The news also coincides with mounting calls by GPC activists to form a single front against the Houthis
Amid rebel crackdown on GPC officials, Yasser Al-Awadhi meets Houthi military chief
Houthi military intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Abu Ali Al-Hakim met senior member of the General People’s Congress, Yasser Al-Awadhi, last week in Al-Bayda governorate, according to two sources familiar with the meeting.
The meeting took place at the house of a Houthi leader in Al-Baydha, the sources said, stressing that it was not in Al-Awadhi’s tribal homeland of Radman district.
Al-Hakim, accused of killing former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, was appointed as head of the Houthis’ military intelligence weeks prior to the assassination.
This is Al-Awadhi’s first known meeting with Houthi leadership since he resurfaced in Al-Baydha in early 2018, following weeks of speculation that he had died alongside Saleh and GPC Secretary-General Aref Zuka. Rumors have circulated that Al-Awadhi was involved in Saleh’s assassination.
The news comes amid mounting calls by activists and leaders affiliated with the GPC for national unity and a single front against the Houthis.
Over the past few months, Houthi authorities have arrested dozens of GPC leaders, officers and officials in the interior and defense ministries, as well as officers in what was known as the Republican Guard, an elite military force created by the former president and led by his son Ahmed Ali Saleh. Most of the arrests were carried out on charges of treason. By the end of January, 28 GPC leaders in Hajjah governorate had been arrested, according to party officials there.
Al-Awadhi was known for attacking the Houthis and defending Saleh on social media before the assassination. After Saleh’s death, Al-Awadhi was less outspoken, except for a series of tweets calling on Houthis to release GPC prisoners and return its headquarters, money and media outlets that had been confiscated by the rebels. He said any honest GPC member would not partner with the Houthis, adding “either we have life with dignity or death with honor."
The meeting between Al-Hakim and Al-Awadhi coincides with a large-scale campaign of arrests targeting military, security and political leaders close to the Saleh family and the former president’s GPC party, in addition to the continued purging of officials affiliated with the party from various Houthi-run state institutions.
In mid-February, Houthis announced the arrest of two Saudi and Emirati-backed sleeper cells run by the former president’s nephew Ammar Saleh, who was the deputy of the National Security Bureau, and former Interior Minister Mohammed Ali Al-Qusy.