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Its separation would last only two months, though, before its military was crushed by the North, placing Saleh once again at the helm of a unified Yemen.
Saleh was an ally of former Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein, and his decision to back Iraq during the first Gulf War had serious consequences for Yemen's economy.
The president also tried to buy his way out of trouble, offering tens of thousands of dollars (and new cars) to tribal elders.
Saleh often portrayed himself as the only man who could hold Yemen together.
In the early days of the months-long popular campaign to drive him from office, he portrayed the opposition as a conspiracy to destroy the country - a theme he has often struck to during his decades in power.
The protests also emboldened the Ahmar family, fellow members of Saleh's Hashed tribal confederation who have emerged as his chief political opponents.
Hamid al-Ahmar, a prominent businessman, was seen as a possible successor to Saleh, while his brother, Hussein al-Ahmar, quit the ruling party in February and publicly rebuked Saleh.
Saudi Arabia responded by expelling more than a million Yemeni workers from the Kingdom, depriving countless Yemeni families of vital remittances.
After the September 11 attacks, Saleh tried to position himself as an important ally of the United States.Forty percent of Yemen's population lived on less than a day.In December of this year, he formally broke ties with the Houthis, expressing his openness to talks with the Saudi-led coalition that has been at war with his one-time rebel alliance."There is a conspiracy against Yemen's unity and territorial integrity," he told a group of senior military officers."We have served to preserve the republican regime with every drop of blood we have." But his reign was also defined by charges of corruption and mismanagement: At the onset of the uprising, Yemen was one of the poorest countries in the world, with widespread unemployment and persistent inflation, its billions of dollars in oil revenues embezzled or wasted.He took over Yemen after the former president was assassinated, and never relinquished the post. An estimate from the CIA predicted that he would not last six months in office.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating