On Thursday, January 22, Yemen’s President Ahmed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, along with the entire Yemeni government, resigned in the face of the continuing feud with the Houthi rebels. Several power-sharing agreements with the Houthis have already fallen through, and rebels stormed the presidential compound in Sana’a on Tuesday, clashing with security forces.
Apparently deciding that, with the Houthis effectively controlling Sana’a, Yemen was in a political deadlock, Prime Minister Khaled Bahah offered his resignation, along with that of the entire cabinet, to President Hadi. The prime minister said that their resignation came in order to “avoid being dragged into an abyss of unconstructive policies based on no law.” He continued, “We do not want to be a party to what is happening or will happen.” Shortly thereafter, Hadi himself followed suit.
This comes after months of clashes between Houthis and the government, Houthis and inland tribes, and Houthis and AQAP. Earlier, Houthi forces attempted to storm the base of the 7th Brigade in Marib province, which happens to be the source of nearly half of Yemen’s oil and electricity production. Reportedly, tribal forces in Marib drove the Houthis off.
The reactions to the resignation have been mixed. Reportedly, the Yemeni parliament in Sana’a is refusing to recognize President Hadi’s resignation, and are continuing to govern in his name. Houthi leader Ali al-Emad has announced that the Houthis do not recognize parliament’s legitimacy, and are forming their own presidential council.
What is to come following these events is uncertain. The Herak movement in Aden, also known as the Southern Mobility Movement, has not declared independence, but has called on the northerners to resist the Houthis. Apparently, the Aden Security Committee’s statement simply called on military units in Yemen not to take orders from Sana’a. An added dimension to these events is the report by Al Jazeera that they have audio recordings of coordination between former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh and the Houthis, a month before the Houthis seized control of Sana’a. Is Saleh working with the Houthis much like certain former Baathists are working with Daash in Iraq and Syria?
The Iranian backing of the Houthis (and the consequent unease from Saudi Arabia having an Iranian proxy on their southern flank), the ongoing feud between the Houthis and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the common ground between the U.S. and the Houthis concerning AQAP, and the growing unrest of the Herak movement in Aden, mean things will likely continue to be unstable in Yemen for some time to come.
(Featured image courtesy voanews.com)