Yemen: Crisis Indicators About the Fate of «Unity» And Solution Options


Thu, 27-05-2021 07:49:13 Evening, Aden Time

Badr Mohammed (South24)

Today, the Yemeni crisis is going through its hardest stages ever. The dispute on the unity's future in Yemen has reached its peak on the 31st unity anniversary and in isolation of Southerners' desire for independence and the two-State solution. The dealing nature with the unity anniversary by Yemeni politicians showed the state of split in the fragile body of the Yemeni government which signals for the possibility of conflict recurrence in Shabwah and Abyan, South Yemen.

This split enhances the Iran-backed Houthi group control of entire North Yemen.

Crisis indicators on the fate of "Yemen unity"

For the first time, the "legitimate" president Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi has admitted in his unity anniversary speech that it was torn and smashed [1]. Hadi tried to link the fate of Yemen's unity with the possibility of successfully implementing the federal state project, considering the Houthi's coup a coup on the unity. President Hadi still affirms the rejection of the Yemeni people to clone the Iranian experience by the Houthis in Yemen. His unity greetings came in a political statement that goes on establishing unity by defeating the Houthis and restoring Sana'a as the first and foremost agenda.

The fact is, the federal-state project, an outcome of the "National Dialogue", adopted by president Hadi, was not accepted by the North. Until this point where the Houthis are on the brink of capturing Marib, the last North city, makes the federal state project falls with the fall of entire North Yemen in the hands of Houthis. The thing that makes the Houthi's "coup" a fully-fledged "Northern coup" on the legitimacy of president Hadi and the federal state project and at the same time a "coup" on the unity in Yemen.

Yemen Shura Council president, Ahmed Bin Dagher, did not hesitate to remind that the fate of unity in Yemen is linked to the fate of the republic in Sana'a. Perhaps, in a positive interpretation, Bin Dagher wanted to detour Yemeni forces attention towards the Houthi. 

This reality shaped in North Yemen no longer justifies the escalated calls of the Islah party and the so-called " National Alliance of Yemeni Political Parties" to maintain unity according to the same anniversary's statement by them. The Yemeni powers driving the regime of Hadi pointed out in a statement the ulterior motives for additional conflicts in South Yemen, particularly in Shabwah and Abyan and therefore crushing the efforts of continuing the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement. [2]

Islah and other Yemeni parties linked their position from the unity by a pure northern point of view and by directing the statement of threats towards the South's "separatist" although the “secession” is presented as reality by the Houthi's in North Yemen. Some might bid on an alliance between the Islah party and the Houthis and in a best-case scenario to fight the calls of Southerners. This alliance is enforced by similar situations by claims reported on the AP about the building of a military base by UAE in the South's island of Mayun located on Bab-el-Mandeb strait.

In the statement of the "National Alliance" parties, the list of signatures was excluded the Yemeni Socialist Party that preceded them by a statement on the anniversary which described the May unity as an "aborted unity by an unjust war which gave birth to multiple wars". [3ٍ]

The famous 1994 war Fatwa - which marks today the death of its issuer Abdulwahab Al-Dailami that has legalized the killing of Southerners in the arguing the "blasphemy" of the Yemeni Socialist Party and labelled them as "apostate"- is still perhaps etched in the memory of South Yemen ruling party.

The party recalled the alliance they had faced in the past years and the mentality of the Yemeni elites in successive crisis and conflicts. The party called in its statement on the importance of "avoiding military solutions in solving inner conflicts". Most probably the Socialist Party tried to warn from escalating military intentions which has been indicating in the few previous weeks.

The STC does not stop from assuring on every occasion to hold on to his "national project" represented in restoring the state and Southern identity. In a political context, the STC calls in return to proceed with the course of the Riyadh Agreement in response to the Arab Coalition effort and the international community towards politically solving the Yemeni crisis.

The Council has renewed his positive handling to the Saudi calls to carry on talks in implementing the remaining of the agreement despite the military escalation in Abyan and their calls for the return of the parity government in Yemen to perform their tasks and duties to citizens, according to the STC's spokesperson to the Chinese News Agency (Xinhua) last Tuesday.

The Council has probably wanted to warn from the risk of transforming the parity government between North and South, which is one of the outcomes of the Riyadh Agreement, into a party of the conflict, particularly in the hands of the Yemeni presidency and the Islah party.

Yemeni Crisis Between the Politician and Military Solution

According to indicators that emerged lately between conflict parties in Yemen, it is likely to divide the positions of these parties into two divisions: 

A division that seeks to force specific military solutions towards specific directions. This division is led by the Houthi group by its relentless pursuit of capturing Marib by military power, in addition to the group's attempts to implement a de facto authority by military power on entire Yemen. In addition to that, the preparedness of the Islah party and other minor parties around it to escalate south against the STC to maintain the "Unity of Yemen".

As for the second division, it is led by president Hadi and the PM of the parity government who both seek to gain international endorsement for their political and logistical "legitimacy" from one side and the STC and the Yemeni Socialist Party from the other side. With both the STC and the YSP calling to resume the remaining of the Riyadh Agreement. Although the two sides agree that the Yemeni unity had been "eliminated" but they both vary on resolving the South's cause. The Socialist Party affirms that it must be "in accordance to the Southerners expectations".

The crisis in Yemen heads to more complications where military solutions and the lack of chances for a political solution had been escalating. "The disagreement between conflict parts in Yemen on a political solution" is how the UN envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths expressed during his last briefing to the UN Security Council. [4]

This complexity confirms that the split between Yemeni politicians in the memory of the "Yemeni unity" is just the tip of the complex and deep crisis' iceberg.

It is important to recall that these developments come in conjunction with the raising activity of AQAP in Shabwah and Abyan governorate, South Yemen. The battle against "terrorism" shape a major challenge to the STC and the Saudi-led coalition as well for international effort led by the UN and Washington.

Despite that, a political source confirmed to "South24" the different political and military reality circumstances this time compared to the ones in 2019 in South, the political approach in Aden now is to initiate strategic solutions that make the diplomatic option the first weapon to extract gains with setting different scenarios under consideration.

In lights of inherent contradictions on the memory of the unity between North and South Yemen, the Yemeni forces approach to redefine the Yemeni crisis with eventually push the international community to redefine the "Yemeni unity" according to two solutions, either a political or a military which the STC becomes a main part of it according to the Riyadh Agreement.

Badr Mohammad
Resident fellow at South24 Center for News and Studies, researcher on Yemeni political affairs

- Photo: (sasa)

Southern Transitional Council South Yemen Marib Riyadh Agreement South Yemen North Yemen Saudi Arabia Houthis