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How did Yemen’s Houthi-Saleh alliance collapse? | News | Al Jazeera

foto – Houthi followers shout slogans during a gathering in Sanaa this week to celebrate their advances on forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh [Khaled Abdullah/Reuters]

aljazeera.com – How did Yemen’s Houthi-Saleh alliance collapse? – by

Yemen’s former president, who once said that governing the Arabian Peninsula country was like “dancing on the heads of snakes”, has turned his back on his rebel allies, in a move planned and orchestrated by the oil-rich United Arab Emirates

After he was toppled from power in 2011, it looked like Ali Abdullah Saleh’s dancing days might be over – but more than six years on, the 75-year-old, known for his Machiavellian political manoeuvring, continues to be a key player in a conflict that has brought Yemen to its knees.

In a televised speech on Saturday, Saleh formally broke ties with the Houthis, saying he was open to a dialogue with the Saudi-led coalition that has been at war with his rebel alliance since March 2015.

As army units loyal to him clashed with the Houthis on the city’s streets for a fourth successive night, Saleh blamed the rebels for the country’s woes, calling on his forces to ignore orders from the Houthi leadership.

“Yemeni citizens have tried to tolerate the recklessness of the Houthis over the last two and half years but cannot anymore,” Saleh said.

“I call on our brothers in neighbouring countries … to stop their aggression and lift the blockade … and we will turn the page,” he added.

The Houthis, who are believed to be backed by the kingdom’s regional rival, Iran, accused Saleh of staging a “coup”, vowing to continue their fight against the “forces of aggression”.

The Saudi-led coalition that has been bombing Yemen for 33 months, said it welcomed Saleh’s overture, praising him for “taking the lead” in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

“The decision by [Saleh’s] General People’s Congress (GPC) to take the lead and side with their people, will free Yemen of … militias loyal to Iran,” the coalition said.

Planned in Abu Dhabi

Yemeni officials told Al Jazeera that Saleh’s decision to “sideline” the Houthis, a group of Shia rebels that control the capital Sanaa and large expanses of the country, was planned in Abu Dhabi earlier this year, in consultation with Saudi Arabia

A Yemeni official told Al Jazeera that the unravelling of the Saleh-Houthi alliance was aimed at carving the coalition an exit from the conflict.

Speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to talk to the media, the official said: “Mohammed Bin Salman [Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and heir to the throne] has been influenced by the UAE and thinks switching from [Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour] Hadi to Saleh will help end the war.”

Leaked emails written by two former US officials in August suggested that Mohammed bin Salman “wanted out” of the war, which he started in March 2015.

When the conflict began, analysts expected the fighting to last only a few months, but the violence has shown no signs of abating, costing the coalition billions of dollars and claiming the lives of at least 87 Emirati troops and an estimated 200 Saudis.

video – How the Yemen conflict began (2:45)

Will the GCC summit resolve the ongoing crisis?

Sorgente: How did Yemen’s Houthi-Saleh alliance collapse? | News | Al Jazeera

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