How a Longtime President Ended Up Dead in a Pickup

As Ali Abdullah Saleh's son swears revenge at the Houthis who apparently killed him
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 5, 2017 12:22 PM CST
Supporters of Shiite Houthi rebels attend a rally in Sanaa, Yemen, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. The killing of Yemen's ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh by the country's Shiite rebels on Monday, as their alliance...   (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
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(Newser) – "The blood of my father will be hell ringing in the ears of Iran." It's an oath of revenge spoken by the son of Yemen's former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was killed Monday, apparently by the Houthi rebels he had until recently supported. It ends the life of a strongman who ruled a country—an act he famously likened to "dancing on the heads of snakes"—for 33 years before giving up power in the shadows of the Arab Spring in 2012. The New York Times reports son Ahmed Ali Saleh came out of "enforced seclusion" in the United Arab Emirates to publicly pledge that he would "lead the battle until the last Houthi is thrown out of Yemen." More on the younger Saleh, the elder Saleh's death, and what it means for Yemen:

  • The sides: The elder Saleh had since 2014 backed his former enemies, the Houthi rebels, who are supported by Iran and currently hold the capital of Sanaa. In recent days he realigned himself with the Saudi-led forces (who back a Yemeni government based in Aden) trying to push the Houthis out, only to see what Reuters calls a "pro-Saleh uprising" in the capital quickly decimated. The whole thing is viewed by many as a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and the BBC saw Saleh's alliance with the Houthis as "doomed to fail—it was, after all, between political rivals who had fought no fewer than six wars between 2004 and 2010."

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