Nov 5, 2019

Saudi Arabia announces peace deal between Yemen and southern separatists

Mohammed bin Salman

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Photo: Albin Lohr-Jones/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) announced Tuesday that Yemen's official government and southern separatists have signed a power-sharing deal to stop fighting, reports Al Jazeera.

Why it matters: MBS says the "Riyadh Agreement" is an important part of the political solution to end the civil war in Yemen — which has raged on for four years and led to one of the world's worst humanitarian crises, per Al Jazeera.

Context: The conflict involves two main factions that claim to constitute the official Yemeni government, and is widely see as a proxy war between regional powers Saudi Arabia and Iran.

  • The internationally recognized Yemeni government is led by President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi and backed by Saudi Arabia. Southern separatists have fought alongside the formal government but are seeking a separate state.
  • The Houthi rebels, who mainly come from the north, are backed by Iran and want to oust the formal government.

The big picture: The power-sharing deal calls for a new government to include the southern separatists and for Hadi to return to the temporary capital Aden, according to AP. The separatists' militias will also be disbanded.

  • Troops from the United Arab Emirates have pulled out of Yemen in the days leading up to the signing, reports Reuters.
  • Houthi rebels have increased the number of drone and missile attacks targeting Saudi Arabia, as fighting between the group and the Yemeni government has escalated, per the Financial Times.

Go deeper: Why the U.S. got (and stayed) involved in Yemen's brutal war

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