Friday, January 23, 2015

More Yemen (can't get enough)

I really do think that a de facto split of Yemen is likely, between the Houthi-ruled North and the Sunni/AQAP dominated South. Sure, there are potential splits in several Arab countries these days where the central government does not exercise actual control over all of the internationally recognized territory (e.g. Libya, Iraq, and Syria). But Yemen is a little different because fairly recently it was split between two different countries, the Yemen Arab Republic (aka North Yemen) and the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (aka South Yemen). The two were only united in 1990 (with a Southern revolt attempted in 1994). The collapse of the Soviet block facilitated the unification of Yemen, but the North-South divide existed before South Yemen became officially communist in 1969.

Once you draw a line like that on the map, it is hard to erase completely. And the history of other world powers recognizing two different Yemens makes it easier for them to agree to officially recognize partition than it would be without such recent history. (Of course, if the South is dominated by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula as opposed to another Sunni faction that is not a clear AQAP front, that would pretty much preclude any international recognition of the South).