Former Defense Minister returns from exile [Archives:2003/674/Front Page]
Mohammed bin Sallam
Sana'a, Oct 4 – General Haitham Qasim Taher, former Defense Minister and one of the leaders of the 1994 separatist movement, returned to Sana'a after nine years of exile. Haitham returned with a number of his military companions to the Sana'a Airport, where he was informally received by a few of the Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP) members along with family members and friends.
Haitham is the most recent YSP figure returning to Yemen from exile after fleeing the country upon the defeat of the separatists in July 1994. Haitham was among 16 who were amnestied by the president after he and four others were sentenced to death for igniting the 1994 civil war in the country. He was the main commander of the forces in the south that led the separatist movement, which was announced weeks after the return of Dr. Yaseen Saeed Noman, who also returned recently and welcomed warmly in Sana'a.
Haitham Qassim stayed in the United Arab Emirates for the last nine years. He is one of many high-ranking former YSP figures to return following former Speaker of the Parliament Dr. Yaseen Saeed Noman, former Member of the Presidential Council, Salim Saleh Mohamed, former Housing Minister Mohamed Ahmed Salman, and former Foreign Minister Dr. Abdulaziz al-Dali, along with many others.
Observers believe that the return of such high-ranking YSP figures will help revive the YSP, which has lost a lot of its influence and glory since 1994.