The city where war is the best employer: Life in liberated Aden

Ghaith Abdul-Ahad reports: A few nights before he was blown up by a car bomb, the governor of Aden was reclining on a purple velvet cushion, elaborating on his dreams for the port city, when a white smartphone started buzzing. He gave it a quick glance, winked and whispered: “It is the president.”

“Yes sir, I tried to call you earlier, I have a problem and I need your help,” he said, explaining that the Yemeni national airline had sold tickets for a flight from Dubai without obtaining landing permissions from the Saudi-led coalition. Since Yemeni militia backed by Saudi airstrikes retook the port city from Houthi rebels in July last year, Aden was officially back in government control but largely dependent on other countries for its security.

Aden – pulverised by air strikes and tank shells – represents the Saudi-backed government’s greatest success in Yemen’s civil war, yet with a victorious coalition of separatist militia, jihadis, Salafists and loyalist army units unravelling, and few sources of employment for the civilian population, the city is fragile. The Yemeni state shows no sign of re-establishing itself despite the return of its president from exile. [Continue reading…]

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