Yemen risks disintegration as south rejects Shi’ite group’s takeover

Soldiers are seen near the house of Yemen’s President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi in Sanaa January 24, 2015. Credit: Reuters/Mohamed al-Sayaghi

(Reuters) – No sooner had Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi announced his resignation than his country’s tenuous political fabric began to disintegrate.

Provinces across a nation barely held together by a complex web of tribal and religious alliances said they would no longer take military commands from Sanaa after the Iranian-allied Shi’ite Houthi group besieged Hadi’s home and palace this week.

The emerging fragmentation of the Arabian Peninsula country has sparked fears of the “Somalization” of a state which is home to a revitalized al Qaeda insurgency as well as a neighbor to top oil exporter Saudi Arabia.

For Washington, Yemen’s splintering would make it hard to carry out a counter-terrorism strategy against al Qaeda plotters who have targeted it and its ally Saudi Arabia and claimed responsibility for the Jan. 7 Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris.

Through Hadi, a supporter of U.S. drone strikes on al Qaeda, Yemen was a top U.S. ally in the Washington’s fight against islamist militancy…

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