Riyadh, Abu Dhabi Tell Partners in Yemen: Stop Your Infighting
Erstwhile allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates came together on Sunday to urge Yemen’s internationally recognized government as well as southern secessionists to stop their infighting and get back to battling Iran-backed Houthi rebels. In a joint statement, the two Gulf states recognized the “legitimate government” of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi that was ousted from the capital Sanaa and most of the country’s other major cities in 2014 by the Shi’ite Houthis. The separatists had been part of the Saudi- and UAE-led coalition seeking to push back the Houthis, but they turned against government troops in mid-August, taking over Aden, Hadi’s post-2014 redoubt. The separatists, whose primary foreign patron is the UAE, are seeking a return to the days of two Yemens, North and South. Though still officially part of the pro-Hadi coalition, Abu Dhabi has angered Riyadh by withdrawing troops, apparently seeing Yemen as an unwinnable war. The coalition has come under withering international criticism for the collateral damage it often incurs in its air strikes and other attacks against Houthi forces.