As Yemen finds itself caught in the eye of a terror storm, the warnings of one Dr. Tarek Mustafa Salam, the secretary-general of the Center for Development and Gender at Sanaa University, barely made it to the media.
Ever since Washington announced on August 3 it would close down several of its diplomatic posts across the Middle East and in response to an aggravated terror threats, Yemen, one of al-Qaeda's main hubs in the region, has had nothing but terror on its mind.
For well over a week now, Yemen skies have been patrolled by drones, the streets of its capital, Sana'a have been taken over by the military and residents have lived in fear of air strikes; politics has been the last thing on anyone's mind.
But while Yemenis might be somewhat preoccupied, Dr. Salam's warnings are nevertheless ringing some level of truth, at least enough for the media to want to pay attention.
According to the professor, Yemen's former strongman, President Ali Abdullah Saleh, would be preparing a military coup d'état against President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi.
While President Hadi has spent most of the past three decades in service of then-President Saleh, his rise to power in 2011 as Saleh's replacement at the head of the state turned him into a direct opponent of the former regime.
Back in 2012, when Yemenis celebrated President Hadi's election to the presidency several experts warned against a counter-revolution which would seek to re-establish lost political ground under the form of military dictatorship.
As history often tells, revolutions are almost always accompanied, successfully or not, by counter-revolutions.
Before France could claim to its republican system, it had to go through imperialism and a constitutional monarchy. Revolutions are breading grounds for political instability, with many political flux and reflux before stability can be reclaimed, it would be only logical to assume that Yemen would follow that principle.
Dr. Salam argues that July 29th attack against the presidential palace was but a preamble of things to come, a try-out of sorts to test the new government's resolve and its security system.
While most of the local and international press only saw a group of disgruntled former Republican Guards reacting to a loss of financial benefits, Dr. Salam foresaw the blueprint of a military take-over.
His article published in Al-Tagheer was unequivocal; he wrote, “I personally was warned [of an impending danger being concocted against the people and country] by a friend with close ties to the Saleh family. Yes, he warned me last Monday [July 29] that such an incident was being feverishly readied by Saleh supporters in the ranks of the army and security forces.”
It is important to note that whether or not one chooses to believe such a statement, one cannot deny the fact that former President Saleh and his close family members, especially his eldest son, Gen. Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh have retained much influence within the army, Yemen's political class and the tribes.
While the Saleh might not be preparing a coup, dismissing their ability to do so, would be a mistake.
Whether than could they? The question everyone should be really asking is, would they want to?
Dr. Salam continued his argumentation by writing, "We are puzzled as to the circumstances that necessitated steps and exploratory measures be undertaken with such haste during the day on Friday and Sunday afternoon, when preliminary information surfaced about the Third Armored Brigade, led by Gen. Abdul Rahman al-Halili, preparing to lead the way in a coup against President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi and constitutional legitimacy, when it refused to comply with orders issued last Friday directing it to perform its military duty [by repositioning itself] and repel attempts to storm the Yemeni Presidential Residence. Was this the result of information leaking about the conspiratorial scheme that was being prepared in absolute secrecy? Or was it due to other completely unrelated factors pertaining to President Hadi’s current tour abroad and the results that may ensue? Was it maybe a manifestation of both, or did it occur as a result of a previously set timetable governing the plot? Or was it due to a fourth as of yet undetermined factor?”
It is important to note that when clashes broke out between former Republican Guards and the Presidential Guards, Gen. Al-Halili, the Commander in Chief of the Third Brigade was performing Umra in Saudi Arabia.
While indeed the Third Brigade was under the direct leadership of Gen. Tarik Mohammed Saleh, a nephew to former President Saleh before the Defense Ministry chose to appoint Gen. al-Halili as part of Yemen military restructuration in 2012, talks of dissidence or defection have been labeled as far fetched by the military.
Nevertheless Dr. Salam insists that Yemen is on the brink, adamant that former President Saleh is planning a military comeback. Directly addressing President Hadi he wrote, “Be vigilant and face the treacherous murderous beast. Do not distract yourself with other trivial issues, or with reviving old rivalries and creating new ones with allied or hostile parties or factions at home or abroad. This is exactly what the treacherous beast craves and desires."