For 33 years, Yemen has been led by President Ali Abdullah Saleh and former Vice President Ali Salim Al-Beidh, both of whom received a sanctions warning from the United Nations’ Security Coucil, this past week. The regime has been accused of interfering in Yemen’s democratic transition and undermining the national unity government.
Last year, the Arab Spring protest forced Saleh to step down as President while a transitional government was put in place by new President Abed Rabbu Mansour Hadi . He has led the new movement of trying to promote national reconciliation, draft a new constitution and hold democratic elections to move Yemen forward. The U.S. is a strong supporter of Hadi, who will remain in power for two years until free elections are held in 2014.
Saleh, has been busy since resigning. He has created a museum in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, documenting his 33 years in power. The exhibits include clothing, gifts, firearms and surprisingly, pieces of shrapnel removed from Saleh’s body after an assassination attempt. It hosts its own mosque in which up to 40,000 worshippers can gather. The museum is expected to open in the next few months.
Since he was not imprisoned or exiled, Saleh and his family still reside in Yemen and remain influential. Saleh serves as head of his political party, the General People’s Congress, as well as having his own television station to spread his views as well as the party’s.
Between U.N. attention, the media and now a museum, Saleh is not quietly settling into his forced retirement. Chances are, this is not the last we are seeing of him.