Chaos as two power bases emerge


Yemen has descended further into chaos in the past week. On Thursday the Houthi rebels were said to have formed a series of state institutions following an apparent agreement with political parties to form a new government.

However, no-one seems to have told the Cabinet led by Prime Minister Khaled Bahah, who had been asked to return to their offices as a caretaker government. The Yemen Times reports the Houthi Revolutionary Committee as issuing a statement saying “The resigned government is assigned to manage the state of general affairs until the formation of the transitional government according to the constitutional declaration.” The Cabinet have declined the request and have now, in turn, been threatened by the rebels with arrest and trial for treason.

Meanwhile, President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, managed to escape the capital, Sana’a, over the weekend. He has established himself in the southern city of Aden where he has a power base. The President has announced that he is withdrawing his resignation letter because the parliament had failed to accept the letter and also because the Houthi takeover of the government was unconstitutional.

The President is now in the process of building up a new government in the south, with many demonstrations taking place across the country in his support including Sana’a itself. The President also has the support of the international community.

This is likely to lead to parallel governments in the immediate future. But with most parts of the country, the international community and most tribal leaders recognising President Hadi it is likely that the Houthi rebels will not be able to form a competent set of institutions.

If, as has been suggested in a number of reports, the Houthi rebels are working in partnership with ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh, then the latest moves could, in the medium term, lead to a stabilisation of the country. It is too early to know if there will be a violent period before that happens.

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