A leading Arab journalist says the former Yemeni president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was recently killed in Sana’a, failed to learn lessons from history and fell into the trap of the Saudi-led coalition, which has been involved in a bloody military campaign against Yemen since early 2015.
Abdel Bari Atwan, who is the editor-in-chief of Rai al-Youm, an Arab world digital news and opinion website, said Tuesday that Saudi Arabia and a coalition of its allies sought to ignite a civil war in Yemen through promoting sedition and disrupting the alliance between the Ansarullah movement and Saleh’s General People’s Congress party (GPC).
Atwan said it was a surprise that Saleh, a veteran politician who had ruled Yemen for more than three decades, was deceived by the Saudis and turned to Riyadh.
Saleh was killed on Monday while attempting to escape the Yemeni Sana’a to Ma’arab Province. This came shortly after he broke ranks with the Houthi Ansarullah movement in favor of the Saudi-led military coalition, which has been pounding Yemen to reinstall its former Riyadh-allied government.
Atwan said that in 1994, when the Yemeni army was engaged in a war with separatists, Saleh was well aware that Saudi Arabia was seeking to disintegrate Yemen.
Saleh was of the opinion that any group or country that enjoys the support of Saudi Arabia is doomed to failure, said Atwan.
Shocked by Saleh’s decision to the end of his alliance with Houthis, the political commentator said that the decision was made at the time when the Yemen war was nearing its end.
Atwan said that Saleh’s decision to sideline the Houthis came at the time when the world is witnessing the Saudi massacre of thousands of innocent Yemeni people and the blockade of 28 million citizens who are facing famine.
Saleh’s change of stance came when the international community accused the Saudi regime of war crimes and took action in halting arms trade with Riyadh, he added.
Atwan said that Saleh was aware of the fact that Saudis hated him and just wanted to manipulate him.