Yemen’s CT chief accused of war crimes
After Yemen’s Republican Guard killed and dismembered tribal prisoners Thursday, Arhab tribesmen issued a statement Friday demanding the immediate arrest and prosecution of General Ahmed Saleh as a war criminal.
Ahmed Saleh heads the Republican Guard containing US funded counter-terror units and is the son of Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen’s president for 33 years. Ahmed Saleh is the primary liaison in Yemen for the United States’ counter-terror efforts and among the main recipients of US counter-terror funds for nearly a decade.
Republican Guard forces under Ahmed Saleh’s command have committed grievous war crimes in Yemen since the outbreak of popular protests in February, Yemeni opposition parties allege, including the recent corpse mutiliations. The parties called for an immediate ban on weapons sales to Yemen in a statement on Sunday.
Nationwide protests that began in February demand the immediate ouster of the entire Saleh regime, and a transitional council with the ultimate goal of fair elections and a civil state. Nearly 1000 protesters have been killed by security forces.
The Arhab tribesmen said the brutal killing and desecration of bodies was “a criminal act that have exceeded all the heavenly religions, international laws and tribal customs” and went beyond aggression to vengeance. Arhab tribesmen overtook al Samaa, one of the largest Republican Guard bases, triggering airstrikes on villages, wells, mosques and other civilian infrastructure. Arhab is on the outskirts of the capital, Sanaa.
Additional airstrikes took place in Taiz, killing two civilians when bombers attacked the residences of pro-revolution sheikhs. At least 45 were killed in Taiz in July as a result of clashes between the Republican Guard and pro-revolution tribesmen seeking to protect the thousands of protesters in the citiy center.
In response to the aggression in Arhab and threats against protesters, a new tribal confederation was declared Firday by Sheikh Sadiq al Ahmar comprising the Hasid and Bakil and other previously distinct groupings. The declaration by 750 tribes stated any aggression against the protesters will be considered an attack on the tribes and asked the international community to stand by the Yemeni people’s right of self determination.
President Saleh is recuperating in Saudi Arabia from injuries sustained in a June bombing. He reneged three times on an offer proffered by the international community of immunity for his substantial war crimes prior to and since the revolution in exchange for his resignation in 30 days. Saleh endorsed the deal again on Sunday.
The Saleh regime has a substantial history of internal war crimes. Events in Arhab echo the six year Saada War when the state’s habitual barbarism and collective punishment triggered a widening cycle of violence which ultimately created over 300,000 internal refugees. In his father’s absence, Ahmed Saleh has proven himself to be a capable mass murderer, unleashing a campaign of collective punishment in every province.
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