that year, in October, the United Nations Special Envoy to Yemen, Jamal Benomar said that Saleh and his son have the right to run in the next Yemeni presidential election, as the 2011 deal does not cover political incapacitation.
2014–16 Houthi coup
Saleh has been a behind-the-scenes leader of the Houthi takeover in Yemen led by Shia Houthi forces. Tribesmen and government forces loyal to Saleh have joined the Houthis in their march to power. On July 28, 2016, Saleh and the Houthi rebels announced a formal alliance to the fight Saudi-led military coalition, to be run by a political council of 10 members -- made up of five members from Saleh's General People's Congress, and five from the Houthis.
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|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Ali Abdullah Saleh|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ali Abdullah Saleh.|
- President Ali Abdullah Saleh official Yemen government website
- Yemen: Reuters Sells Unfounded Activist Claims As U.N. Expert Findings (February 2015). "A society that is historically based on tribes and patronage simply does not work like a liberal democracy. The real world examples of corruption in Yemen do not point to only one man or only one institution that is corrupt but to a "way of life" where disguised bribes need to be paid to whatever entity one needs to work with. Those in positions of power need those funds to pay off those they need to support for family or tribal reasons and to pay off those they need to support their position. They will also skim off some money to allow themselves a more affluent life style ... The corruption problem must be tackled over time through changes in law and new incentive structures. But it will not be done in a day or through a simple change at the top of the pyramid. To claim that all bad, all corruption and all vanished money in Yemen is somehow to be blamed on the former president Saleh ... is not based on facts ... It does not help in understanding Yemen and it does not help in solving Yemen's problems. It can only lead to more misguided and ill advised interferences."
- Ali Abdullah Saleh Appearances on C-SPAN
- Ali Abdullah Saleh collected news and commentary at Al Jazeera English
- Ali Abdullah Saleh collected news and commentary at The Jerusalem Post
- Ali Abdullah Saleh collected news and commentary at The New York Times
- Ali Abdullah Saleh Family in Yemen Govt and Business, Jane Novak, Armies of Liberation blog, 8 April 2006
- Timeline: Saleh's 32-year rule in Yemen, Reuters, 22 March 2011
- In Yemen, onetime foes united in opposing President Saleh, Sudarsan Raghavan in Sanaa, The Washington Post, 25 March 2011
- Profile: Yemen's Ali Abdullah Saleh, BBC News, 23 April 2011
Abdul Karim Abdullah al-Arashi
|President of North Yemen
as President of Yemen
as President of North Yemen
|President of Yemen
Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi
Haidar Abu Bakr al-Attas
as President of South Yemen