4 thoughts on “Yemen – focus moves to the south”

  1. Mujtahidd, the anonymous opposition blogger on Saudi affairs, tweeted yesterday that “MBS and MBZ plotted the separatist movement together, and helped the separatists to take Aden by withdrawing the Amaliqa brigade and lulling the “legal” forces into a sense of security. The separatists are corrupt and cowardly mercenaries, and their defeat in Abyan and Shabwa was entirely at the hands of the Yemenis – Saudi Arabia played no part.”
    Mujtahidd also tweeted: “The source of the rumour about the death of Saud al-Qahtani is MBS himself, though Saud may have made the original suggestion. The rumour will develop from poisoning to ‘suicide after it had been decided that he should be tried as the main person responsible for murdering Khashoggi.’ The reason for fabricating the rumour is that Kushner has pressed MBS to make Saud the scapegoat and try him publicly. He doesn’t want to and has resorted to this rumour.”

  2. A gloss on the references to IS activity in the south: IS has claimed 14 attacks in Yemen in July and August (to date) through its official media channels on the Telegram messaging app – 8 of them against AQAP (Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) and 3 against the Huthis – all of those in Al-Bayda governorate – and 3 in Aden. The group highlighted its “war” against AQAP in a brief video issued on 28 August, and both groups have claimed attacks on each other in the Qifa area of Al-Bayda. IS never seems to make common cause with any other body, even when the enemy is the same!

  3. “[T]he southern separatists accuse it [al-Islah] of complicity in Houthis attacks on them”. That may be a convenient peg on which to hang the STC putsch, but the Hashimi Huthis are at daggers-drawn with the qabili al-Ahmars, as well as Islahis more widely. This can be seen by the PR and physical campaign against Islahis in general, and the sons of Abdullah bin Husayn al-Ahmar in particular.
    It’s also worth remembering that following the ’94 civil war, al-Islah seized most of the YSP’s assets, in particular their offices, and projected (regressive, as many Southerners would see it) al-Islah influence into the former South. Many of the STC (and the Retired Officers’ Association, from whom many Hirakis and STC derive) have little love for al-Islah as a result.

  4. I am strongly against the theory that MBS and MBZ have split as published by the Guardian, CNN and others. What happened in Yemen was pre-planned between the Saudis and Emiratees. The Saudis did not provide the government forces with a single bullet or any logistical support, they deliberately withdrew Al-Amaliqa (Giants Brigade), the strongest battalion, beforehand to go on Hajj and they ignored calls for help. When it was over they invited the legitimate government and separatists to discuss the issue. To discuss what? If they supported the legitimate government they would simply call it a coup and so none of that should have happened. All this has already been said by Yemeni leaders.
    There are two reasons MBS agreed to cooperate with MBZ on Yemen. First MBZ convinced him that after four years of fighting the easiest thing to do would be to remove south Yemen from his list of headaches and concentrate only on the north, which to any normal person makes no strategic sense at all. The other reason is because the Saudis have demanded a 10km strip of land for an oil pipe running from the Empty Quarter to the Arabian Sea, parallel to the border with Oman. This project, which is encouraged by the US, is so KSA, Kuwait and Qatar can export oil through the Arabian Sea rather than the Straits of Hormuz. The idea has been around a long time and successive Yemen governments refused it completely despite being paid huge amounts of money in the eras of Kings Faisal, Khaled, Fahd and Abdullah. The Omanis do not want it either as they think having Saudi Arabia between them and Yemen will weaken their national security and they may well be right.
    The big question now is what is MBS going to do with the Huthis ? Though there are no formal negotiations going on there has been an exchange of messages. MBS has been trying to convince the Huthis to sit down and talk on the principle ‘what you control now, you can keep’ and everyone agrees to stop fighting. But the Huthis want the whole of the north and even the south as well, although they could abandon the south in exchange for more concessions from the Saudis. They also insist on huge compensation. They regard themselves as being in a much stronger position than MBS so wish to give him no concessions and instead intend to humiliate him. He in turn is desperate not to appear to have given them a victory. But as long as the Huthis publicly say it was them who called for the ceasefire and give public assurances they will no longer attack KSA, behind the scenes MBS is now ready to accept whatever they want.

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