Battle Lines in Southern Arabia: Bears in the Forest…….

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Here is where the Yemen situation stood yesterday (it is morning here, it could have changed overnight). Things move fast over there:

  • Former president Hadi escaped to Aden a few days ago, as soon as the Houthis allowed him free movement. Apparently he is trying now to establish a shadow authority in the south. He will have to contend with two powerful forces in South Yemen: the Independence Movement (Hirak) and Al Qaeda (AQAP).
  • Not clear how Hirak (movement to regain Southern independence) will deal with Hadi (someone called him Al Zombie, but not me). Not clear how AQAP will deal with him. Both strong in South Yemen. Not to mention his former partners, the Islah Islamists.
  • Gulf GCC ambassadors (at least Saudi and Qatari) will move embassies to Aden now. GCC Secretary General Al Zayani a Bahraini potentate, has already visited Hadi in Aden. The media showed Zayani, suspiciously reeking of Old Spice, smirking at the cameras. 
  • Houthis seem frustrated now by the turn of events, and it shows. Abdel Malik al Houthi (Americanized as AMH) spoke that Hadi was a Saudi-American stooge (perhaps because he was put in place by GCC with US blessing). He added that any ambassador who doesn’t like Sanaa is welcome to move (a no brainer but thanks for the invite). Adding that Saudi money did not help the Yemeni people much (that is true, it did not help the poor much). It would be more helpful if they allow Yemeni labor instead of restricting them.
  • There have been no reports that the American drone campaign against AQAP terrorists has slowed down by recent political developments. No objection has been voiced by Houthis or their rivals to continued drone activity, not yet.
  • Iranian and Hezbollah media are now moving faster in support of the Houthis. As the GCC moves quickly to set up their own acceptable regime in Aden. Would this indicate that more sectarian polarization in Yemen and the Middle East is to be expected? Do bears pee in the forest?
  • Yesterday‘s report from UN that deposed president Saleh had amassed $60 billion over the years seems farfetched (actually the figures are ridiculous). Yemen is too poor to allow anyone an opportunity to steal $ 60 bin. As I tweeted yesterday, even some Saudi princes may find it hard to steal $60 billion. I just don’t believe it. I believe the stealing but not the numbers: all Arab leaders are entitled to steal and they all do so.

So, back to two Yemens? Will the GCC start supporting the old Marxist People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (South Arabia)? Or will we continue with about four Yemens for some time?

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter