Though the pro-Saudi “president-in-exile” of Yemen remains in exile, his prime minister, Khaled Bahah, is arriving in the southern city of Aden today, along with several ministers who are intending to set it up as the new capital city of Yemen, at least temporarily.
Like President Hadi, Prime Minister Bahah resigned in January amid a dispute over new elections. He spurned a call from the Shi’ite Houthis to return to office in March to help plan elections, and fled to Saudi Arabia. The pro-Saudi forces now hold Aden and some of the surrounding coastline.
Last month, officials announced Aden would become the capital for a period of five years, replacing Sanaa, which is still under the control of the Houthis. Increasingly, however, the nation is split along the north-south line that it was before the 1990’s civil war, and many of the government’s supporters in Aden are flying not the Yemeni flag, but the flag of South Yemen.
Though the Saudi leadership insists they are confident on taking Sanaa and the rest of the country soon, there’s been little progress in taking meaningful cities from the Houthis since the capture of Aden during a false ceasefire, and the war may well end up with Yemen divided along these lines long term.
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