Yemeni Ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh has been killed after a bomb blew up in his family’s compound in the capital of Yemen, Sana’a.
He has been alleged to have been conspiring with Iran to overtake the Yemeni government.
From The NY Times:
Ali Abdullah Saleh, the ousted strongman who once governed Yemen and then conspired with Iranian-backed rebels to claw his way back to power, was killed on Monday after a bomb blew up his family’s compound in the capital, Sana, according to multiple reports from rival factions clashing there.
The death of Mr. Saleh is likely to add to escalating tensions between the two regional heavyweights, Saudi Arabia and Iran, who have clashed indirectly through the Yemeni fighting.
His demise removes one of the wiliest and best-connected players in Yemeni politics, further diminishing hopes of an imminent resolution to the catastrophic civil war that has gripped Yemen for more than two years. It could easily kick off new violence between his supporters and the Iran-allied Houthi faction, which recently fought alongside Mr. Saleh and his supporters but had previously fought against them.
The reports of Mr. Saleh’s death came just two days after he appeared to switch sides for the second time between Saudi-allied and Iran-linked factions in Yemen. As president, Mr. Saleh had been a close ally of both Saudi Arabia and the United States, which considered him a partner in the fight against Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen and a bulwark against the influence of Iran through its allies, the Houthi.
After he was removed from office in 2011 in a deal to end the Arab Spring uprising in Yemen, however, Mr. Saleh struck an alliance with the Houthis. In 2015, forces loyal to him helped the Houthis seize control of the capital and much of the country. In retaliation, Saudi Arabia, backed by the United Arab Emirates and with help from Washington, launched an air campaign and a blockade against the rebel group.