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‘War of billboards’ rages in southern Yemen

Gulf Arab Region | 2018-06-03 08:59:00
‘War of billboards’ rages in southern Yemen
A less publicized conflict is raging on in Yemen’s port city of Aden between the internationally recognized government and southern separatists. 

Rival billboards and posters appear across the city’s main streets showing support to the Saudi-backed government of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi and the Southern Transitional Council (STC), which calls for the separation of southern Yemen. 

“This is a conflict between two rival projects; one calling for maintaining federalism and the other seeking the separation of southern Yemen,” Abdurrakib al-Hadyani, a Yemeni political analyst, told Anadolu Agency. 

“Every party is seeking to achieve his goal and gain support for his cause,” he said. 

The STC seeks to declare the secession of southern Yemen, which united with northern Yemen in 1990. 

Southern separatists have fought alongside government forces to drive Houthi rebels out of Aden in 2015, which has since become an interim seat of the internationally recognized government. 

Yemen fell into civil war in 2014 when the Shia Houthi group overran much of the country, including the capital Sanaa, forcing the government to flee to Saudi Arabia. 

In 2015, Riyadh and its Arab allies launched a massive air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi military gains and shoring up the Yemeni government. 

The violence has devastated Yemen’s basic infrastructure, including water and sanitation systems, prompting the UN to describe the situation as “one of the worst humanitarian disasters of modern times”. 

No vision 

Basem al-Shaabi, the director of the Aden-based Masarat Center for Strategy and Media, blames the dispute for the “lack of vision” about Yemen’s future. 

“This makes all parties seek to impose their project by all means, whether by force or any other tool,” he told Anadolu Agency. 

In January, southern separatists and government forces engaged in deadly street clashes amid accusations for the government of pushing the country to the verge of famine. 

Al-Shaabi believes that the current conflict between the government and separatists was “temporary”. 

“This will come to an end when all parties agree on the future of Yemen,” he said. 

Al-Hadyani shares a similar opinion. 

“The fate of a country cannot be defined by billboards,” he said. “It can be settled by serious dialogue based on national bases that take into account the country’s supreme interests and the people’s aspirations for peace, stability and development.” 

Anadolu Agency
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