Tanks Battle in Aden as South Yemen Separatists Vie for Control

Saudi Coalition Suggests Hadi Govt 'Look Into' Meeting Demands

Weekend fighting in the South Yemen capital city of Aden has left UAE-backed separatists in control of most of the government buildings. Fighting picked up again Monday, with tanks in the streets of Aden fighting, and at least nine more people killed.

Aden is intended to be the “interim” capital of the pro-Saudi Hadi government, but is also the historical capital of South Yemen. The South Yemen separatists have been trying to reassert themselves, and are enjoying no small measure of success in recent days.

The Saudi-led coalition doesn’t seem inclined to bail them out, either, while urging both sides to exercise restraint, coalition spokesman Col. Turki al-Maliki suggested that the Hadi faction explore the demands of the separatists and seek talks.

Hadi and his allies are calling this a “coup,” though Hadi’s ability to do anything about it is very much limited by him being under house arrest in Saudi Arabia for nearly a year. This also suggests the Saudis aren’t particularly determined to protect Hadi’s faction if this southern secessionist movement takes power.

The UAE and some other coalition members have soured on the Hadi faction because of its reliance of support from the Muslim Brotherhood, something the separatists do not. With current battle lines roughly in line with the pre-1990 split between North and South Yemen, just letting the separatists take over may be the simplest path to ending the war.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.