Array of security challenges face Yemen’s new leader – Abd Rabbu Mansur al-Hadi

Publication: Terrorism Monitor Volume: 10 Issue: 5

March 8, 2012 06:11 PM Age: 24 hrs By: Jeb Boone

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Abd Rabbu Mansur al-Hadi, President of Yemen

In the opening days of his presidency, Yemen’s new leader Abd Rabbu Mansur al-Hadi has as his priorities the restructuring of the military and the expulsion of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and allied militant Islamist group Ansar al-Shari’a from the restive southern province of Abyan. However, Hadi’s largest shortcoming, his lack of tribal connections, will prove to be a nearly insurmountable obstacle as he attempts to secure the country after more than a year of tribal and political upheaval.

Hadi is a relative unknown in Yemen and has worked in the background behind former president Ali Abdullah Saleh for the entirety of his political career. The new president was born in a small village in the former state of South Yemen and rose steadily in the ranks of the military. After the 1994 Yemeni civil war, Hadi was appointed vice-president by Saleh in an attempt to reconcile with the south after its defeat in the war and subsequent unification with North Yemen. His close association with the Saleh regime caused him to lose a great deal of credibility with southern Yemenis while simultaneously maintaining little sway with northern Yemen’s powerful tribes.

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