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Guest Thinkers

Not a good sign

Al-Tagheer is reporting that President Salih has replaced the head of the 35th Armored Division, Muhammad ‘Abdullah Haydar with Faysal Rajib.

I have heard some disquieting and quite scary news about the 35th this past week but I haven’t been able to find a news story to confirm what I was told – although this report seems to confirm at least the broad outlines of the story. Still, I’m hesitant to pass on the story without more confirmation, given its incendiary nature.

Nevertheless, I think just working from this story, we can tease out some very worrying threads with regards to Yemen’s future. One thing that immediately jumped out to me is the reporting of where all the generals in the story are from. For instance, Haydar is from Sanhan (the President’s tribe) and he was clearly being blamed for the problems in Dhala’a by the protesters, while Rajib is from Abyan.

As Yemen continues to disintegrate over the coming months and years I think we will see more of this – people associated with the regime will start to come under severe criticism and attack as different strands of opposition unite in alliances of convenience against what is viewed as a common enemy, or at least those who continue to enjoy the benefits of the state. As I pointed out in the comments the other day, as the government continues to lose money fewer and fewer people will enjoy the benefits of the state, which will place them in opposition to the state. This means that the system that has held sway in Yemen will begin to break down.


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