Saleh had openly allied with the Houthis, leading to the Yemeni Civil War, in which an insurgency succeeded in capturing Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, causing President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi to flee the country.
Saleh was responding to Abdul-Malik al-Houthi’s accusations that he allegedly betrayed the coup and used political extortion.
As reported by Asharq Al-Awsat, an Arabic international newspaper headquartered in London, political analysts said that Saleh’s speech, notably his desire for the General People’s Congress party to be distinguished from other Yemeni political components, as well as his claim that he is in charge of the constitution and the law, shows his disregard of his coup partners, the Houthis.
According to Saleh, Houthi militias have adopted the Iranian model and reproduced it in areas that they control. He sees the Houthis as lacking in self-determination, and considers them under-qualified to lead or manage their territory.
Yemeni political analyst Najib Gulab told Asharq Al-Awsat, “Saleh tried to deliver a message that he is a man committed to the law and is governed by the objectives of the coup, noting his rejection of Houthi doctrines.” Gulab continued, saying that Saleh realizes that Houthis follow an ideological structure that can only produce violence and conflict and works contrary to political beliefs held within Yemen.
The Houthis and the armed Saleh loyalists surprised the world with their joint coup against the internationally-backed government in 2014. Still they showed their differences by their rhetoric and their approach.
An aide to the Aden-based government information minister, Fahd al-Sharfi, said that the dispute is now taking a turn for the worse, as Saleh reveals the Houthi’s poor management, particularly in the case of al-Malik’s uncle, Abdul Karim Amir al-Houthi, who was a shadow director for the Houthi movement.
Gulab called Saleh’s reaction to the Houthi leader’s speech “quick and clear.” He said that Saleh demonstrated more experience in delivering counter messages to Houthi stances, in order to dodge accusations of colluding with the Saudi-led Arab coalition backing Yemen’s constitutionally elected government. In his speech, Saleh repeated more than once that he was against the alliance.