It is a resignation that many had longed for.

On Thursday, Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansur Hadi announced that he would be stepping down from his post.

For a "transitional period," according to an official statement, a presidential council headed by a former Hadi adviser is to run the business.

Christopher Ehrhardt

Correspondent for the Arab countries based in Beirut.

  • Follow I follow

Saudi Arabia promptly promised to support the new leadership with a generous cash injection.

According to the state press, the kingdom wants to transfer $1 billion to the central bank and provide another billion for petroleum products and development.

The United Arab Emirates also want to shoot a billion into the cash-strapped coffers of the central bank, which is struggling for every dollar.

The resignation of the Yemeni President follows lengthy negotiations that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) had invited to the Saudi capital Riyadh.

Highly corrupt and hated by everyone

Hadi's appointment was a constant bone of contention in the Saudi-led coalition that has been fighting the Houthi rebels in Yemen since March 2015.

The Emirates had long had enough of the president, not to mention the population, who was hated for being highly corrupt.

In the meantime, the patience of the Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, which was actually short, seems to have finally snapped.

The leadership in Riyadh is looking for a way out of its unsuccessful engagement in Yemen.

Hadi has lived in Saudi Arabia since he was forced into exile by the Houthis in late March 2015.

He only visited his country very sporadically.

High officials in his government didn't bother to hide the fact that they saw their boss above all as a burden.

Western diplomats saw Hadi as an obstacle to a negotiated solution with the Houthi, because this would have meant the end of his term in office.

Hadi's utility, it was said, was little more than that of a "fig leaf of legitimacy."

He was appointed president in 2012 after the Arabellion seized Yemen and brought down longtime ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Jokes were made in the political class about how long Hadi had waited behind the wily Salih for this chance.

However, Yemen was torn apart as a result of power struggles from which the Houthis emerged victorious.

They took control of the capital, Sanaa, in September 2014.

A reorganization of the anti-Houthi camp has been underway for some time.

Military successes of the rebels supported by Iran had apparently heralded a rethink.

Alarm bells went off in the coalition last year when the Houthi seized control of areas in northern Shabwa's southern province where strategic oil deposits, pipelines and oil and gas facilities are located.

At the same time, the Houthi threatened Marib, the last bastion of the Houthi opponents in the north, an economically strong and strategically enormously important city.

A change of power in Marib would have drastically changed the balance of power in Yemen.

At the beginning of this year the tide turned.

Also because the Emirates, which in the meantime had largely withdrawn from the Saudi-led Yemen campaign, became more involved again.

Abu Dhabi-sponsored militias with Salafist commanders and the evocative name "Brigades of the Southern Giants" pushed back the Houthis.

In return, the South Yemeni separatists of the Southern Transitional Council (STC), a foster child of the Emirati leadership, have been upgraded within the anti-Houthi camp.

The separatists have long been a thorn in the side of the Saudis because they are striving for an independent South Yemen and are thereby challenging the central government.

The only thing that connects both of them is their bitter enmity with the Houthis.

New conflicts are coming up

Now STC President Aidarous al Zubai, a military man, is a member of the new Presidential Council.

This includes the governor of Marib, Sultan al-Arada, a pragmatist with a strong Islamist bent, under whose leadership Marib has experienced a remarkable boom.

Tariq Salih, the nephew of the former president, is also represented on the committee.

In the meantime, he had allied himself with the Houthis, but was murdered by them in 2017.

Rashad al-Alimi, the head of the new governing body, was a fixture in Yemen's leadership and held various key posts, including interior minister, minister of local government, deputy prime minister and head of the Supreme Security Committee.

According to observers, he has close and long-term ties with Saudi Arabia.

The composition of the council already suggests that new conflicts are in the offing.

Because there is bitter hostility between some of the actors who are now gathered there.

High STC cadres in the southern Yemeni port recently made it clear that direct military cooperation with Tariq Saleh would be unthinkable for them.

They would never forget that his uncle, the president, waged war on the South in 1994, they said.

And that's just one of several fault lines running through the new governing body.

It would also be nothing new if bad news followed success stories in Yemen.

The first nationwide and coordinated ceasefire in years came into force over the weekend.

On Wednesday, the UN special envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, said he was satisfied that the violence had decreased significantly.

At the same time, he expressed concern about ongoing violations in the Marib area.

Keywords: