The governor of the southern Yemeni port city of Aden, currently occupied by the pro-Saudi forces of the “government-in-exile” of Yemen, will be declared the nation’s official capital city for the next five years, and will be the focus of all reconstruction in the country in that period.
Aden was the capital city of South Yemen through 1990, when the territory was annexed by North Yemen, and has been the center of an active secessionist movement in recent years. The decision to make this the national capital, even on a temporary basis, could set up a conflict with that movement.
The more immediate concern, however, is whether this suggests the pro-Saudi faction envisions the war lasting so long they need a new capital for half a decade. The capital of Sanaa is under the control of the Shi’ite Houthi movement, and has been under siege by Saudi airstrikes for months.
Officials from the pro-Saudi faction had suggested they believe the momentum is theirs, and that they can take back the rest of the country in short order. If that was really the case, however, they probably would not be looking to replace Sanaa with a new capital for several years to come.
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