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IT is very normal for General Ali Mohsin Saleh to be promoted as vice president of the country while he maintains his membership of the top military command, because General Ali Mohsin — popularly known as “Al-Ahmar” (The Red), is a natural extension of Yemen’s military leadership structure, given that he led the frontline armored teams in the series of wars against Houthis during the regime of his kinsman, and currently, his fierce foe former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Expectations are high that Ali Mohsin Al-Ahmar will succeed on the ground, in view of the fact that he was appointed as deputy commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces. His promotion as vice-president was anticipated and it came to pass, so we are likely to see him as the president in future.
From the start of the Resolve Storm Initiative and initial stages of forming the popular resistance forces that eventually became nucleus of the new Yemeni Army, it became clear that the forces lacked a real military leader with necessary experience. The forces almost relied completely on the Arab coalition land forces — most especially Saudi Arabia and UAE. They advanced significantly due to highly developed capabilities and tight control of the sky.
There was the need for an experienced military leader, and Ali Mohsin Al-Ahmar was the perfect person. Hence, improvements in Yemeni battlefield became possible through him. However, we should beware of ‘behind the scene’ understandings with Al-Ahmar and pick up the conditions and agreements? Did all coalition countries accept the promotion of Al-Ahmar to the political and military leadership positions? I am not revealing any secrets here, but there are several disturbing reports on issues, even if they are unofficial.
A major member state of the coalition believes that political uproar could be incited against General Al-Ahmar due to certain political complexities and his closeness to the Muslim brotherhood and Salafists in Yemen.
As regards the upcoming dialogues in Kuwait, there are signs that the war is going to end and the dialogue in Kuwait will most likely be an icing on the cake for successes of the Resolve Storm, which has broken the backbone of foreign interference in Yemen and other countries in the region.
The file of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh remains open to various possibilities; he may be led out of the country under protection or remain problematic in Yemen until Allah decides his fate. It is clear that things are no longer the same between Al-Saleh and his temporary allies, Al-Houthis. It seems that the honeymoon period is approaching a dead end, if not practically ended by now! We should be observant of Iranian interference in the upcoming dialogues, as Houthis regard Tehran as their political direction in dialogues.
I used the word “may” initiate regional negotiations in the form of “give and take”. The popular adage is also relevant to crises in Syria, Lebanon and possibly, Iraq.
We may realize that dialogue expands its scope beyond the problem in Yemen to cover a wider horizon; thus the best thing is for (Houthis) to return to their pre-September situation and stay put as a force in its natural size without going beyond that level. In other words, they only need peace and restoration to their previous status.
Finally, the appointment of Al-Ahmar as vice-president of the country prepares the ground for his leadership of the country in the near future, in line with certain procedures, if the situation returns to normal. Removing Khalid Bahah and appointing Bin Dagar as prime minister is another possibility if the country attains stability.
By Yousef Awadh Al-Azmi