Washington Post Identifies Billionaire Leader Of Yemeni Muslim Brotherhood


A recent article in the Washington Post has identified Hamid al-Ahmar as a billionaire who is also a senior leader in the Yemeni Muslim Brotherhood. According to the article:

‘The reason why Ali Abdullah Saleh and his family are still present in the political life is because the other sides, General Mohsen and the Ahmars, are still present,’ said Ali al-Bukhaiti, 36, a youth activist leader who participated in Yemen’s 2011 uprising. For more than three decades, Saleh and Mohsen controlled Yemen, the former as its omnipresent autocrat, the latter as its most powerful military leader. They watched each other’s backs, even as they became rivals. Mohsen was widely seen as Saleh’s successor until Saleh tried to anoint a son to the position. In a nation where tribes make up the central social unit, Saleh also relied heavily on the Ahmar family to maintain his power. The family’s late patriarch headed the tribal federation to which Saleh’s tribe belongs. In exchange for their support, Saleh allowed Mohsen and the Ahmars to ‘run their affairs with informal armies, courts and economic empires’ and made ‘direct payments from the treasury to the . . . tribal and military constituencies,’ then-U.S. Ambassador Thomas C. Krajeski wrote in a 2005 diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks. The symbiotic relationship dramatically changed on March 18, 2011, after government-backed snipers killed dozens of protesters. Mohsen joined the populist uprising, triggering a wave of defections in the military, government and tribes. By then, many of the Ahmars were supporting the revolution, particularly Hamid al-Ahmar, a billionaire businessman. He is now a senior leader in al-Islah, the country’s most powerful Islamist party, which is part of the coalition government.”

The post report goes on to add some more detail about Mr. al-Ahmar:

Saleh’s critics and Western diplomats say he is using his position, his connections and his vast wealth to influence ministers, parliament members and other officials of his party. Saleh and his loyalists have launched a television station to promote their views. Some critics accuse him of using thugs to cut electricity lines and destroy oil pipelines to make Hadi’s government appear ineffective. “The ousted president is still playing a political role. He is still practicing games of revenge against the Yemeni people,” Karman said. Saleh’s aides deny the allegations. They, in turn, accuse the Ahmars and Mohsen of trying to grab power by having political allies appoint al-Islah-affiliated governors and hire loyalists in the military and security forces. “Ali Abdullah Saleh is not in control of everything,” said Yasser al-Awadhi, a senior official in the General People’s Congress. “He is not interfering. It’s the Ahmars, Ali Mohsen and the Islah party that are causing obstacles.” 

The Al-Islah Party in Yemen is identified by an Israeli research center  as the Muslim Brotherhood in Yemen. One of the other important leaders of Al-Islah is Abdul Majeed al-Zindani. In addition to his leadership of the Yemeni Muslim Brotherhood, Zindani also has strong links to the global Muslim Brotherhood including serving on the board of global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi’s Union of Good Hamas fund-raising organization and his relationship to Muslim Brotherhood figure Zaghloul el-Naggar of Egypt. The connection with el-Naggar is based on both men’s position as leading exponents of the so-called “scientific basis of Islam.” The U.S. Treasury Department designated Zindani as a terrorist in 2004, describing him as a “loyalist” and “spiritual advisor” to Osama Bin Laden. Also, the Jerusalem Post reported in April 2006 that Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal had met with Zindani at a fundraising event at the Hamas office in Yemen. The report stated that at the event, Zindani “praised Hamas suicide bombers and and called on his followers to donate money to assist the Palestinian people.”

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