Saudi general calls for secession of the South
SANA’A – Retired Saudi intelligence general Anwar Ashkaki has called for the total secession of the southern provinces of Yemen, and the establishment of a new state in the area.
Ashkaki made the announcement just two days ahead of Unity Day, a national holiday in Yemen during which the 1990 unification of North and South Yemen is commemorated yearly.
According to the Saudi general, after seceding and declaring independence, Southn Yemen should subsequently join the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the Saudi-dominated military alliance through which Riyadh exercises control over most Arab states on the Peninsula.
Ashkaki’s call technically contradicts official Saudi policy, that states that the kingdom seeks to restore the rule of ousted self-declared president Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi and prime minister Ahmed bin Daghr over the entirety of Yemen. However, since the start of the conflict in March 2015, the Southern separatist movement has grown significanly in strength, mostly because of support from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
It is possible that the statement of general Ashkaki was made in an attempt to restore Saudi control over the South, that was lost to the Emirates in recent months.
Anwar Ashkaki has previously made headlines by openly stating that Saudi Arabia will open an embassy in Israel, even going as far as claiming Jerusalem as the location of the future Saudi embassy there.