Yemen's former president Ali Abdullah Saleh has declared this Saturday ready to negotiate with Saudi Arabia-led coalition against which his forces have been fighting for two and a half years. The announcement, well received by Saudis, has occurred after his alliance with rebel Huthi erupted in a camp battle through streets of Sana'a, Yemeni capital, which has left dozens dead and wounded. Saleh's opportunistic coup d ' état gives Riyadh and his partners chance to put an end to a disastrous military intervention that has plunged Yemen into misery and earned numerous international criticisms.
"I call on brors of neighboring countries and coalition, to stop ir attacks, to lift blockade, to open airports and to allow entry of food aid and medicines, in return we will pass page (...)" And we will deal with m in a positive way, said Saleh in a televised intervention.
Shortly before, military and tribal forces loyal to Expresident had taken control of Radio Television, most of ministries and international Airport of Sana'a, as verified by a collaborator of El PAÍS in that city. It was culmination of three days of combat that began last Wednesday, when militiamen Huthi wanted to accede to Mosque of Saleh, largest of capital and that bears name of former president, and y encountered rejection of men of this one that Custodi Aban.
Saleh's turn, on which he had long been rumored, has been well received by Arab coalition. "The decision of Popular General Congress to take initiative and align itself with its people will free Yemen from loyal militias to Iran," he said in a statement released by Saudi SPA Agency, in reference to Saleh's party. For coalition, former president betrayed Arabs by joining Huthi, a militia that emerged at end of last century to improve living conditions of Zaydí minority (a branch of Shi'a Islam that follows one-third of Yemenis) and that Saudi Arabia considers an Inst Rumeno of his rival Iran.
For his part, leader of Huthi, Abdul Malik al-Huthi, has described Saleh's attitude as "sedition" and has been prepared for tribal arbitration, after warning that main beneficiary of this confrontation is Saudi coalition.
The tension has caused this Saturday not to open shops and paralyzed transport in Sana'a. However, as day progressed, fighting has ceased and in some neighborhoods re were popular protests to count Huthi, which in 2014 exploited social unrest with slowness of reforms to seize power and unleashed Saudi intervention A few months later. Since n, that group has been incapable of expanding its social base as well as managing government, which toger with bombings and blockade of coalition have increased discontent.
The civil war has left 10,000 dead, displaced to two million people and caused an epidemic of cholera that has affected nearly anor million. Moreover, Yemen, which was already poorest country in Middle East, is on brink of famine, with three-quarters of its 28 million people dependent on humanitarian aid.
Saleh agreed to leave presidency in 2012, n 33 years in front of Yemen, after months of popular protests and international pressure (including that of its neighbours) to prevent anor civil war being unleashed as in Libya or Syria. Probably disappointed that he could not manipulate as he expected his successor and until n vice-president, Abdrabbo Mansur Hadi, decided to support insurrection of Huthi, whom during his tenure had fought.