With the pronouncement of self-rule by the separatists in Yemen, the war-torn country will plunge into further instability. The consequences of the declaration will be far-reaching, both politically and socially. With the announcement of self-rule, Saudi Arabia’s peace efforts will receive the most visible dent. It is not wrong to say that with the decision of the secessionists in the country’s south, Riyadh pact has become defunct. Additionally, the Saudi efforts to end the war within a war and attempts to de-escalate the conflict with Houthis will also be dealt a severe blow.

The move of the separatists — who were once on the side of Yemen’s President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi — will make it easy for Houthis to consolidate their grip on the areas under their control. This will indirectly create room for other states to grow their influence in the country, as opposition to Houthis is bitterly divided because of infighting.

Similarly, the decision of the secessionists will also sour relations between the Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Will the UAE, which has already distanced itself from the declaration, succeed in maintaining ties with Riyadh? If it does not exert pressure on the Southern Transitional Council (STC), which has its support, Riyadh will not accept UAE’s distancing as a neutral stance.

No matter which way we look at it, the self-rule announcement will resume hostilities. And the declaration will affect ordinary people the most, as it will further rupture the already torn-apart social fabric and infrastructure of the country. The civil war has already created the worst humanitarian crisis the world has ever seen after the Second World War. The fact that COVID-19 has also reached the war-torn country and started consuming its energies, the STC’s announcement was completely unwanted. Regional players, including Iran, must overlook their narrow interests momentarily and play their role in restoring peace for now.