December 4, 2017

Seche on Death of Ali Abdullah Saleh

Executive Vice President Stephen A. Seche discussed the death of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh on BBC Newshour:

… no one really knows what this means in terms of how Yemen proceeds in the short run right now. I think, what I fear, is that there’s going to be a spate of retribution from Saleh’s followers, the armed forces he still held sway over, towards the Houthis. And, worst of all, it’s probably likely to focus on Sanaa, the capital, and that’s been largely immune from most of the violence so far although lately [there’s] been an uptick in violence there as the Houthis and Saleh forces have squared off but I think that’s going to get sharper and more violent and therefore less likely to contribute to anything other than more chaos in Yemen.

… Saleh had an amazing ability to be able to kind of square off and balance and work against each other many different competing interests in Yemen, all for his benefit and that of his family and that’s what gone now. That kind of centrifugal force that Saleh exuded has left the arena and therefore there’s a lot of people going in different ways, looking for different centers of gravity that they can cling on to and perhaps try to use for their own benefit, but without Saleh it’s unclear who steps into this vacuum and the GPC, his political party – the General People’s Congress – has leadership but nothing in the way of the charisma or the unifying factor that Saleh, for all of his really fatal flaws, brought to the political life of Yemen.

Seche also appeared on Al Jazeera, VOA, and BBC World News to discuss Saleh’s death. Speaking with BBC, he discussed Saleh’s decision to break his alliance with Houthi rebels: “He was a master opportunist and this may have been another opportunity for him to see a way out of a jam that he had gotten himself into with the alliance with the Houthis in the first place.”