Bahah appointment aims to support Yemen government

Bahah's broad appeal seen as key asset and can possibly open door to political solution

Bahah appointment aims to support Yemen government

World Bulletin / News Desk

By appointing the widely-respected Khaled Bahah as his deputy, Yemen's president and his Saudi backers seek to shore up a government-in-exile whose legitimacy is central to Riyadh's military campaign against Iran-allied Houthi rebels.

While President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi is seen as ineffectual and lacking support even in his embattled hometown of Aden, the last city nominally under his control, Bahah commands admiration across much ofYemen's political spectrum.

"Khaled Bahah is beloved of everyone. He's a strong man - the opposite of Hadi, whose weakness led the Houthis to take control of most of the country," said Mohammed Hazam, a civil servant in Sanaa.

For Riyadh, which has invested its role as a regional leader in a bombing campaign ultimately aimed at restoring the government Hadi represents, it is growing ever more important to bolster his credibility as Yemen's lawful president.

Saudi airstrikes are intended to weaken the army and force it to return to talks with Hadi's government, which the Houthis do not recognise. There are also efforts to persuade tribes and military units working with the Houthis to change sides.

But nearly three weeks after he fled to Saudi Arabia, Hadi's nominal legitimacy inside his country appears to be increasingly in question, and the president himself has not spoken in public since the Arab League summit inEgypt on March 28.

Even inside Aden, where Saudi airstrikes and weapons drops are aimed at helping the Popular Committees army fight off the Houthis and their allies in street battles, those manning the barricades do not see themselves as Hadi loyalists.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 15 Nisan 2015, 10:20