The New War in Yemen Isn’t About Iran
Separatists backed by the UAE have taken control of Yemen’s port of Aden, all government military camps and the presidential palace. The port of Aden, and parts of the port town have been taken over by the Southern Transitional Council (STC), a militia force that is supported by the UAE and which is seeking the secession of the south.
Why is Aden important? This port town is the temporary seat of the international recognized Hadi government. Hadi was ousted from the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, in 2014 by the Iranian-backed Houthis. But Hadi’s control over the town is far from complete, with clashes between his government’s forces and UAE-backed separatists earlier this week. This weekend’s decisive battle had nothing to do with the Houthis, instead, it was yet another front in the Yemen conflict. And this element of the Yemen conflict is far from over. Hadi himself is hiding out in Saudi Arabia, and both he and Riyadh played out the battle for Aden in total silence. This development also comes shortly after the UAE announced it would begin withdrawing troops from Yemen.
This all gets tricky when Saudi Arabia and the UAE are allies in the fight against the Iranian-backed Houthis. The problem is that Aden is really UAE territory, not Saudi territory. The UAE is the strongest force in the south, which is where the separatists are strong. All share a common enemy in the form of the Houthi rebels,…