Former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Wednesday described infighting and widening rift among coup ranks in Sana’a an act of “sedition.”
Saleh, leading a party of armed loyalists partaking in a nation-wide insurgency, demanded that investigations be conducted over the killing of Officer Khaled Rida in clashes with Houthi militias last week.
Iran-allied Houthis are leading the coup against the internationally-backed government which relocated to the temporary capital, Aden.
In his first appearance after the skirmishes, Saleh said in a brief speech when he attended Radi’s funeral in Sana’a on Wednesday that he holds the self-declared political council and government of the coup responsible for the incident, reported the Popular Congress Party on its official website.
“Saleh’s speech was a covert reconciliation outreach to Houthi militias by urging the presidential council to intervene and contain the crisis that emerged after Radi’s death,” Bahraini political analyst Abdullah al-Junaid told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.
At the same time, Saleh relayed Houthis another message by sending a shout out for vengeance, showing that a great tribal extension stands in favor of his party, Junaid added.
Sana’a now witnesses the calm before the storm, with the prospect of armed confrontations between Saleh loyalists and Houthis increasing—such an outbreak could lead to a series of kidnapping and assassinations taking place as the two major coup factions attempt to excommunicate each other.
A security expert said Houthis were seeking to take over southern Sana’a gates in a power grab against the insurgency-held capital, thereon removing Saleh supporters from power.
On differences emerging between coup parties in Yemen, security and political expert Muhammad al-Walas said that Houthis “are now controlling Sana’a and have laid siege to some 70 percent of its territory, while restricting control of pro-Saleh fighters to the southern gates only.”