Yemen’s southern secessionist forces appear to have taken effective control of the port city of Aden, seat of the internationally recognized government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi. In this latest conflict, fighters loyal to Southern Transitional Council (STC), which seeks an independent south Yemen, began an offensive against the government forces on August 7. Both sides have been part of a military coalition, dominated by Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE), which intervened in Yemen in March 2015 against the Houthis and their allies after they removed Mr. Hadi from power earlier that year. The separatist fighters involved in the recent showdown are UAE trained while the government forces appear to be backed by the Saudis.
What is the significance of this recent confrontation? How will it impact the ongoing war in Yemen? What do we need to know about South Yemen and its history? Who are the secessionist in Yemen today? Does the showdown in Eden signal a schism in the Saudi-UAE coalition?
To answer these questions, we turn to Sheila Carapico, a Professor of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Richmond in Virginia. Professor Carapico is the author of Civil Society in Yemen: The Political Economy of Activism in Modern Arabia. More recently, she edited a volume entitled Arabia Incognita: Dispatches from Yemen and the Gulf.
Courtesy of VOMENA. Please note this interview was conducted in August of 2019.
Dr. Sheila Carapico is a Professor of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Richmond in Virginia, where she also serves as International Studies Concentration Advisor and Senior Coordinator of Interdisciplinary Programs. She taught at the American University in Cairo in 2010, the spring semester of 2011, and the spring of 2013.
Shahram Aghamir is a political commentator on issues related to the Middle East for public and alternative media. He is the co-founder and senior producer of Voices of the Middle East and North Africa (VOMENA) on KPFA Radio in Berkeley, California.