Son of Ali Abdullah Saleh digs in to keep father's power

Sanaa (Yemen) - MAP - Yemen's president, out of the country recuperating from wounds from an attack on his palace, still has a powerful hand on the ground at home: his son. Ahmed Ali Saleh commands Yemen's most highly trained troops, has them deployed in the streets of the capital and seems determined to preserve his father's rule against enormous pressure at home and abroad.
The grip of President Ali Abdullah Saleh's son - and his nephews, who also command major military units - locks Yemen into a standoff between his forces and the opposition that, if it drags on, will almost inevitably collapse back into new violence. It also appears to be a major obstacle in U.S.-backed efforts to negotiate an end to the crisis while the president is away.

The 42-year-old Ahmed is operating from the presidential palace and his father's main office in a military compound in the capital of Sanaa, relegating Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi - nominally the acting president - to work from his home or his office in the Defense Ministry, several ruling party and government officials said.

The younger Saleh and his cousins have also defied pressure from the vice president to withdraw their troops from the streets of Sanaa as part of a fragile cease-fire with opposition tribesmen. In fact, since the truce began a week ago, Ahmed has brought more tanks and troops to positions in the capital's Hasaba district near the home of the tribesmen's leader, Sheik Sadeq al-Ahmar, a high-ranking military officer said.

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