THE LEVANT EXCLUSIVE – On the occasion of Eid prayer, Yemen’s incumbent and former presidents, President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi and former President Ali Abdullah Saleh came together to kneel in prayer, shoulder to shoulder, side by side, in what has been understood as a clear sign a political détente.
For the first time in months the two politicians and former allies congratulated each other on this first day of Eid, all smiles and praises for one another. The moment was not missed by local media. As the two men shook hands, journalists went into a frenzy; already analysing the ins and outs of such an open display of friendship.
Whether or not related, the “hand shake” came after President Hadi called on all Yemenis to seek reconciliation and abandon all belligerent claims. Racked by political instability and tribal in-fighting, Yemen, the poorest and most populous country in the Arabian Peninsula has struggled since 2011 to find a clear direction, lost in a sea of overlapping crises and disagreements.
If President Hadi wanted to lead by example and prove to his countrymen that one can rise over discord for the sake of national security, his efforts have certainly not been lost, as Yemenis have been abuzzed with the news of a political reconciliation in between President Hadi and former President Saleh.
Attending Eid prayer were others well-known political and military figure, among whom Yemen’s former military strongman and well-known Muslim Brotherhood supporter, Gen. Ali Mohsen Al Ahmar, the very general who rose against former President Saleh at the very onset of 2011 uprising.