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Yemen’s President Abdurabu Hadi issued orders ousting dozens of senior army commanders loyal to ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

 

Hadi's move followed concerns that Saleh was using the loyalists to destabilize the country.

 

Some, including Saleh’s half-brother Mohammed Saleh, who is the air force chief, refused to comply with the orders. The ousted commander briefly ordered the closure of Sanaa airport as a sign to ascertain his authority.

 

As a result, President Hadi issued orders that Mohammed Saleh be forced to stand in front of a military court for “refusing to step down from his post and take orders” from his superiors. Hadi is also the highest military authority in Yemen and head of the military committee in the country.

 

Sources in Yemen said that the orders come after Hadi believes that Saleh is behind the chaos in the air force and the looting of military equipment.

 

April 12, 2012

 

 

Analysis and Forecast: Increasing Risk


 

The attempt by the new Yemeni President is a step to consolidate his position and break-off from accusations of being a continuation of the Saleh regime. Saleh supporters, some of whom have been generally supportive – or at least not openly in opposition to Hadi, have expressed frustration at the way Hadi has been treating Saleh loyalists. Whilst both belong to the same ruling General People’s Congress (GPC), and the GPC supported Hadi during the presidential elections, Hadi’s attempts to sideline Saleh loyalists has angered members of the GPC.

 

The decision to depose key military figures has further inflamed the situation and the trial – if it does take place, is expected to divide the party entirely. Whilst this generally would increase popular support for Hadi as he tries to unite various Yemeni factions behind his rule, it may lead to opening up another opposition front to his rule, before he manages to unite non-GPC members behind him. It is believed that Saleh loyalists are heavily armed and should the situation with them not improve, the stability of the country may be undermined further.