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    Fighters from Yemen's southern movement gather in a street of the country's second city of Aden on January 28, 2018, during clashes with forces loyal to the Saudi-backed president

    Yemen's Southern Movement: President Has Very Limited Influence – Analyst

    © AFP 2019 / SALEH AL-OBEIDI
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    Yemeni President Abdurabu Mansur Hadi ordered his troops to cease fire Sunday following the clashes with the Southern Movement in Aden. Ali Rizk, political analyst specializing in Middle Eastern affairs commented on the recent developments in the war-torn country in his interview with Radio Sputnik.

    Sputnik: Could you give us an overview of what has been going on in Yemen and what has actually led up to the current ceasefire? How successful this ceasefire will in fact be?

    Ali Rizk: The main conclusion is that the so-called President of Yemen Abdurabu Mansur Hadi, these latest developments show how limited his influence on the ground is, how limited his support on the ground is. You have this fighting and this rejection by the members of the Southern Movement for Hadi, accusing him of corruption. So indeed this has proved once again that Hadi really has very limited leverage on the ground, has very limited support on the ground, contrary to what some countries might say when they make the statement that he is the legitimate president of Yemen. Indeed we have also conflicting agendas, I think, between different parties.

    READ MORE: Yemen's Southern Movement: What They Want and Who They Are

    The Southern Movement for a long time has wanted to separate, I think that now it's trying to further its agenda. And I think that basically Hadi has very [limited] influence over the situation and I am not sure if this ceasefire will indeed prevail. If the ceasefire does not succeed, I think Hadi would lose more and more; he has already lost quite significantly to the Houthis in Sanaa, elsewhere in Yemen and now losing here I think it would diminish what weak credentials Hadi still might have.  

    READ MORE: Arab Coalition Urges Yemeni Gov't, Opposition to Stop Clashes, Return to Talks

    Supporters of southern Yemeni movement take part in an anti-government protest in Aden, Yemen January 28, 2018
    © REUTERS / Fawaz Salman
    Supporters of southern Yemeni movement take part in an anti-government protest in Aden, Yemen January 28, 2018

    Sputnik: After clashes erupted in Aden early on Sunday after the army tried to prevent militants from entering the city, can you tell us about the role of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in this situation?

    Ali Rizk: Well, the UAE, in this particular case, appears to be the anti-Hadi country. The UAE is known to be the main supporter of these, what some people call, the [rebel] groups — those who want an independent state in South Yemen. So, in this particular case the UAE is against Hadi and therefore you might deduce or conclude that there are, you know, in this issue, generally speaking, there might be some difficult disagreements between the UAE and Saudi Arabia. The UAE and Saudi Arabia are known to be close allies, as you know, in various different issues, but maybe on this particular one about South Yemen there do appear to be differences.

    READ MORE: Heavy Fighting in Yemen's Aden: At Least 12 Reportedly Killed, Over 130 Injured

    So, the UAE is the main… supporter of this Southern Movement now. Will Saudi Arabia try to broker with the UAE some kind of an agreement to help Hadi save face? That might be the only way he could be saved if Saudi Arabia and the UAE broker an agreement, but I am still now sure — even with this support for the Southerners, even if the UAE does issue some dictates to them and says: "Okay, you have to cease fire" — I am not sure that the Southern Movement is ready to do that. So, what I mean to say is that I am not sure [that] any one, any party, still has any influence, any main say over the Southern Movement. As I said they have wanted to achieve independence [for] quite some time. I am not sure that any particular country will be able to halt their ambitions in this regard.

    The views and opinions expressed by Ali Rizk are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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    rebels, Houthi rebels, Southern Movement (Yemen), Abd Mansour Hadi, Middle East, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Yemen
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