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Southern Yemenis and Their Frivolous Battles

Southern Yemenis and Their Frivolous Battles

Sunday, 25 August, 2019 - 12:00
Salman Al-Dossary
Salman Al-Dossary is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

Ataq, the capital of Shabwa province in Yemen, witnessed another battle with limited calculations over the last two days between the national army forces and the forces of the Southern Transitional Council, seeking to separate southern Yemen from its north.

The battle is a new episode in the series of the dangerous shift in the course of events taken by the Council. This switched the focus of its military strategy from the war against Houthis to a battle against the Yemeni army and legitimacy.

After being allies with the same common goal of fighting Houthi, suddenly, both parties separated by the impact of weapons.

The separation is a declared known desire of the southern components, but it did not reach the extent of military action against the legitimacy of Yemen. Houthis could only sit back and enjoy this gift that was given to them on a silver platter.

On August 1, Houthis attacked a military graduation ceremony in Aden, killing one of the most prominent military commanders in southern Yemen, Abu al-Yamamah al-Yafi, as well as dozens of other military personnel.

After that, they shot at mourners in al-Qatee cemetery, and then tensions grew with the presidential protection brigades where clashes broke out.

The Transitional Council accuses Yemeni legitimacy of what it called “liquidation of the southern cause.” This is a serious escalation that not only weakened the position of legitimacy, but also the attitude and desire of the southerners to separate from the north in general which is now far from being accepted.

The current military confrontations are known to be between two parties: the Yemeni army belonging to the internationally recognized legitimacy supported by the Arab coalition, and the coup forces aiming at separation.

On Saturday, a US spokesman told Asharq Al-Awsat that his country supported the internationally recognized legitimate Yemeni government. He asserted that it backed the efforts towards a unified Yemen to all parties, which shut the door on any efforts for legitimating such southern clashes, categorizing it as a “coup.”

The problem with the Southern Council is that it carried out its reckless battle at the wrong time and the wrong place. Everyone rose against it and it became a burden on the upcoming Yemeni state, as well as the international community.

The battle of the “Transitional” exceeded all local, regional, and international facts. Such a coup can't gain legitimacy by taking up arms against the state, regardless of the magnitude of disagreement with it.

This makes it difficult to withdraw power from another coup in the southern regions, as happened with the other one in the northern areas.

Here, it seems as though the same scenario is reoccurring to form a new reality of authority in the south in the interim capital of the country and what it represents of political symbolism.

Also, by doing so, they are provoking the Arab coalition and turning against the popular, regional, and international consensus on the legitimate authority.

If the Transitional Council succeeded when it was first established in 2017 in siding with the right choice, the Arab coalition, it lost a lot now by challenging the Yemeni government and violating its sovereignty. It also distracted all parties with minor issues wanting to achieve self-serving goals at the wrong time and in the wrong place.

The real battle for the southerners, if they seek their future independent state, is never against legitimacy, as much as it is against the Houthis and only the Houthis.

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