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Yemen’s decade of division

Since the start of the decade, Yemeni society has gone through partisan splits that have devolved into sectarian divisions.
A police officer gestures as he joins other police and army officers during an anti-government demonstration at a Change Square protest camp in Sanaa March 3, 2014. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah (YEMEN - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY CIVIL UNREST) - RTR3FZGW
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Since the start of the decade, Yemen — the country, its entities and individuals — has seen one split after another. There have been horizontal and vertical splits within Yemen’s entities, institutions, parties and communities. 

Those divisions didn’t start at any one particular point, as the driving differences sometimes lay dormant for years. But signs of one of the most significant splits first appeared inside the alliance of the traditional forces. These forces, mostly military political decision-makers, were in power for three decades. The tension between former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his family started after he made several appointments that favored his son, Ahmed, at the expense of other relatives. Ahmed Saleh was named commander of Yemen’s Republican Guard in the early 2000s. The appointments escalated existing tensions and the alliance began to crumble, affecting the Yemeni army, state and society. The split became official when Maj. Gen. Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, the commander of the First Armored Division, turned against Ali Abdullah Saleh and became his biggest military threat.

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