The New Arab Logo

Breaking News
Is the UAE preventing Yemen's Hadi from returning to Aden? Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Is the UAE preventing Yemen's Hadi from returning to Aden?

President Hadi has only returned to Aden sporadically in two years [Getty]

Date of publication: 6 September, 2017

Share this page:
  • 0

  • twitter
More than two years after the Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen, President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi has only returned home sporadically.

When the Saudi-led Arab coalition launched its military operations in Yemen, few expected the conflict to last longer than a few months at most.

The coalition’s main objective was to restore legitimacy and reinstate Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, who was overthrown by Houthi rebels in September 2014.

But nearly two and a half years later, Hadi and most officials from his government remain in Riyadh, sporadically returning to the Aden where a temporary capital was established.

Several Yemeni sources claim the president is being prevented from returning to the city of Aden by the Saudi-led coalition, in which the United Arab Emirates plays a leading role, though reasons remain unclear.

Last week, Hadi’s flight from Riyadh to Aden was cancelled after arriving at Riyadh’s King Khalid bin Abdulaziz airport, sources said.

The Yemeni President did not board his flight because "there were specific instructions from the UAE government banning from entering his home-city Aden," the sources added. 

The news was also reported by Yemeni Nobel Peace laureate Tawakkol Karman on her Twitter account, to which she referred to the UAE as an “occupying force in Yemen”.

But despite the lack of official confirmation, many indicators reinforce rumours that the Yemeni president does not necessarily reside voluntarily in Riyadh, more than two years after the UAE assisted his forces in the liberation of Aden.

Since 2015, Hadi has returned to Aden intermittently, where he has stayed for months then left again to his exiled home in Riyadh.

In recent months, the Saudi-led coalition has been keen on the presence of Prime Minister Ahmed Obaid Bin Daghar in Aden, though this presence does not in fact reflect the actual existence of the legitimate government inside the country, but is deemed to be more of a formality to ensure management of routine issues without major political power.

Many Yemenis perceive Emirati forces, which operate as part of the Arab coalition, as pursuing a different agenda to seize strategic regions and ports in Yemen, especially since the division of tasks has placed Abu Dhabi in charge of operations in southern and eastern provinces.

For some, the same southern provinces are seen to be under the “occupation” of the UAE – the representative of the coalition in the area, and the real decision maker on various issues.

Since the liberation of Aden from rebels in July 2015, the coalition has failed to transform it into a temporary capital for Yemen despite announcing it as such. On the contrary, analysts suggest it has contributed to establishing the groundworks for a separate entity from the north, with potential to lead the country to secession or autonomy.

Analysts agree that the survival of the Yemeni president and the legitimate government in general is temporary pending a settlement to end the war in the country.

Since 2015, Hadi has returned to Aden intermittently, where he has stayed for months then left again to his exiled home in Riyadh. During these visit reports emerged suggesting differences between him and the Emiratis who at the very least, control the security and military in Aden.

One of which, is the The UAE's extension of influence in south Yemen, reportedly backing the leaders of a recent secession attempt, amid accusations it is running torture and detention facilities in the country.

In April, when Hadi sacked several pro-UAE officials in Aden, reports spoke of Saudi restrictions on the president in favour of a joint Saudi-UAE committee.

Many analysts agree that the survival of the Yemeni president and the legitimate government in general is temporary pending a settlement to end the war in the country.

This view is reinforced by the coalition’s own actions, as it has not made a clear efforts to restore the internationally-recognised government; as per its justification for the military intervention.

It is important to note however, the failure of Hadi’s government is not only due to the coalition but its own officials and lack of much needed leadership.

The war in Yemen has killed more than 10,000 people, mostly civilians, and wounded 44,500 since the Saudi-led coalition intervened against the Houthi rebels.

Most Popular

Read More