“The blood of my father will be hell ringing in the ears of Iran,” he was quoted as saying.
Ahmed Ali Saleh received military training in the United States and once led Yemen’s elite Republican Guard. He later became his country’s ambassador to the United Arab Emirates. In a separate statement delivered to Reuters, the news agency reported, the son also vowed to “confront the enemies of the homeland and humanity, who are trying to obliterate its identity and its gains and to humiliate Yemen and Yemenis.”
But when the Emirates joined with the Saudis two years ago in attacking the Houthis, he was placed under house arrest. His emergence on Tuesday suggested to some analysts that he was being positioned to take over from his father as a focus of opposition to the Houthis.
The death of Ali Abdullah Saleh ended the tumultuous career of a wily strongman who combined charisma, duplicity and brute force to remain a giant in the politics of his impoverished country for decades.
Mass protests in 2011, during the Arab Spring, forced him to step down as president, but he confounded those who thought he might retire quietly by returning to the country to rally his followers and forge an improbable alignment with the Houthis, before breaking with them just days before his death.
His killing signaled a turning point in the country’s war by shattering the alliance between his loyalists and the Houthis, who had taken over the capital, prompting a punishing bombing campaign by Saudi Arabia and its allies.
The political fracturing could make it harder for the parties to negotiate an end to the conflict, analysts said, while renewed fighting in Sana could worsen the humanitarian crisis afflicting Yemen.
At the United Nations on Tuesday, the organization’s top relief official told the Security Council in a closed-door meeting that the crisis had intensified drastically just in the past month, worsened by a Saudi blockade on Yemeni ports that had stopped or slowed deliveries of food and medicine.
Despite a partial easing of the blockade, the official, Mark Lowcock, warned the council that 8.5 million Yemenis are at risk of starving, said Stéphane Dujarric, a spokesman for the United Nations. In November, Mr. Lowcock said roughly 7 million were at risk.
Mr. Dujarric reiterated that Yemen was “now on the cusp of the largest famine in modern times.”
Ambassador Koro Bessho of Japan, the Security Council’s president for December, told reporters later that members had “expressed deep concern about the sharp escalation of violence in Yemen” and wanted a resumption of aid access, but took no further action.
Saudi Arabia, in its first official statement since the death of Ali Abdullah Saleh, said on Tuesday that it wanted Yemen to be free of “militias supported by Iran.”
“The Saudi Arabian cabinet expresses the hope that the uprising of the Yemeni people against the sectarian terrorist Houthi militias supported by Iran will free Yemen of abuse, death threats and the appropriation of public and private property,” Riyadh said in a statement through the official Saudi Press Agency.
In Iran, the former Yemen president’s violent death was greeted as good news. The official Tasnim News Agency quoted Ali Akbar Velayati, a high-ranking government adviser, as saying Mr. Saleh “got what he deserved.”
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