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Southern Yemen Inches Toward Independence. But at What Cost?

MIN READNov 5, 2019 | 17:19 GMT

Armed men gather to protest against the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen.

Armed Yemenis gather on Sept. 17, 2019 in the country’s nominative capital of Sanaa, which remains under Houthi control, to show their support of the rebel cause.

(MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Since 2015, the southern Yemeni city of Aden has been the site of several major clashes between the U.N.-recognized government of President Abd Rabboh Mansour Hadi and the Southern Transitional Council (STC). But the latest bout of fighting between the nominal anti-Houthi partners has, for the first time, left the port city largely under STC control -- demonstrating the separatist group's ability to take, and retain, ground from the Yemeni government.  Bolstered by years of military, economic and political support from the United Arab Emirates, the STC now has the opportunity to build up shadow institutions and governing capabilities in Aden that will bring the group closer to achieving its ultimate goal of an independent South Yemen. But doing so will mean drawing resources from the Saudi-led coalition's broader fights against Houthi rebels and jihadist groups -- and potentially inviting backlash from other southerners seeking to stake their own claim in...

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