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South Yemen: The Anti-Hadi Takeover

South Yemen: The Anti-Hadi Takeover
The Aden-based “Southern Transitional Council’s” (STC) armed wing of the “Southern Resistance Forces” (SRF) issued an ultimatum to Yemeni President Hadi to change his government or risk being overthrown.

The Council has been struggling to restore the Cold War-era state of South Yemen's independence, which was lost after the country merged with North Yemen in 1990 in what some Southerners say became a grotesquely unfair relationship with its other half. The discord between the two sides hit a boiling point during the brief 1994 civil war when the South unsuccessfully sought to regain its sovereignty, but the separatist movement unexpectedly received a fresh wind in its sails a few years ago after the ongoing Yemeni Civil War wreaked havoc in the North and prompted an international Saudi-led intervention there.

The resultant destruction in the former lands of what was once called North Yemen and the stalemate between Houthi and coalition forces there convinced some Southerners that they could more easily pursue their independence dreams now that their rival half of the country has been turned into a de-facto failed state. Furthermore, the country's internationally recognized government is based in the former South Yemeni capital of Aden, thus giving its people leverage in determining their future relationship to the nominally unified state. It's with this in mind that the Resistance Forces told President Hadi that he has until next week to sack his Prime Minister and the cabinet or face a de-facto coup. The Southerners clearly want to flex their political muscles, and they reportedly have a foreign patron behind them too, the UAE.

This Saudi ally is supposedly at odds with coalition-leader Riyadh over their post-war vision for Yemen, with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman assumedly wanting to retain the state's unity while his mentor Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed is apparently in favor of re-dividing the two formerly independent countries along the lines of their pre-1990 border. The Transitional Council announced late last year that it wants to hold regional elections sometime in the future, and it's possible that this might present the only real solution to resolving South Yemen's political crisis. Moreover, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held a press conference earlier this week with his Yemeni counterpart where he announced Moscow's willingness to mediate between the country's warring sides, and while this was initially assumed to mean Hadi and the Houthis, it might even come to include the Resistance Forces as well. 

Andrew speaks with Summer Ahmed, South Yemeni activist and US-based representative of the Southern Transitional Council and Prof. Dr. Bischara Ali Egal, Chief Executive Director of the Horn of Africa Center for Strategic and International Studies.

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