Abu Dhabi, which has been heavily involved in the conflict in Yemen, has recently been encouraging greater activism on the part of South Yemen’s political and military secessionists.
Faced with an increasingly chaotic situation in the north of Yemen while there is relative peace in the south, the United Arab Emirates is considering offering its support for the creation of an autonomous republic with Aden as its capital.
According to information obtained by Intelligence†Online, a meeting took place in Abu Dhabi on September 17 led by Ali Salem Al Beidh, the vice president of Yemen in 19901994 and founder of the short lived southern separatist Democratic Republic of Yemen that existed from May to July 1994. At the private meeting were Ali Nasser Mohammed, the president of South Yemen until 1986, his successor Haider Aboubaker , who later became prime minister under Ali Abdullah , and the head of the National Liberation , Abdulrahman Ali.
Those in favour of autonomy for the south have some key support: Yemen’s internationally recognised President Abd Rabbo Mansur Hadi, currently living in exile in Riyadh, was born in the southern province of Abyan. The view is that Hadi could oversee the establishment of an autonomous government that had international support. Furthermore, Hadi’s political and military apparatus, led by prime minister Ahmed ben Dagher, who recently moved to Aden, Muhammad Ali Al Maqdashi, the chiefofstaff of the Yemeni Army, and Abdallah Nasser al Moussabi, the head of National Security, also hail from the south.
South Yemen’s political leaders starting with Aidarouss Al Zubaidi, the governor of Aden, who is close to the regime in Abu Dhabi, also support the idea of autonomy for their provinces. Earlier this month Zubaidi met with Al Kohdr Al Saadi, the governor of Abyan, Wasser Al Khabji, the governor of Lahj, and Fadl Al Jaadi, the governor of Daleh, to discuss the move. During their encounter they decided to establish committees to draft a constitution for the autonomous region.
However Saudi Arabia is likely to oppose such an initiative. Riyadh, which is leading the coalition fighting the Houthi†rebels in Yemen, believes that independence for the south would be a further obstacle to the success of its efforts.