Since the start of the revolution in February, one political figure that has remained in the shadows is President Saleh’s 42-year-old son, Brigadier-General Ahmed Ali. Even after the attempted assassination of his father on June 3, 2011, the deafening silence persisted, leaving residents and the opposition unsure of his intentions and plans. After the attack on the Presidential compound, it was announced that Vice President Al-Hadi would take lead until President Saleh regained his health. Concurrently, Ahmed Ali moved into the Presidential palace claiming that not Al-Hadi, but he was in active power until his father’s return. This ignited the inevitable power vacuum that left all sides vying for power. Al-Hadi argued grounds that the constitution immediately granted him active power in the situation that the president was not fit to lead. Despite these stipulations, it has been widely expected that Ahmed would assume his father’s role when the time came.
Since the attack, there has been a political-stalement and lack of clarity and consensus on who really was qualified to gain active power. With each side claiming inheritance and lacking amicable assent, residents were left confused and anxious, fearing this deadlock would lead them into another armed conflict and power struggle, leaving them once again caught in the crossfire.
Brigadier-General Ahmed Ali Breaks his Silence
In a statement just published by the country’s Defense Ministry, Ahmed Ali breaks his silence. President Saleh’s son makes his remarks vowing loyalty and support to Vice President Al-Hadi:
“The army forces of the Republican Guards and Special Forces are loyal to the country and unity, and are committed to implementing the orders of Vice President Abdu-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, ” Saleh’s son said in the statement. Ahmed Ali is the commander of the Republican Guard and Yemeni special operation forces.
“As the military commander of the Republican Guards and Special Forces, I reaffirmed to fulfill my duties and responsibilities to defend the country and preserve its democracy, security, stability and unity under the leadership of Vice President Hadi,” Ahmed Ali said.
Yemeni defense is institutionalized and part of the regime’s power machine. It’s lack of autonomy and very nature of interdependency suggests that the destabilizing and decentralizing of the current regime structure is far more complex than one may have assumed. High-ranking military positions and security institutions have been granted to President Saleh’s relatives, to further consolidate power. By filling Yemen’s security apparatus with family members, he was insuring himself and his protecting his power.