Negligence of the Southern issue threatens international security

Published on 23 February 2012 in News
Ali Saeed (author)

Ali Saeed


ADEN, Feb 22 — Khaled Ba Madhaf, a leader and activist of Aden's Southern Movement ('Hirak') told the Yemen Times on Wednesday that the more the government in Sana’a and the international community neglects the southern cause, the greater the threat to national and international security they will present.

This statement, by the prominent southern politician, came after the Iranian Embassy in Sana’a on Monday denied any interventions in Yemen by Iran.

The Embassy said in a press release that “The US Ambassador to Yemen, in a televised interview with Yemeni national TV, expressed his concern over what he called “the attempts by Iranians to exploit the current situation to destabilize Yemen.”

“Iran’s policy does not approve of the intervention in the affairs of Yemen or any other state, and builds its relations with states on the basis of mutual respect and interests,” read the press release.

“Iran has increased its activities in Yemen and this may form more threats to Yemen’s stability and security,” Gerald Feierstein, the US Ambassador to Yemen, said in a televised conversation with Yemen TV on Monday, February 20.

Mohamed Abd Al-Sallam, chairman of the Abaad Center for Strategic Studies, said in a conversation with the Yemen Times that Iran began exercising its influence over Yemen after the US had begun to increase pressure on Iran. This pressure included US economic sanctions on Iran’s oil sales and Iran's Central Bank.

He explained that Yemen has been vulnerable to foreign and regional intervention - including the US, Iran and other nations - since the Yemeni state began to fail.

“The uprising in Syria and the attempt to remove Iran’s from the region also compelled Iran to mobilize its distant allies in Bahrain, Yemen and the Horn of Africa,” said Abd Al-Sallam.

According to Abd Al-Sallam, "Iran is presently providing finances and military training to members of the Southern Movement to assist them in achieving secession from the north."

"Some members of the Southern Movement are being given military training in Beirut and Iran," he added.

Armed men from the Southern Movement in south Yemen used force as part of attempts to sabotage the consensus early presidential elections which took place on February 21. Ten people were reported dead in the south on Election Day.

Ba Madhaf said that Iran, in addition to other regional and international powers, have had interests in the area for a long time.

“But further negligence of Southern grievances by the regime in Sana’a and the international community will make this Peaceful Southern Movement adopt dangerous measures,” said Ba Madhaf.

He added that international efforts made in Yemen, including the GCC power transfer deal, have not paid any attention to the south's cause.

“The GCC initiative tackled the demand for change in the north, but it neglected the southern issue,” he said.