Shortly after former President Saleh’s defection to the pro Saudi/GCC position in the Yemen conflict, the competing Aden government led by Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi offered an amnesty to Saleh’s loyalists if they joined the wider Saudi led fight against the Houthis.
In the aftermath of Saleh being killed by Houthi fighters, Hadi has now called on all Yemenis to unite against Houthi rule in Sana’a.
“Speaking in a speech carried live on the Saudi-owned al-Arabiya television, Hadi also called for a new chapter in the fight against the Houthis, who were allied with Saleh before he turned on them and offered to back the Saudi-led coalition”.
At this time, it is unclear how many Saleh loyalists remain in northern Yemen and in Sana’a in particular. During intense fighting on the 2nd and 3rd of December, many pro-Saleh fighters elected to remain allied to the Houthis even when their de-facto leader switched sides.
Furthermore, Hadi himself tends to only command as much influence as Saudi money can afford as many members of militias loyal to Hadi are mercenaries from East Africa paid by Riyadh to fight on “Hadi’s behalf”. Others yet are members of the Southern Movement who while allied with Hadi, are more interested in re-create a separate sate in South Yemen than their are in restoring Hadi’s rule in Sana’a.
In Sana’a the defections of many of Saleh loyalists back to the Houthis, resulted in Houthis taking full control of Sana’a in less than 24 hours. Moreover however, the overriding fear is that Saudi Arabia will now exploit Saleh’s death to unleash further air strikes on Sana’a, which many journalists in the region claiming that Saudi Arabia plans massive airstrikes on Sana’s within hours.
Saudi sate-run media is more or less treating Saleh as a martyr, even though he was their sworn enemy just days ago.