Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who ruled for over three decades, placed family members in critical positions throughout Yemen’s security forces. Saleh’s son, Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh, commands Yemen’s elite paramilitary unit, the Republican Guard forces. These troops play a key role in protecting regime interests, particularly over the course of the Yemeni Spring. His nephew, Yahya Abdullah Saleh, heads the Central Security Forces. A U.S.-trained counter-terrorism unit is under Yahya’s command. Finally, his nephew, Tareq Mohammed Abdullah Saleh, commands the Presidential Guard and Saleh’s half-brother, Mohammed Saleh al Ahmar commands the Yemeni Air Force. Saleh’s reach extends beyond the military as well. Family members head national institutions such as the national airline, Yemenia Airways, and the Yemen Economic Corporation (YECO).
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