Au Yémen, le changement de régime devient une affaire personnelle

SANAA – Le 18 mars, en ordonnant à son armée de tirer sur des manifestants pacifiques qui réclamaient sa démission, le Président du Yémen Ali Abdullah Saleh a scellé son destin. Une vague de défections parmi l’armée, le gouvernement et les diplomates a poussé son allier de toujours, le Commandant Général de la Première Brigade Blindée Ali Muhsin al-Ahmar, à saboter son régime.

Cependant, bien que al-Ahmar se soit déclaré horrifié par l’usage de la force et a juré de défendre la constitution, sa décision était tout sauf altruiste. Le général mécontent, qui entretient depuis longtemps des liens avec le genre de jihadistes que les Etats-Unis combattent au Yémen, cherchait simplement à régler un compte avec la famille du président.

La relation entre al-Ahmar et Saleh remonte à leur enfance, lorsque la mère de Saleh a épousé en seconde noce l’oncle de al-Ahmar. Bien qu’ils ne soient pas demi-frères, cette référence fréquente, si erronée soit-elle, indique bien leur proximité. Depuis longtemps, Al-Ahmar a été considéré soit comme le bras droit de Saleh, soit comme le président caché du pays. Quand le parti Nasserite tenta de renverser Saleh moins de cent jours après son arrivée au pouvoir, al-Ahmar l’a défendu et réprimé le coup. En 1994, ses unités neutralisèrent un mouvement de sécession dans le sud.

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