Brig. Gen. Tareq Saleh, a Yemeni military commander and nephew of the late President Ali Abdullah Saleh, remains defiant two years after his military defeat by Houthi rebels in December 2017. Tareq Saleh has been commanding the Saudi-led Arab coalition Joint Forces in Yemen’s Red Sea battlefield. His mission, he says, is to wrest Sanaa and all Yemeni territories from the Houthis, who took over the capital in September 2014.
In 2015, 2016 and 2017, Tareq Saleh was an overt enemy of Saudi Arabia. The General People’s Congress, led by his uncle, who ruled Yemen for 33 years, struck an alliance in 2014 with the Iran-allied Houthis, seeking to undermine and finally oust the Saudi-backed Yemeni government. But their alliance collapsed miserably in December 2017 when the president switched sides and was killed two days later by his former Houthi allies. Tareq Saleh, facing an unmanageable military loss, escaped from Sanaa to Yemen’s Marib.