Written By: Shuaib Al Mosawa
Article Date: Feb 4, 2013 - 7:31:54 PM
Brigadier Ahmed Ali, son of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh and Commander of the Republican Guards (RG)
Brigadier Ahmed Ali, son of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh and Commander of the powerful US trained Republican Guards (RG), said he has no objection to the military shakeup, echoing his father’s criticism for foes who have demanded his removal as well as his father’s since popular protest broke out in 2011.
The Saleh family has accused the Islamist Islah Party, the main opposition Islamist party which led the 2011 protest and has since demanded Saleh’s removal, of planning a coup against them, including a June assassination attempt on Saleh’s compound that left him and a number of aides seriously injured.
“I’d like to talk about restructuring the army,” said Ahmed, “… there’s no objection as long as it serves the nation’s interests… we are part of the armed forces and thus under the command of the president of the Republic [Hadi], the Supreme commander-in-chief.”
Ahmed has kept a low profile and his February 2nd speech was the first since the 2011 political crisis. RG, based in almost all provinces, has fought with opponents to Saleh’s rule in more than one front. Arhab-based RG, 30 kms to the north of the capital Sana’a, witnessed the fiercest fighting in which dozens of tribesmen were killed in an attempt to overrun a RG base.
Plans for restructuring the army, part of the GCC deal that aimed to end the political upheaval of2011, has already seen the Elite Forces been transferred from Ahmed’s command into president Hadi’s in last year. The plan also aims to restructure units that defected from the army and are still led by General Ali Muhsin al-Ahmar, a key commander who aligned himself with the opposition in 2011 after playing the role of Saleh’s iron fist during his 33 year rule.
Forces of Al-Ahmar, who already pledged to comply with restructuring plan, are deployed in the northern part of the capital and have battled with the RG in more than one front.
In a “consultative meeting” with commanders across the country, Ahmed praised them as “those who have confronted terrorists, and outlaws, [who planned] coups and deviated from constitutional legitimacy.”
“They have also attacked the RGs aimed at disrupting the cohesion and solidity of these strong heroic courage units and demoralizing their hero fighters.” he added.
“The Republican Guard has become a source of pride for all Yemenis for its loyalty to God and the homeland. It was not comprised of militias or groups of certain political forces working for the destruction and disintegration of Yemen,” said Ahmed, referring to his rivals.
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