Spotlight: Failure of Jeddah talks could trigger bloody military conflict: analysts

Source: Xinhua| 2019-09-07 23:59:55|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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ADEN, Yemen, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- Yemeni military observers have warned of another fighting in the country's southern part if the ongoing talks in the city of Jeddah achieve nothing.

Under the auspice of Saudi Arabia, officials of Yemen's internationally-recognized government and representatives of the Southern Transitional Council (STC) arrived at the city of Jeddah to discuss a political solution and prevent fighting in the southern regions.

Saudi Arabia reaffirmed Thursday its previous calls for stopping the escalation, restoring the military and civilian institutions of the legitimate government, urging the STC forces to take part in the dialogue held in Jeddah without delay.

Prior to the Saudi call, representatives of the Aden-based STC engaged in indirect talks with the Yemeni government officials for two consecutive days in Jeddah but obtained nothing constructive regarding the tense situation.

The Yemeni indirect talks were stalled on Friday after representatives of the exiled Yemeni government insisted on "ending the armed rebellion" and refused to sit in face-to-face meetings with the STC officials.

Meanwhile, both warring sides continued to mobilize heavy troops regardless of Saudi's opposition.

In the neighboring province of Abyan, large pro-government forces backed by heavy armored vehicles and tribal fighters started gathering near the strategic city of Shuqrah and vowed to launch a new offensive to retake Aden from the STC.

"Our troops have completed the necessary military preparations and are waiting for instructions from the presidential office to advance toward Aden," an army officer of the pro-government forces in Abyan told Xinhua on phone.

"The pro-government forces repeatedly urged the politicians to refuse to engage in talks with the separatist officials in Jeddah because military action is the only suitable solution," said the officer on condition of anonymity.

He confirmed that pro-government forces still have the adequate capabilities to expel the STC from the country's southern part.

On the other side, military units belonging to the STC vowed to abort any marches toward Aden.

The STC has deployed heavy forces backed by armored vehicles around the strategic city of Aden and the key cities of neighboring Abyan province.

Local residents told Xinhua that "several new checkpoints were set up along the main roads linking Aden and Abyan in addition to underground trenches around Aden's outskirts."

A military source of the STC said that "we are determined to protect our southern cities and repulse any aggressive attacks that may be launched by northern tribal fighters."

"That tribal fighters are wearing military uniforms and began moving without command of the Yemen's president as their supreme leader," he added.

A number of southern military observers delivered warnings to the Saudi-led coalition that collapsing of the talks Jeddah could lead to a bloody military conflict in southern Yemen.

Ali Bin Hadi, an Aden-based military observer, told Xinhua that "failure to find a political solution between the two warring rivals will complicate the situation and will probably spark endless fighting in southern Yemen."

"It is the responsibility of the Saudi-led coalition. The situation is more sensitive and any military progress toward Aden will revive decade-old pains among the southern people," he added.

Mohammed Yahya, a retired military official, said that "immediate intervention of other regional countries is necessary to force the two warring sides to participate positively in Jeddah talks and foil any military escalation."

He said that "the conflict is not about the abandoned government institutions but is mainly about the oil-rich provinces as southerners want to administrate their land and refuse to share it with other political factions."

On Aug. 11, Saudi Arabia's foreign ministry called on Yemen's government and leadership of the STC to engage in direct talks to solve the issues peacefully.

The Saudi calls came after the STC seized the city of Aden along with all the government's military bases following days of street fighting.

The STC is originally a part of the Saudi-led coalition to fight the Iran-backed Houthi militias in northern Yemen.

The impoverished Arab country has been locked in a civil war since late 2014, when the Houthis overran much of the country and seized all northern provinces including the capital Sanaa.