Two re-emergent states on opposite shores of the Gulf of Aden are attempting to rise above the ashes of genocidal civil wars to establish themselves among the ranks of nations. On the northern coast of the Gulf of Aden are forces that have been fighting for the restoral of the independence of South Yemen. These secessionists recently succeeded in taking over key government posts in the city of Aden from forces loyal to the Saudi puppet government of Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, who ostensibly rules over Yemen from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. However, Hadi is a puppet leader without territory. If it were not for Saudi control over Hadi and his exiled regime, the so-called president and government of Yemen would not enjoy its current international recognition by the United Nations and major countries.
Even the most seasoned Middle East expert could be forgiven if the situation in Yemen seems confusing and bewildering. There are almost a dozen competing parties all jockeying for all or part of a post-civil way Yemen.
Houthi rebels currently rule over much of North Yemen, which unified with South Yemen in 1990 in what most South Yemenis later viewed as an uneven shotgun marriage that gave greater powers to the North. A civil war between the North and South broke out in 1994, which resulted in a rather quick victory for the North. The Saudis do not recognize the Houthi-led government that rules from Sana’a, the capital of North Yemen, because they see it as aligned with Iran. It is true that the Houthis’ Zaidi sect of Islam has much in common with the dominant Shi’a sect of Iran. However, a series of Zaidi Imams ruled the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen from 1911 until 1968, when pro-Egyptian army officers seized power and declared the Yemen Arab Republic. The attempt by certain quarters to describe the Houthi government as an inextricable Iranian proxy belies ignorance about the history of North Yemen.
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