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Why did Saudi Arabia save Yemen's ex-president again?

Saudi Arabia has once again rushed to the aid of Yemen's ailing ex-president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, leaving many wondering why the kingdom continues to back the ineffective leader.
Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh attends the opening of the Sixth Summit of Sanaa Forum for Co-operations in Sudan's capital Khartoum, December 30, 2008. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah (SUDAN) - GM1E4CV01VA01

The Saudis are increasingly desperate to find a way out of the Yemeni quagmire. They apparently believe Yemen's ex-dictator, their longtime enemy Ali Abdullah Saleh, can help.

A Russian medical team flew into Sanaa on Oct. 11 with the approval of the Saudis, who control Yemeni airspace. The Russian surgeons then performed a life-saving procedure on the 75-year-old Saleh. Some reports say the surgery took place at the Russian Embassy in the capital. Saleh's exact health issue is unclear, but it apparently is a result of the severe burns and other injuries he suffered during an assassination attempt in 2011. At the time, the Saudis rushed him to a hospital in the kingdom, where his life was saved. He formally gave up the presidency the next year.

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