In his televised address before the flag of the former People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, Aden’s former governor Aidarous al-Zubaidi said that the tribal, military and political leaders of South Yemen had formed a new Council that would manage the region. In particular, he noted that the “political leadership of the country” under his supervision will manage and represent the south – the region that has most of the oil reserves in Yemen, the backbone of its economy.
The emergence of a new force, according to many experts, threatens even more unrest in the ongoing two-year civil war. If A. al-Zubaidi forms an effective Council and it acts accordingly, in practice it threatens the division of Yemen and its emergence, as it was in the past, a new-old state with its capital in Aden.
But now, the new statement by A. al-Zubaidi raises the prospect of a new division in the poor country in the Arabian Peninsula, where the forces of the so-called Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia are leading a merciless war not as much against the Houthi rebels (insurgents) as against the Yemeni people. For example, the report of the UN Expert Commission on January 27, 2017, stated that the military coalition led by Saudi Arabia in Yemen has violated at least ten times the international humanitarian law, causing air strikes on homes, markets, industrial enterprises and hospitals. “The Commission is almost sure that the coalition forces did not comply with the requirements of international humanitarian law in proportion to the use of force and in taking the necessary precautions to prevent casualties among civilians,” the report says. According to the UN, the number of civilians killed in the Yemeni conflict from bombing alone has reached 10,000 people in January 2017, and nearly 40,000 people were injured.
International humanitarian organizations sound an alarm and caution against losing control over the spread of cholera epidemic in the devastated civil war Yemen. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that cases of the disease are also recorded in Sanaa, overtaken by the Houthi rebels capital of Yemen. In turn, the organization “Doctors Without Borders” reported that it cured 780 cases of cholera in Yemen starting from March 30. The organization added that patients had to travel tens of kilometers under difficult conditions to reach medical centers, because as a result of the fighting in the country, is difficult for the majority of the population to get access to medical care.
After more than two years of unauthorized and unprovoked hard intervention by Saudi Arabia in the Yemeni internal affairs, it is perfectly clear that, despite the inhuman Saudi bombing, it is impossible to resolve the conflict by military means. In this case, it is necessary to resolve all controversial issues at the negotiating table, as repeatedly stated by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and representatives of Russia in various international forums. However, the negative attitude of the international community did not in any way affect the position of Riyadh, who, like a stubborn camel, biting off a bit, trying to dictate his will to a neighboring brotherly state. And in this case, it attracts the ostentatious silence of most Western countries, which literally do not notice the torment and suffering of the Yemeni people, as a result of the crimes and atrocities of the Saudis.
The matter has reached the point that the US Senate calls for limiting the supply of air-to-ground missiles and other weapons to Saudi Arabia. Such an initiative was made by Senator Chris Murphy and his colleagues, who said that the Saudi Arabian campaign in Yemen caused the humanitarian crisis in the country. Politicians accuse Riyadh of killing civilians and point out that military actions have led to the proliferation of terrorist organizations in Yemen, including the Islamic State and Al Qaeda. Among the politicians on whose behalf Murphy is speaking, include the senator from the Democratic Party of Illinois, Dick Durbin, the Senator from Kentucky and the former Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul and Al Franken, the Democratic senator from Minnesota.
But it does not seem to bother the new Washington administration headed by President Donald Trump, who in the international arena in every possible way shields his eastern satrap, pumping him with the most modern weapons. According to the US media, at present the US is close to completing negotiations on a number of transactions on arms sales and maintenance with Saudi Arabia. This is a package of transactions, amount of which within 10 years may exceed a huge amount of $300 billion. This package was prepared specifically for the visit of US President Donald Trump to Saudi Arabia.
In turn, the National Fund of Saudi Arabia plans to invest about $40 billion in US infrastructure. In this regard, it can be recalled that Riyadh did not get along very well with the former administration of President Barack Obama. It got to that point where for the first time in the course of their relations the Saudi King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud did not meet Barack Obama at the airport during the latter’s visit to Saudi Arabia.
Apparently, in the hope of strengthening Saudi-American relations and the introduction of at least the foundations of American democracy, King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud hastily issued a decree according to which the rights of women in the country is expanding significantly. So, now the fair sex can without guardian’s permission travel, study and even lodge complaints with state organizations. If this happens, democracy will soon “overwhelm” the whole kingdom, and its people will create a parliament and instead of the king they will choose the president of the Republic of Saudi Arabia.
But even active attempts to establish a somewhat shaky relationship with the United States will not save Riyadh from the defeat in Yemen and its prosecution for crimes committed against civilians. In this respect, it is characteristic that recently, because of the failures within the anti-terrorist coalition in Yemen, certain contradictions have emerged. These are the two main participants of the coalition – Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), whose combined efforts have made some progress at the initial stage. Thus, the mainly supported by the KSA is the President of Yemen, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, who accused the UAE of the fact that they are operating in Yemen not as liberators, but as invaders. The reason for such harsh statements was the refusal of Emirates and their allies from the local “Southern Front” to transfer control of Aden airport under its control, and also to recognize the replacement of its governor A. al-Zubaidi. In turn, the locals organized a demonstration in support of A. al-Zubaidi, and went out with the flags of the UAE and the “Southern Resistance.”
Experts believe that the contradictions within the coalition can be caused by the difference in the strategic objectives of the two countries. For the UAE, it is important, first of all, to ensure control over the seacoast of Yemen, in particular, the ports of Aden, Moha, and El Mukalla, and they are not against reaching a peaceful compromise between the candidates, Al-Hadi and Ali Abdullah Saleh for the title of president. Saudi Arabia still takes a categorical position that the Al-Hadi (supported by it) is the only legitimate president of Yemen, whose authority must be established over the whole country.
In any case, it can be stated that the aggressive invasion of Saudi Arabia into the internal affairs of Yemen will not help to resolve the conflict, but will further lead to tragic casualties among the peaceful population of its neighbor. But what one should know, and it is known from history is that Yemenis are not the people who forgive their resentment, and no one out of the experienced experts can predict what the near future of the southern Arabian Peninsula may lead to.
Victor Mikhin, a corresponding member of RANS, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.“