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Definition: Saleh from The Macquarie Dictionary
1.

Yemeni politician; president of North Yemen 1978--90; became president of unified Yemen in 1990.


Summary Article: Saleh, Ali Abdullah
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Yemeni politician and soldier, president 1990–2012. A former tank commander, he became president of North Yemen on the assassination of President Ahmad Al Ghashmi in 1978, allegedly by South Yemen extremists. He was re-elected in 1983 and 1988, and in 1990 he was elected president of a reunified Yemen. But within three years, differences between north and south had resurfaced and civil war broke out again in 1994. Saleh's army inflicted a crushing defeat on the southern forces of vice-president al-Baidh, who fled into exile, and a new ruling coalition was formed. He was re-elected in 1999 and in 2006 by large majorities. From February 2011, during the Arab Spring political revolution, he faced mounting protests for his resignation. On 18 March 2011 violent clashes with police claimed 45 lives and in June 2011 he was seriously injured in an assassination attempt and had to go to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment. In November 2011 he agreed to a Saudi-brokered deal to transfer his powers to his vice-president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Al-Hadi, ahead of a presidential election in February 2012 which he did not contest. In return for stepping down, he received immunity from prosecution.

In 2014 civil war broke out in Yemen between the Iranian-backed Zaidi Shia rebels (the Houthis) from northern Yemen and the government of President Al-Hadi. Saleh allied himself with the Houthis, but in December 2017 sought to switch sides and open dialogue with President Al-Hadi and his Saudi Arabia backers. Viewing Saleh as a traitor, on 4 December 2017 Houthi militants shot Saleh dead as he tried to flee Yemen's capital Sana'a.

Born in Bait el-Ahmar village, near Sana'a in northern Yemen, into a Zaydi Shia Muslim family, he joined the North Yemeni armed forces in 1958 and was a second lieutenant by 1963. North Yemen's president Al Ghashmi appointed him military governor of Ta'izz in 1977. During the Arab Spring of 2011, his regime faced fierce opposition in a national uprising. There were mass protests and defections from the army, which left much of the country outside Saleh's control. In an attempt to defuse the protests, Saleh announced he would not seek re-election in 2013 and promised a referendum on a new constitution which would separate executive and legislative powers. However, the protests continued.

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