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UAE-backed separatists urge ‘uprising’ in Hadi-controlled areas

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Forces with Yemen's southern separatist movement stand next to military vehicles in the Dar Saad district in the north of Aden on January 31, 2018. (By AFP)

Separatists in southern Yemen, backed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), have called for an uprising in the restive port city of Aden and other southern provinces, controlled by officials of the country’s former Saudi-allied government.

“We assure our people in all the southern provinces that we support a popular uprising which would end the suffering, and we insist that it be peaceful,” the so-called Southern Transitional Council (STC) said in a statement on Wednesday.

The separatists want to revive the former South Yemen republic which merged with the north in 1990.The port city of Aden, Yemen’s second largest city, used to be the capital of the once independent South Yemen.

The call for uprising could further put pressure on UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths, who was expected in Abu Dhabi later on Wednesday to meet Emirati officials and the STC leader, Aidaroos al-Zubaidi.

The UAE has played a key role in a Saudi-led military campaign, which was launched in March 2015 with the aim of reinstalling the government of former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.

Yemen has no effective government for now, and the state affairs are now being run by Yemen’s Houthi Ansarull movement, which is also defending the country against the Saudi war.

Prior to the offensive, Hadi had resigned and fled to Riyadh. The Saudi regime and its allies later managed to seize Aden from the Houthis and put it under the control of the ex-president’s officials.

Numerous Arab-language outlets have verified the collision between Saudi and Emirati interests there. Neither Abu Dhabi nor Riyadh has, however, attested to any division within the Saudi-led coalition.

The STC statement further called on “the people to control the government’s institutions that provide revenues,” referring to the bodies controlled by the forces loyal to Hadi. It did not say whether this should include oilfields.

Yemeni protesters block a road as they protest against inflation and the rise of living costs in the southwestern Yemeni city of Ta'izz on October 2, 2018. (By AFP)

It further urged the separatist forces to protect southern Yemenis protesting against the mishandling of the worsening economic situation by the Saudi-backed administration.

Soaring prices have put some basic commodities out of reach for many Yemenis, and those in control of southern areas have struggled to pay public sector salaries.

 ‘Worsening economic situation result of US threats’

Meanwhile, the spokesman for Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement, Mohammad Abdulsalam, blamed the US for the deteriorating economic situation in the impoverished country, Yemen’s Arabic-language al-Masirah television network reported on Wednesday.

The current living conditions of the Yemeni People are a direct result of US threats following the collapse of the UN-sponsored negotiations in Kuwait in 2016, the report quoted him as saying.

A Yemeni member of a school administration inspects the damage on the first day of the new academic year on September 16, 2018, at a school that was damaged last year in a Saudi airstrike in the country's third-city of Ta'izz. (By AFP)

Following that round of peace efforts, Washington’s ambassador to Yemen promised the destruction of the local economy as a collective punishment for not accepting unjust political solutions to the political conflict.

“The first step was to transfer the Central Bank from Sana’a to Aden, which happened, immediately, after the consultations of Kuwait, then print the currency, push for high rate of inflation by withdrawal of foreign currency to areas controlled by the occupation and finally the closure of foreign transfers altogether,” al-Masirah  quoted  Abdulsalam as saying.

Yemen’s southern areas—which are controlled by Saudi-backed officials of the former Yemeni government—have been the scene of protests over the past days, with the demonstrators calling for a rise in their salaries.

Saudi Arabia invaded the Arab world’s poorest nation in 2015 to bring back the Hadi regime to power. The kingdom has also imposed an all-out blockade on Yemen, which according to the UN is now the scene of the world’s worst man-made crisis.

Some 15,000 Yemenis have reportedly been killed and thousands more injured since the onset of the Saudi-led aggression in March 2015.

The war has unleashed a humanitarian and economic crisis on the already impoverished country. The UN has described the situation as “one of the worst humanitarian disasters of modern times.”

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