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Did Sisi propose an Egyptian force to protect Hadi? Open in fullscreen

Munir al-Mawri

Did Sisi propose an Egyptian force to protect Hadi?

It is difficult to know if Sisi was serious about the proposal [Getty]

Date of publication: 30 March, 2015

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Analysis: Egyptian president Abdel Fatah el-Sisi might have proposed an Egyptian force to return Yemeni president Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi to Aden.

Arab sources who spoke to al-Araby al-Jadeed denied Egyptian president Abdel Fatah el-Sisi might have proposed an Egyptian commando force to protect Yemeni president Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi in Aden.

This information was in circulation among Yemeni diplomats in Washington and New York, as well as among members of Hadi's delegation at the Arab League Summit yesterday in Egypt's resort city of Sharm al-Sheikh.

Sisi may have actually mentioned the proposal, but it is difficult to know whether he was serious about it, because he often contradicts himself, the sources said.

Others wondered whether Sisi was aware of the Egyptian people's painful memories of late president Gamal Abdul Nasser's adventure in Yemen.

These are memories that Egyptians would rather not repeat, as they do not want to sacrifice more Egyptian youth in foreign adventures, regardless of the reasons behind them.

Yemeni diplomats in the US also confirmed that Arab leaders had insisted on Hadi's return to his capital city as soon as possible, but the Yemeni delegation managed to convince them to temporarily amend the plans to help Hadi return to Aden with Arab protection and to later mobilise enough forces to advance into Sanaa and retrieve power.

Sisi is currently facing harsh criticism from ousted Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh and the Houthi movement due to his support for Operation Decisive Storm, despite Saleh's enthusiasm for Sisi's coup in Egypt.

The Houthis used to commend Sisi in their media to spite rivals in the Yemeni Congregation for Reform (al-Islah), the party which includes Yemeni Muslim Brotherhood leaders.

Even though Yemeni politicians are aware that the power of Saleh and the Houthis mainly lies in Sanaa, not in Aden, some of them still prefer Hadi's return to Sanaa, despite the risk.

They justify this saying that Hadi's return to Aden may eventually lead to the division of Yemen again, as was the case before the unification in 1990.

Others fear that division will not be limited to two parts only, but will perhaps lead to the separation of Hadhramaut as an independent state, as well as the return of the rest of the country to the situation during the first half of the 20the century, ruled by different sultans, sheikhs, imams and emirs fighting over power.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.

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