Saleh, the victim

Saudi journalist Faheem al-Hamid seems to be having an interesting time in Yemen. Following his hilarious interview the other day with ex-president Salih, Hamid has now had a close encounter with the ex-president's ex-trousers.

The remains of the trousers – which Saleh was wearing at the time of the explosion in 2011 that almost killed him – are now in a showcase at a museum in Sana'a. The watch he was wearing is also there, along with six pieces of shrapnel that doctors removed from Saleh's body.

The museum is run by a board of directors "headed by Saleh’s son Ahmed and managed by cousin Tareq," Hamid reports.

"Saleh decided to shift the trousers and pieces of shrapnel to the museum so that they can be telling examples of the gravity of the attack perpetrated against him."

After his interview informing the world that he loves gardening and dislikes power, Saleh the dictator has now become Saleh the victim.

In 2011, at the height of Yemen's political crisis, Saleh was 
badly injured by an explosion while praying in the mosque of his presidential compound. The blast, which killed a number of other people, was initially blamed on a mortar or rocket attack from outside the compound, though it later became clear that explosives had been placed in the mosque – suggesting that the attack was an inside job.

The full truth about what happened may never emerge but Hamid's report gives what appears to be the latest version:

"It was revealed in investigations that seven explosives were hidden in cartons of soap and detergents, one of them put near the pulpit in the mosque while the remaining six were placed in front of the mosque and all these were tied with light wires that connected to a remote control on a mobile chip. 

"There were reports that senior officials of his Private Guard were involved in the attack. According to sources, only one of these devices, which was placed inside the mosque, exploded. 

"Secret defence policemen deployed inside the presidential compound hurled grenades at the mosque believing that forces opposing Saleh had entered the mosque."

Posted by Brian Whitaker, 30 January 2013