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Yemen PM sacked by presidential council

February 6, 2024 at 1:04 pm

Yemen’s internationally-recognised Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed on April 7, 2022 [FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images]

The Prime Minister of the Saudi-backed, internationally-recognised Yemeni government, Moeen Abdul Malik Saeed, has been dismissed by the Presidential Leadership Council (PLC). The council has appointed Foreign Minister Ahmed Awad Bin Mubarak to take his place.

Although the PLC didn’t stipulate a reason for Abdul Malik’s removal from office, he will reportedly serve as an adviser to the chairman of the council. He has been Yemen’s premier since 2018.

The Sanaa-based Yemen Press Agency notes that the decision coincides with increased popular discontent and economic deterioration in regions under the control of the pro-coalition government, including the interim capital Aden, where the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council has stepped up calls for secession from the state.

READ: After striking in Syria and Iraq, US strikes 10 locations in Yemen

Bin Mubarak served previously as Yemeni ambassador to the US. He is widely perceived as a staunch opponent of the Houthi-led, de facto Yemeni government in Sanaa and is said to have close ties to Saudi Arabia.

According to the Yemeni Press Agency, some observers are sceptical about the appointment of Bin Mubarak. They cite his tainted record of corruption allegations, while others argue that the change in leadership may not necessarily lead to substantial changes without addressing underlying issues.

The former diplomat gained prominence in 2015 when he was abducted by the Houthis while serving as the country’s presidential chief of staff. His seizure led to the deepening of the political crisis following the fall of Sanaa in 2014 to Houthi and allied forces, leading to the ousting and resignation of former President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi.

The government shakeup comes amid growing involvement of the Houthi-aligned armed forces in the region-wide conflict centred on Israel’s genocidal war in Gaza, most notably in naval operations in the Red Sea against Israel-bound vessels. In turn, the US and Britain have conducted air strikes in the war-torn country, efforts which the Sanaa government say will not deter solidarity with the Palestinians.

READ: Houthis reiterate unwavering support for Gaza despite US air strikes