To answer this question, it is necessary to look beyond the protests that have called for Saleh's resignation and instead look at the premises of the political settlement that has held the inner circle together for so long.
|Gen. Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar|
Upon Ghashmi's assassination, Ali Mohsen managed to secure control of the Central Command Headquarters building in Sanaa. A standoff ensued for 40 days, during which time the Sanhan elite sold assets and gathered cash to purchase support from other military commanders for Saleh to capture the presidency. An agreement was settled between the Sanhan sheikhs involved in the enterprise, which was, according to a Sanhan insider, referred to as "the covenant" (al-ahd). Essentially, it contained an understanding that the Sanhan tribe would stand together under Saleh's leadership and that Ali Mohsen would be next in line to succeed Saleh as president.