In the Yemeni civil war, Saudi Arabia-backed Alliance of President Abd-Rabbu Mansur Hadi split apart. Separatists in southern Yemen took control of the port city of Aden on Saturday after four days of fighting with the president's troops.
So far, the separatists fought alongside Hadi's army against the insurgent Houthi rebels. Aden was the seat of government of Hadi, after Houthis had ousted him from the capital Sanaa. The injured Hadi has been living in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh for years.
The conquest of the presidential palace in Aden met with no resistance, said a military commander of the separatists, who want to found their own state. The government of Hadi called the action of the "Southern Transitional Council" STC a coup. Saudi Arabia called for a crisis summit to end the conflict. In addition, the coalition led by Saudi Arabia threatened by military means to intervene in the power struggle. The STC agreed to a ceasefire.
Setback for Saudi Arabia
For Saudi Arabia, the development represents a setback in the power struggle with Iran for supremacy in the region. The conflict in Yemen has long since grown into a proxy war between the two states. The arch-conservative Sunni kingdom of Saudi Arabia wants to help re-establish power for Yemeni President Hadi, who has been displaced by the Houthi rebels. The Houthis are supported by Iran, which sees itself as a Shiite protector.
Due to the turmoil of war, food supplies in many parts of Yemen have collapsed, according to UN data millions of people are suffering from hunger. More than two million were expelled from their homes during the civil war.
For months, the United Nations has been trying to mediate peace. The recent development is likely to have weakened Hadi's position and thus complicate the talks. The Houthis said the events in Aden proved that Hadi was incapable of governing the country. It was time that the country's governing forces engaged in serious talks to convert Yemen into a federal state that would take into account the interests of all sides, said Houthi Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein al-Azzi.