On March 21, 2011, 40 days after the outbreak of the youth revolution in Yemen, General Ali Muhsin Saleh al-Ahmar, commander of the Northeastern region and the First Armored Division, Brigadier Muhammad Ali Muhsin al-Ahmar, commander of the Eastern region, and a number of other senior officers declared their support for the Yemeni Revolution. As a result, the Yemeni Army found itself divided into two armies, “the pro-revolution army” and “the family army,” as labeled by the revolutionary forces, indicating the latter's link to Ali Abdullah Saleh's family. These developments exposed the hidden split within the army, spiraling these divisions to the point of no return. The capital Sanaa and a number of other Yemeni cities subsequently witnessed clashes between these two armies, and between their respective militias, leading the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative to include a specific article addressing the unification and restructuring of the army, to put an end to its division.
This paper seeks to explain the latest developments concerning the recent restructuring of the Yemeni Army, focusing on the approach taken to restructure the army, the challenges posed during this process, and the tasks that are yet to be fulfilled. Moreover, it assesses the effect of each of these factors on national unity, social cohesion, and the building of trust between the participating parties in Yemen's National Dialogue Conference.