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A Yemeni soldier allied to the country's internationally recognized government unslings his machine gun on the outskirts of Sanaa, Yemen, Feb. 2, 2018 (AP photo by Jon Gambrell).

A New Front Opens in Yemen’s War, as Southern Secessionists Up the Stakes

Friday, Feb. 16, 2018

Secessionists in southern Yemen have agitated for independence for almost as long as there has been a unified Yemeni state. But since unification in 1990, a common complaint among foreign diplomats and Yemeni government officials was that the secessionists were too diffuse and too poorly organized to credibly demand independence or even political relevance. They were seen as a noisy rabble with no real platform or strategy. Yemen’s civil war has changed that, as a group of secessionists is now moving to build a state within Yemen’s state of chaos.

In late January, clashes in the southern port city of Aden—home to the internationally recognized government that fled the capital, Sanaa, in 2014, after it was taken by Houthi rebels—demonstrated both the secessionists’ confidence in their position on the ground and their impatience for a place at the political table. The clashes also laid bare the fragile position of Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi. ...

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