Yemen Saleh continues to snake-dancing game

Portrait of Saleh wearing traditional Tuza, a dagger similar to Jambiya yet worn mainly by judges and dignitaries during the Imamate period

Portrait of Saleh wearing traditional Tuza, a dagger similar to Jambiya yet worn mainly by judges and dignitaries during the Imamate period

Former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh changed his profile photo with a portrait of him wearing traditional Tuza, a dagger similar to Jambiya yet worn mainly by judges and dignitaries during the Imamate period.

The portrait reinforced fear of his Islamist foes that he’s forging an alliance with the Houthi group, an Imamate’s descendants of Shiite movement that has gained significant support during popular uprising that broke out in 2011.

The Houthi group has been in sporadic sectarian conflicts with affiliates of Islah part, which has claimed lives of dozens of people over the last two years.

Though Saleh’s party shared half the government portfolios as a part of the GCC deal signed in December 23, 2011, it has lost the upper hand over the decision making to the opposition coalition led by the Islamist party, Islah.

Now, Houthis have accuse Islah of having marginalized them despite making up one of the main group of the coalition against Saleh in the beginning of the uprising, which succeeded in forcing Saleh out after 33year in power.

With both Saleh and Houthis having one rival in common, their alliance would be of a major concern for Islah, considered a branch of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood now fighting to get its deposed president back to power.

Saleh, known as a master of political manipulator, once described ruling Yemen as ‘dancing on the heads of snakes’, and many analysts speculate that his new alliance with Houthis is part of the snake-dancing to stage a comeback.

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