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Split between UAE with separatists and Saudis in Yemen continues

The two seem to view each other as enemies

In spite of the fact that until recently the Saudis and the UAE together with the separatist Southern Transitional Council(STC) were united as a coalition fighting the Houthis who control most of north Yemen including the capital Sanaa, they now have been battling each other to gain control of the southern port of Aden which was the temporary capital of the Saudi-supported government of Mansur Hadi. The UAE together with STC took control of Aden and territory in the surrounding provinces. Their victory was aided by UAE airstrikes.

Both sides criticize each other

The UAE has called the Saudi-backed government of Mansur Hadi terrorists after the fighting. The Saudi-backed government claims the UAE with the STC is behind a coup plot and had fooled the Saudis by bringing arms into the port of Aden. The arms shipment into Aden was an issue as long ago as June. The UAE assured the Saudis that the weapons were to be in Aden just temporarily and would be sent to militias fighting the Houthis in the north. However, it appears they were use to arm STC fighters to help them gain control of Aden.

Hadi is not in Yemen because of the security situation but is living in exile in Saudi Arabia. The Houthis are a Shiite group supported by Iran.

The two groups have divergent goals

The Saudis have always seen the goal of the fight against the Houthis as a unified Yemen under Mansur Hadi, who was ousted by the Houthis. On the other hand the UAE and particularly the STC want the defeat of the Houthis to be followed by the division of Yemen with South Yemen being a separate independent government as it was from 1967 to 1990. In time this split would have been made manifest even if the coalition lasted longer. Perhaps each side thinks it can reach its goal even without the other.

However, this seems unlikely in that the Houthis appear to at least have held their own when the two were united. With the coalition fighting each other the Houthis could possibly even extend the territory they control.

The two groups formed a coalition back in 2015: “With U.S. backing, Saudi Arabia and the UAE launched their coalition in 2015 to fight the Iran-backed Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, who had seized the capital, Sanaa, and large parts of the country. The coalition vowed to stop what it considers an Iranian takeover attempt. The ensuing civil war has killed tens of thousands, driven millions from their homes, destroyed the country and thrown much of the population into near starvation.Yet four years later, the Houthis remain in control of much of the north, the fight against them stalled.”

The appended video shows separatist supporters of the UAE and STC flying the flags of South Yemen in Aden.

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