Nephew of slain ex-president not welcome in south Yemen
The presence of slain former president Ali Abdulah Saleh’s nephew is not welcome said commanders of pro-government forces in south Yemen, highlighting a Saudi-Emirati rift in the Arab coalition.
In a statement, they accused the Saudi-led bloc fighting Houthi rebels, and in particular, the United Arab Emirates, of provoking Yemenis by hosting Tariq Saleh.
Saleh, a former commander of the Yemeni special forces, was thought to have been killed alongside his uncle last month by Houthi rebels, their former allies. He later appeared in the Shabwa province, offering condolences to the families and calling for co-operation with Saudi Arabia.
The statement warned that it was a "dangerous escalation that cannot be ignored" and called upon their comrades to "raise the level of combat readiness and remain ready to carry out the directives they receive."
Former Yemeni president Saleh joined ranks with the Iranian-backed Houthis in 2014 to seize Sanaa and drove out President Abd Raboo Mansour Hadi’s internationally-recognised government.
The fragile alliance pitched them against the Saudi-led coalition backing President Hadi.
Internal rifts however caused Yemen’s rebel alliance, in control of the capital since 2014, to unravel. As President Saleh announced the end of his three-year alliance with the Houthis, he was killed by the Iranian-backed rebels December 4 while he attempted to flee the capital.
The Yemen war has claimed more than 10,000 lives since the Saudi-led campaign began. The country is now facing what the United Nations has described as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.