The massive protest march in Aden on Thursday against the dismissal of the governor by the country’s president illustrates the strong sense of marginalisation that many Yemenis in the south of the country feel. Despite the ongoing civil war and the almost overwhelming humanitarian crisis, Yemenis need to prepare for an inclusive future in which all parts of the country can share in the government of the country. This inclusion might include the Al Houthi rebels if they give up their links with Iran and if they accept the principles contained in the accord and United Nations peace initiatives. But there are also large groups in the south of the country that have worked with the legitimate government headed by President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who should not be marginalised. The southern groups have backed the Saudi-led coalition and the legitimate government in the fight against the rebels. So it was disturbing when Hadi sacked two significant politicians from the south, Minister of State Hani Bin Braik and the Governor of Aden Aidarous Al Zubaidi.
As the civil war continues, the Saudi-led coalition has been able to start helping the Yemenis to rebuild their country in areas that have achieved some stability and peace. The UAE element of the coalition forces won considerable success with the coalition’s Yemeni allies in recapturing large areas of Hadramout and the provinces around Aden, which had fallen into anarchy during the long political crisis and ensuing civil war. This gave Al Qaida and Daesh (the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) terrorists the opportunity to entrench themselves in the region, while the government was distracted by the war against Al Houthi rebels. The UAE helped support the creation of substantial Yemeni brigades of 11,000 Yemeni soldiers from Hadramout and another with 14,000 soldiers from Aden and three provinces. These forces recaptured Mukalla from Al Qaida in April last year, which denied the terrorists the territory that contains most of Yemen’s oil resources, and a port that gave al Qaida millions of dollars in customs duties.
Subsequently, the UAE has been instrumental in helping local communities restore their infrastructure, rebuild important facilities like hospitals and schools, and retrain people so that they seek employment and start to recreate more stable lives. The long-term stability of Yemen has to lie in the hands of the Yemenis, and the coalition is playing an important role in fostering the stability that will help build an inclusive future for all Yemenis.