President Hadi returns to Yemen


President Abd Rabo Mansour Hadi has reportedly landed in Aden. The president had fled in March to Riyadh following a Houthi advance on Aden which saw air strikes on the presidential palace in an attempt to assassinate the president. In July, the Houthi forces were driven back from Aden by local militia and coalition forces.

“The return of his excellency the president to Aden comes after an absence that has lasted for six months amid the brutal aggression which has been carried out by the militias loyal to the Houthis and Saleh on the city of Aden,” the Associated Press quoted a statement by the President’s office as saying.

The Yemeni government led by Prime Minister Khaled Bahah returned to Aden last week to resume operations following months in Riyadh. There had been growing concerns that the absence of the government had led to increased divisions amongst the government forces as Southerners began calling for an independent state whilst others privately spoke of frustration that the government were enjoying the ‘seven star treatment’ whilst ‘[we] do the fighting’.

It is believed that President Hadi will remain in Yemen during the Eid festival before addressing the UN in New York next week.

Brief: Why is Yemen in a state of war?

  • The Houthis are a tribe in the North of Yemen. They have a history of warring with the government, with the latter engaging the former six times under the previous regime.
  • Despite these wars, the Houthis are in an alliance with the very President who led these campaigns against them; Ali Abdullah Saleh. The latter has used his influence in the security forces to assist the Houthi advance.
  • The Houthis entered the Northern cities of Jawf and Amran under the pretext of fighting terrorism. This, they claimed, meant defeating the Islah Party, seen as the Yemeni equivalent of the Muslim Brotherhood and staunch political opponents of the Houthis.
  • The Houthis marched on Sana’a, declaring support for the large protests against President Hadi over fuel prices and living costs.
  • The Houthis entered the capital and placed the president under house arrest. The President later fled to Aden.
  • The Houthis continued to expand to Taiz and Al-Daali’ in the South. Fighter planes were sent to bombard the presidential palace in Aden.
  • President Hadi subsequently fled and an Arab alliance was declared under Operation ‘Decisive Storm’ as Arab forces began bombarding Houthi positions to prevent the fall of Aden, seen as the last bastion of defence.
  • Saudi Arabia states that it wants to force the Houthis into genuine discussions with the government. They believe that the group are backed by Iran and fear an establishing of a powerful proxy similar to Hezbollah in Lebanon or the Badr Brigade in Iraq. The Houthis claim that they are fighting a foreign power and leading a revolution.