Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Yemen: A new Saleh emerges

There are reports that the youngest son of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Khalid , has been made a commander of a new army division. The report was vigorously denied but drew attention to this young man, still only a second lieutenant and a recent graduate of Sandhurst, since he will clearly be groomed in the same way as the president's eldest son Ahmad and his three nephews.

The main family members in prominent positions are:

> Ahmad Ali Abdullah , son – commander, Republican Guard and Special Forces

> Muhammad Abdullah Saleh , brother – commander, Air Force

> Ali Muhsin al-Ahmar , half brother/cousin – commander,1st Armoured Brigade

> Tarek Muhammad Abdullah Saleh , nephew – head, Private Forces

> Yahya Muhammad Abdullah Saleh , nephew – commander, Security Central Forces

> Ammar Muhammad Abdullah Saleh, nephew – deputy commander, National Security Organisation.

We will discuss in a later edition the functions of the various organisations controlled by these close relatives of the president. However, they include nearly all the key security and intelligence organisations and the most important military units. President Saleh's opponents are well aware of the power this provides. It means that the inner part of the regime can feel relatively safe, though not strong enough to impose its authority on large parts of the state. It is here that Ali Abdullah's skill at building a network of relationships sustained through patronage extend the influence of the presidency if not his government.

For more news and expert analysis about Yemen, please see Yemen Focus.

© 2010 Menas Associates

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