Yemen Govt Rejects Secessionist Bid, Says It Would Undermine Saudi War

Statement Insists Ambition for Independent South Yemen 'Baseless'

The Saudi-backed Hadi government in Yemen issued a statement today condemning yesterday’s move by key figures across the nation’s south to establish a secessionist council that is aiming to formally declare independence from Yemen and return to an independent South Yemen.

The Hadi government’s territory roughly overlaps the territory of pre-1994 South Yemen, and officials complain that making it an independent nation would undermine the Saudi war, which aims to conquer all of Yemen for President Hadi, whose two-year term in office ended in 2014, and who resigned in 2015.

Since the 1994 conquest of South Yemen, there has been an active secessionist movement there, mostly violently cracked down upon by the national government. The Saudi invasion of Yemen in 2015 has split the country into two halves, roughly along the historical lines, which has emboldened the southerners on the idea of reasserting themselves as independent.

Saudi officials are refusing all comment on the matter, but even the notion that the Saudis might ultimately conquer the whole country for him seems to be enough to incentivize Hadi, who is himself a southerner, to keep the war going. With little territory changing hands in months, however, there appears to already be a de facto split, and it’s just taking a long time for everyone to come to terms with it.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.