Chiara Onassis | 21 March 2012
SANA’A: Amidst new demonstrations demanding the end of the regime, this time Yemenis are turning against not only President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s loyalists but also the very people who only a few months ago offered their support to the revolution, General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, among others.
Soldiers and officers of the 1st Armored Division told Bikyamasr.com that the fact that the general had sided with the revolution last year in March did not make up for his decades of criminal activities and abuses.
“Gen. Mohsen has been as much a tyrant as President Saleh. We should not forget that this man has made an absolute fortune on the back of honest Yemenis, stealing lands and oppressing the weak,” said a soldier under cover of anonymity.
Another pointed out that if the general had indeed flipped sides after 3 decades as Saleh’s right hand it is because he feared people would prosecute him, not because he cared about freedom or democracy. “The man is a fraud. He had us under his thumb for years, treating like us like slaves and denying us our rights. We demand his immediate departure.”
On Wednesday in Sana’a, defectors resumed their sit-in in Asser Bridge announcing that this time they would stay until Mohsen’s demotion from his post as Commander of the 1st Armored Division was announced by President Abdu Rabbo Mansour Hadi.
Although the general declared months ago that he was willing to hand out his resignation to help Yemen transition from the old regime onto a civil state, he has yet to officially renounce his position.
Politicians from the General People’s Congress who are politically at odds with the general, himself a high ranking member of al-Islah, Yemen’s Islamic faction told Bikyamasr.com that Mohsen would unlikely “quit” since he had become al-Ahmars’ armed arm and most tactical weapon against Saleh and his loyalists.
“Without Mohsen, al-Ahmars would be left with only their tribal fighters. I don’t think they will give him up without a fight, especially since Saleh’s boys remain in place.” The politician was referring to Ahmed Ali Saleh, the former President’s eldest son who, to this day remains the Commander of the Republican Guards as well as Yehia and Ammar Mohamed Saleh, the nephews who lead respectively the Central Security Forces and the National Security Agency.