Yemen caught in the crosshairs of Iran and others – analysis (

Iranian media has reported that southern Yemen is now linked to “Zionists” claiming that news reports in Israel suggested southern Yemen might one day have a connection to Israel. This is the usual Iranian model of suggesting every enemy is a “Zionist.” But it has larger regional ramifications because Yemen is divided now between the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels and the Saudi-backed coalition that includes other parts of Yemen. The latest Yemen crisis involves the island of Socotra where UAE-backed supporters are accused of a “coup” by pro-Turkish media. Al-Jazeera and Anadolu media have weighed in, using the usual language they craft to portray one side as good and the other bad. Because Qatar and Turkey oppose the UAE they also oppose any group backed by the UAE.The Southern Transitional Council is apparently now running Socotra. This island has long been a hot spot of intrigue and investment by regional powers. Rumors abound now that Turkey, which has a base in Somalia, wants to get involved in the Yemen conflict. Turkey and Iran already back the Government of the National Accord in Libya where they are fighting the Egyptian and UAE-backed Libyan National Army. Turkey is also waging military campaigns in Iraq and Syria. Were Turkey to try to also involve itself in Yemen, potentially on the side of Iran, that would be a major step. How Ankara would do that is unclear, but Ankara and Doha want to pressure Saudi Arabia, so they may seek to find a way.More likely, the Yemen conflict is about narratives and intrigue when it comes to Turkey and Qatar. The accusation is that there are plots afoot to divide Yemen permanently between “separatists” and the Houthis and the government. But Yemen has been divided for years. It has been infiltrated in the past by Al-Qaeda and then fell apart in 2015 as the Houthis almost took Aden. The Saudi intervention has been a grueling conflict. Iran uses the Houthis as proxies, sending them weapons, drones and air defense. The US tries to interdict Iran’s shipments. The UAE allegedly was involved in recruiting contractors to fight in Yemen.Yemen was only reunified in 1990 after many years of conflict. It should be recalled that there was once north and south Yemen, the north supported by Saudi Arabia and the south by the Soviet Union from 1972 to 1990. North Yemen also had a civil war from 1962 to 1970 where monarchies supported the royalists in northern Yemen and Egypt and the Arab nationalist and socialist regimes supported the republic. This is all history now, but the insinuation that Yemen is “unified” and that some conspiracy exists to divide is not in line with historical developments in Yemen.

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