Abdullah Ali Saleh Meets George H.W. Bush (1990)


Yemen had been unified in 1990. North and South Yemen were no longer two states. President Abdullah Ali Saleh became president of a unified Yemen, however there were political and economic challenges. Unemployment and underdevelopment was a consistent national problem. The George H.W. Bush administration provided aid to the country and was attempting to improve relations. However, this was destroyed by the US attack on Iraq in response to Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait.President Saleh did not find this tolerable and gave support to Saddam Hussein. The US responded with the suspension of aid and Saudi Arabia expelled Yemenis working in the kingdom. He was trying to present himself as an Arab nationalist, but it was a matter of political survival. Abdullah Ali Saleh would later get the aid resumed under the George W. Bush administration and become an ally in the War on Terror. From 2002 onward Yemen would help the US wage aggressive war in the Middle East.  Tired of his authoritarian governing style and a failed economy the youth protested and his government collapsed under pressure from the Arab Spring movements. Allying himself with the Houthi rebels as a means to regain power, he was killed. The circumstance may have been because of possible peace overtures to the Saudi government. Without him, the country has fallen deeper in civil war and chaos. Yemen’s future seems precarious with Iran-Saudi tension and military strikes occurring in the country.


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