(second in a short series; here’s the first entry)
One of the casualties of the total collapse of Saudi-Iranian relations is likely to be any chance of ending the civil war in Yemen, where on Saturday the Saudi-Hadi coalition ended a ceasefire that had been in place, despite periodic violations, since December 15. But maybe that’s not such a bad thing; after all, it would be hard for Hadi and the Houthis to reach any kind of accord when Hadi can’t even keep his own “allies” in line:
Yemeni government forces clashed Sunday with militant groups for control over the strategic Port of Aden in the southern city with the same name, Yemeni government officials said.
The officials say the militants — who are using the port to run lucrative smuggling operations — have refused to hand over the port to the government. They accuse the militants of receiving support from al-Qaida.
A drive-by shooting on Thursday in Aden killed Ahmed al-Idrisi, a top pro-government militia leader, and five of his companions, just hours after he reluctantly agreed to hand over control of the city’s port to government troops.
Yes, Hadi and the Saudi coalition have apparently been using local fighters whose real allegiance lies more with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula than with either Hadi or the Saudis. Faced with the prospect of surrendering control over Aden to Hadi’s government, they balked and violence ensued. For now, the port appears to be in Hadi’s hands, though his forces have imposed a curfew over the city in an effort to root out whatever AQAP-allied fighters are still there But it gets increasingly difficult for Hadi and the Saudis to insist that AQAP isn’t benefiting from their military campaign against the Houthis when we see mounting evidence of, you know, AQAP benefiting from their military campaign against the Houthis.
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