A Yemeni media report has revealed that Saudi Arabia, which has been waging a devastating war on Yemen for over seven years, is planning to annex a number of key Yemeni provinces.
According to a recent report by the Crater Sky, a Saudi official held a meeting with a committee consisting of a number of people from the Yemeni provinces of Hadhramaut, Shabwah, al-Mahrah, and Abyan to announce that the kingdom has made a decision to grant the people of those provinces the right to self-determination so that they would be able to join Saudi Arabia.
During the meeting, the Saudi official also announced that the decision would not be overturned, the Aden-based website reported.
The official also referred to the Yemeni provinces, which are rich in natural resources, as “Saudi Arabia’s Arab South.”
According to the report, the kingdom’s decision comes as part of its plans to have access to the Indian Ocean.
Saudi Arabia launched a devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 in collaboration with its Arab allies and with arms and logistics support from the US and other Western states.
The objective was to reinstall the Riyadh-friendly regime of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and crush the Ansarullah resistance movement, which has been running state affairs in the absence of a functional government in Yemen.
While the Saudi-led coalition has failed to meet its objectives, the war has killed hundreds of thousands of Yemenis and spawned the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
The Saudi plan to annex the Yemeni provinces comes while Saudi-backed forces have been consistently losing ground in recent months, especially in the key Ma’rib province, as the Yemeni armed forces continue their advances to free their country.
Under another plot attributed to Riyadh, Hadi announced last month that he had delegated his self-proclaimed powers to the “presidential leadership” council and dismissed vice president Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar.
The Wall Street Journal later reported that the former Yemeni president had been forced by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) to step down.
Rai al-Youm, an Arabic language digital news and opinion website, confirmed the WSJ report, adding that Hadi’s private meeting with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, which took place during the latter’s recent visit to Riyadh without the attendance of any Saudi official, was behind MBS’s decision.
Hadi had once resigned from the presidency in early 2015 and fled to Riyadh following a popular uprising led by the Ansarullah movement. He later rescinded his resignation after arriving in Saudi Arabia.