Ali Abdullah Saleh, 75, Sana

Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen’s former president was killed in Sana earlier this December amid his Loyalists and Shia-Houthi’s battle for control for Yemen’s capital.

Coming from a humble background, Saleh rose from his position in the armed forces in Northern Yemen as a tank commander to president, in 1978. He solemnised the marriage between north Yemen with the communist south in 1991, while remaining president. Saleh ruled Yemen for more than three decades until forced to give resignation following an Arab Spring uprising in 2011 in exchange for immunity from criminal charges. However, he continued to dominate the political scene

While practicing opulence, Saleh kept his friends closer and the enemies closest. In the 1990’s, petrodollars helped amass an empire for Saleh, as he obliged his family and friends by giving them money and positions. His humble tribe had become the strongest in the country. His enemies too were granted great benefits and opportunities.

However Saleh was also known for his merciless rule, killing thirty soldiers of the army in 1978 for conspiring against Saleh’s government. Again in 2011, 50 protestors, later dubbed by Saleh ‘al-Qaeda stooges, demanding a Yemeni Arab Spring were killed by his regime.  He broke that rule in 1978, when he killed 30 army officers for conspiracy, and in 2011, when his troops shot at least 50 protesters hoping for an Arab spring in Yemen.

In 2014, Saleh aligned the Saleh-Houthi forces, despite a past of conflict between the two for the control of Sanaa from Hadi’s government. However the relationship remained dicey, owing to Saleh’s brand of diplomacy, often soft towards the Saudi regime. Their recent split proved disastrous Yemen war, which has already claimed more than 8,750 lives and threatening mass starvation of citizen, since the intervention of a Saudi-led coalition, nailing the fate of the late president.

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